November 17, 2012

Linfield converts turnovers into points, beats PLU 27-24

More news about: Linfield

McMINNVILLE, Ore. – With its offense flagging and its conference rival driving for the winning score, third-ranked Linfield reached down deep to pull out a thrilling 27-24 victory over No. 20 Pacific Lutheran in a NCAA Division III first-round playoff game Saturday at rainy Maxwell Field.

Linfield (9-0), the Northwest Conference champion, advances to play North Central (Ill.) Nov. 24 at a site to be announced on Sunday. Though Linfield does expect to host a second-round game, official pairings won't be confirmed by the NCAA until Sunday. Kickoff will be noon local time.

Pacific Lutheran (7-3) came up just a bit short in its best season in many years. All three of the Lutes' losses came against playoff-qualifying teams, two were by the Wildcats.

The Lutes outgained the Wildcats in total yards, 339-249, had more first downs, 17-12, and controlled the ball for 33 of the game's 60 minutes. But five turnovers proved costly, three of which were subsequently and suddenly turned into touchdowns on the first or second play.

Mickey Inns passed for 210 yards but was held without a touchdown pass for the first time this season. Inns completed 22 of 35 attempts but suffered his first interception since the third week of the season – a 31-24 road victory over PLU.

The Wildcats had to overcome a brilliant performance by the Lutes' 6-foot-3 receiver Kyle Warner, who riddled the Linfield secondary for 12 catches and 205 yards. Warner was held without a touchdown on a day when PLU needed it most.

Linfield drew first blood when Josh Kay capped a 10-play drive with a 47-yard field goal at 7:13 of the first quarter.

PLU responded with its own scoring drive on the ensuing possession, moving 75 yards in eight plays to the end zone. Halfback Niko Madison swept 6 yards around left end as the Lutes took a 7-3 lead.

Linfield moved inside the red zone to the PLU 12-yard line but Inns was sacked by Doug Sullivan on third down and the Wildcats settled for a 42-yard field goal from Kay.

Linfield capitalized on a PLU miscue moments later. On the first play following the kickoff, Lutes quarterback Dalton Ritchey was stripped of the ball and Dominique Forrest recovered at the PLU 9. Two plays later, Chad Coburn ran straight ahead with the ball from the Wildcat formation, scooting 4 yards into the end zone. After Kay's extra point, Linfield led 13-7 with 6:13 left in the first quarter.

Forrest came up big once more, snagging a Richey pass at the PLU 36 to set up Linfield's next touchdown. Coburn again wriggled his way to paydirt from the four-back formation, scoring on a 1-yard run six plays later. The 'Cats led 20-7 with 3:22 left in the quarter.

The Lutes forced a turnover of their own, jarring the ball losse from tailback John Shaffer, but PLU's drive stalled when freshman tackle Marq Randall sacked Ritchey on a third-and-long play from the 35.

With steady rain falling throughout, both defenses dominated the first half as the team combined for five turnovers, three by the Lutes. Linfield outgained PLU 161-93 during the first two quarters.

PLU kept the pressure on the third quarter, driving 80 yards in seven plays after a punt to pull within 20-14. Ritchey passed 21 yards to Lucas Sontra with 8:30 left in the period. The Lutes put together another long drive following a punt, netting a 20-yard field goal from Jacob Schrader with 1:35 left in the third quarter. The Lutes saw their chance to take the lead thwarted when Ritchey's pass to Kellen Westering in the corner of the end zone was batted away by Colin Forman.

Inns and the Wildcats moved to the PLU 3, but Evan Peterson fumbled as he fought for extra yardage, momentarily taking the wind out of Linfield's sails. But on the first play following, Ritchey was picked off in open space by linebacker Tyler Robitaille, who waltzed 10 yards into the end zone and putting the  hosts back in front by 10, 27-17.

The Lutes refused to fade, convert two fourth down plays, plus three third-down plays, on the way to Ritchey's 13-yard keeper around right end that trimmed the margin the 27-24.

PLU got the ball back at its own 22 with 1:33 left but had already expened all of their time outs. Ritchey was sacked on first down by Mike Maierhofer and on second down, the Wildcats were penalized 15 yards for a facemask after stopping Warner short of the first down. A 21-yard pass over the middle to Daniel Herr pushed the Lutes into Linfield territory. With the crowd on the edge of its seats, Ritchey was sacked by Bryan Dundas on the next play and on fourth and 16 from the 47, Ritchey threw incomplete, ending any remaining hope of a PLU upset.

Ritchey completed 22 of 33 passes for 284 yards but the sophomore was sacked six times on the day with Dundas and Maierhofer chalking up two each.

Forrest piled up a game-high 10 tackles to go with his interception and fumble return. Forman had seven tackles as well as a pair of fumble recoveries and a key pass breakup in the end zone. Robitaille was credited with six tackles along with his game-changing interception return for a touchdown.

'CAT SCRATCH: Saturday's paid attendance was 1,804. . . since 2009, the Wildcats are 9-0 in games played at Maxwell Field during the month of November. . . Inns suffered his first interception in seven games on the Wildcats' opening drive. . . the Lutes turned the ball over on the first or second play of drives four times. . . Linfield ran its win streak over PLU to 12 games. . . Linfield punter Josh Repp averaged 45 yards on five punts, including a 49-yarder that was downed at the PLU 9. . . Linfield is now 15-7 all-time in the NCAA playoffs and has reached the second round of the postseason tournament for the fourth straight year.

comments powered by Disqus
Sep. 12: All times Eastern
Final
Worcester State 30, at WPI 17
Box Score Recap Recap
Final
at Fitchburg State 21, Curry 7
Box Score Recap
Final
Springfield 41, at Mass-Dartmouth 20
Box Score
Final
TCNJ 17, at FDU-Florham 13
Sep. 13: All times Eastern
Final
Hobart 28, at Endicott 18
Box Score Recap Recap
Final
Buffalo State 60, at Manchester 32
Box Score Recap Recap
Final
Montclair State 7, at Salve Regina 6
Box Score Photos
Final
at Western Connecticut 58, Nichols 0
Box Score
Final
Alfred 34, at RPI 31
Box Score Recap
Final
Brockport State 17, at Cortland State 14
Box Score Recap Recap
Final
at Plymouth State 30, Mount Ida 24
Box Score Recap
Final
Bridgewater State 29, at William Paterson 20
Box Score
Final
Rowan 31, at Framingham State 21
Box Score
Final
at MIT 38, Becker 14
Box Score Recap
Final
at Western New England 17, Westfield State 14
Box Score Recap
Final
Stevenson 7, at King's 0
Final
Lycoming 26, at Albright 0
Box Score Recap
Final
at Muhlenberg 42, Franklin and Marshall 7
Box Score Recap
Final
at Moravian 28, McDaniel 7
Box Score Recap
Final
Norwich 10, at St. Lawrence 7
Box Score Recap
Final
Elmhurst 33, at Olivet 27
Box Score
Final
Illinois Wesleyan 35, at Albion 28
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Hampden-Sydney 35, Christopher Newport 30
Box Score
Final
Wheaton (Ill.) 26, at Kalamazoo 12
Box Score Recap
Final
Widener 45, at Lebanon Valley 3
Final
at Adrian 40, Carthage 14
Box Score Recap Recap
Final
at Juniata 38, Dickinson 35
Box Score
Final
at Randolph-Macon 48, Averett 16
Box Score Recap
Final
at Trine 28, Millikin 14
Box Score Recap
Final
at Wilkes 41, Misericordia 7
Final
at Ursinus 31, Gettysburg 14
Box Score Recap
Final
Utica 23, at Union 16
Box Score Recap
Final
at Concordia (Mich.) 23, Anderson 18
Box Score
Final
Morrisville State 43, at Hartwick 40
Box Score Recap Recap
Final
N.C. Wesleyan 27, at Lincoln (Pa.) 0
Box Score
Final
Greenville 44, at Minnesota-Morris 9
Box Score
Final
Johns Hopkins 27, at Susquehanna 20
Box Score
Final
Capital 54, at Earlham 20
Box Score
Final
Emory and Henry 14, at Maryville (Tenn.) 13
Box Score
Final
UW-Whitewater 42, at Franklin 13
Box Score
Final
Centre 34, at Defiance 7
Box Score Photos
Final
Thomas More 45, at Hanover 16
Box Score Recap
Final
at Hope 37, Augustana 27
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Waynesburg 35, St. Vincent 24
Final
Millsaps 30, at Mount St. Joseph 22
Box Score
Final
Oberlin 47, at Kenyon 28
Box Score Recap
Final
at Baldwin Wallace 32, Bluffton 20
Box Score
Final
at Simpson 22, UW-River Falls 6
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
St. Scholastica 41, at Iowa Wesleyan 14
Box Score Recap
Final
at UW-Platteville 26, Dubuque 21
Box Score Photos
Final
at Trinity International 49, Wisconsin Lutheran 22
Box Score
Final
Augsburg 55, at Concordia (Wis.) 45
Box Score Photos
Final
at Sewanee 21, Washington and Lee 19
Box Score Recap
Final
at Wartburg 31, Bethel 14
Box Score Photos
Final
at Carleton 40, Knox 14
Box Score
Final
Gustavus Adolphus 42, at Lake Forest 9
Box Score Recap
Final
Luther 20, at St. Olaf 3
Box Score Photos
Final
at Concordia-Moorhead 30, Buena Vista 9
Box Score Photos Photos
Final
North Central (Ill.) 51, at St. Norbert 17
Box Score Recap Recap Photos
Final
Texas Lutheran 37, at Hardin-Simmons 14
Box Score Photos
Final
at Ripon 24, Rockford 14
Box Score
Final
at Beloit 27, Grinnell 23
Box Score
Final
at Carroll 34, Benedictine 6
Box Score
Final
at Southwestern 27, Sul Ross State 20
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at MacMurray 42, Martin Luther 36
Box Score Recap
Final
Westminster (Mo.) 34, at Crown 13
Box Score
Final
Northwestern (Minn.) 48, at Eureka 16
Box Score Recap
Final
Marian (Ind.) 24, at UW-Oshkosh 20
Box Score
Final
at Occidental 34, Puget Sound 32
Box Score Photos
Final
at St. Thomas 46, UW-La Crosse 0
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Coast Guard 42, Merchant Marine 31
Box Score Recap
Final
Maine Maritime 42, at Anna Maria 12
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
Howard Payne 27, at Wayland Baptist 21
Final
at UW-Stout 21, Loras 17
Box Score Recap
Final
at Alcorn St. 52, Louisiana College 10
Final
Rochester 35, at Alfred State 21
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Pacific Lutheran 35, Cal Lutheran 28
Box Score
Final
Whitworth 30, at Whittier 17
Box Score Recap Photos Photos
Final
at Willamette 34, Trinity (Texas) 10
Box Score Recap
Final - 2OT
at LaGrange 28, Berry 27
Box Score Recap
Final
Wesley 43, at Salisbury 5
Box Score Recap Recap Photos
Final
at Geneva 42, Grove City 0
Box Score
Final
Washington and Jefferson 56, at Westminster (Pa.) 21
Box Score
Final
at Alma 31, North Park 7
Box Score
Final
Frostburg State 20, at Shenandoah 10
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Bridgewater (Va.) 43, Greensboro 14
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Guilford 52, Methodist 20
Box Score
Final
at Rose-Hulman 74, Illinois College 68
Box Score Recap Recap Photos Photos
Final
Bethany 45, at Thiel 24
Box Score
Final
at Hiram 37, Denison 26
Box Score Recap
Final
St. John's 31, at UW-Eau Claire 7
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Huntingdon 29, Birmingham-Southern 12
Box Score
Final
at Rhodes 46, Washington U. 22
Box Score Recap
Final
at Chicago 38, Concordia-Chicago 0
Box Score
Final
at Mary Hardin-Baylor 36, Redlands 0
Box Score Recap Recap
Final
Monmouth 28, at Central 21
Box Score Recap
Final
at Hendrix 24, Bacone 14
Box Score
Final
at East Texas Baptist 43, Austin 27
Box Score
Final
at Hamline 23, Macalester 13
Box Score Recap
Final
Coe 50, at Cornell 21
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Lawrence 59, Maranatha Baptist 0
Final
La Verne 47, at George Fox 33
Box Score
Final
at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 36, Lewis and Clark 14
Box Score
Final
Linfield 21, at Chapman 14
Box Score Recap Recap Photos
Sep. 18: All times Eastern
6:00 PM
Christopher Newport at N.C. Wesleyan
Live Stats Video
Sep. 13: All times Eastern
Final
Wesley 43, at Salisbury 5
Box Score Recap Recap Photos
Final
at Mary Hardin-Baylor 36, Redlands 0
Box Score Recap Recap
Final
Linfield 21, at Chapman 14
Box Score Recap Recap Photos
Final
Thomas More 45, at Hanover 16
Box Score Recap
Final
UW-Whitewater 42, at Franklin 13
Box Score
Final
Johns Hopkins 27, at Susquehanna 20
Box Score
Final
at Hampden-Sydney 35, Christopher Newport 30
Box Score
Final
Wheaton (Ill.) 26, at Kalamazoo 12
Box Score Recap
Final
Illinois Wesleyan 35, at Albion 28
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
Lycoming 26, at Albright 0
Box Score Recap
Final
at St. Thomas 46, UW-La Crosse 0
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
Hobart 28, at Endicott 18
Box Score Recap Recap
Final
at Wartburg 31, Bethel 14
Box Score Photos
Final
Marian (Ind.) 24, at UW-Oshkosh 20
Box Score
Final
at UW-Platteville 26, Dubuque 21
Box Score Photos
Final
North Central (Ill.) 51, at St. Norbert 17
Box Score Recap Recap Photos
Final
at Pacific Lutheran 35, Cal Lutheran 28
Box Score

What We're Reading