October 5, 2013

Linfield's fourth-quarter explosion buries PLU

More news about: Linfield

McMINNVILLE, Ore. – Never mind that Linfield is one of the most productive offensive teams in NCAA Division III this season.

The second-ranked Wildcats are a pretty good defensive club, too, as they proved Saturday at jam-packed Maxwell Field.

Scoring 22 points in the fourth quarter to win going away, Linfield undressed 11th ranked Pacific Lutheran 29-0 in the Northwest Conference opener for both clubs. Monsterback Kyle Wright made six tackles and intercepted a pass, captaining a defense that produced five takeaways and four sacks while limiting the rival Lutes to 216 total yards.

Tailback Josh Hill rushed for three short touchdowns and quarterback Josh Yoder ran for 67 yards and passed 200 more to pace the Wildcats offensively. With Yoder at the controls, Linfield piled up 394 yards while Wright and the defense held PLU to 40 yards rushing in posting a second consecutive shutout for the first time since 2002.

The first of five turnovers occurred before the game was even a minute old. Forty-four seconds into the contest, Lutes quarterback Dalton Ritchey lost his grip on the ball and Tyler Steele recoverd at the PLU 24. Linfield advanced to the 7 off the turnover, but a 23-yard field goal by Josh Repp was ruled wide right.

After a PLU punt, the Wildcats drove 77 yards in eight plays into the end zone, with Hill slicing in from the 6. Repp's extra point was good and Linfield led 7-0 with 24 seconds left in the first quarter.

PLU missed a decent opportunity early in the second quarter when Ritchey drove the Lutes to the Wildcats 19. Senior end KeAlii Poomaihealani sacked Dalton on first down and the Lutes turned the ball over on downs following a delay of game penalty and an incomplete pass.

The Wildcats tried to make it a two-score game just before intermission, but linebacker Joel Anthony sacked Yoder at the PLU 38 and the score remained 7-0 heading as the teams retreated to the locker room.

Both offenses were muted during the first half, with the Wildcats outgaining the Lutes by a 168-115 margin, and the two quarterbacks posted matching 8-for-15 passing statistics through the first two quarters.

The defensive stalemate continued through the third quarter before Linfield erupted for 22 points in the span of 10:27. The key play came on the Lutes' first possession of the quarter. PLU drove to the Linfield 8 but Jeremy Girod sacked Dalton on fourth-and-goal, giving the ball back to the Wildcats. PLU never crossed the Linfield 40 the rest of the game.

After a scoreless third quarter, the Wildcats reeled off three straight touchdowns to start the final period while the Linfield defense held firm. Hill squeezed over the goal line from the 1, completing 14-play, 75-yard drive. The extra point was blocked by Anthony and Linfield led 13-0.

On the ensuing possession, Dalton passed incomplete on three straight plays and the Lutes were forced punt. Yoder then smoothly guided the 'Cats down the field, firing an 18-yard strike to Charlie Poppen for the touchdown. The two-point conversion attempted failed.

Linfield slammed the door moments later. Dalton was intercepted by Brandon Funk, who returned the ball 31 yards to the PLU 4. A personal foul penalty spotted the ball at the 2 where Hill ran the remaining distance on the next play. Repp's extra point pumped Linfield's lead to 26-0.

PLU's next drive ended in another Dalton interception and more Linfield points. This time, with 4:30 left to play, it was Wright with the pickoff of a Dalton pass inside PLU territory. Repp followed with a 38-yard field goal through the middle of the uprights.

In addition to Wright's all-around performance, the Wildcats were bolstered by five tackles each from Forman and Dominique Forrest. Girod finished with two sacks for 15 yards in losses.

The Wildcats did not surrender a single turnover while the Lutes surrendered the ball five times. Wildcats wideout Charlie Poppen caught five passes for 70 yards and tight ends Westley Meng and Jacob Priester each had three receptions.

Linfield rushed for 194 net yards. Linebackers Jordan Patterson and Dalton Darmody each and eight tackles defensively for PLU (3-1, 0-1 NWC).

'CAT SCRATCH: Saturday's paid attendance was 3,624. . . the Wildcats have won 17 straight Homecoming games and 13 consecutive contests over PLU. . . senior linebacker Tyler Robitaille and sophomore tailback John Shaffer returned from injuries to see their first action of the season. . . Jorden Walker averaged 43.7 yards on three punts. . . PLU converted just 2 of 11 third-down plays and were 0-for-2 inside the red zone. . . Linfield entered the game ranked fifth in Division III in total offense.

NEXT: The Wildcats enjoy a mid-season bye in the coming week, then focus on a lengthy road trip to Whitworth Oct. 19. The Lutes host Lewis & Clark next Saturday at Sparks Stadium.

Sep. 1: All times Eastern
7:00 PM
Coast Guard at Anna Maria
7:00 PM
Defiance at Baldwin Wallace
Live Stats
7:00 PM
Washington and Lee at Johns Hopkins
7:30 PM
Trine at Manchester
8:00 PM
Millsaps at Belhaven
Sep. 2: All times Eastern
TBA
Muhlenberg at Wilkes
6:00 PM
Mass-Dartmouth at Mount Ida
6:00 PM
Delaware Valley at Wesley
7:00 PM
N.C. Wesleyan at Stevenson
7:00 PM
Western New England at Springfield
7:00 PM
Fitchburg State at Becker
Video Live Stats
7:00 PM
Albright at Salisbury
7:00 PM
WPI at MIT
7:00 PM
Salve Regina at Worcester State
7:00 PM
Bridgewater State at Curry
7:00 PM
Morrisville State at St. Lawrence
10:00 PM
Adrian at Pacific
Sep. 3: All times Eastern
TBA
Endicott at Framingham State
TBA
Kean at Christopher Newport
TBA
King's at Moravian
Live Stats
TBA
Lebanon Valley at Franklin and Marshall
TBA
Marietta at Denison
TBA
McDaniel at Catholic
TBA
Wisconsin Lutheran at Trinity Int'l
TBA
Sewanee at Kenyon
TBA
UW-Platteville at George Fox
Live Stats
12:00 PM
Washington U. at Carnegie Mellon
Live Stats
12:00 PM
Chicago at Case Western Reserve
12:00 PM
Husson at Alfred
12:00 PM
SUNY-Maritime at Maine Maritime
Video
12:00 PM
Cortland at Heidelberg
12:00 PM
Otterbein at Buffalo State
12:00 PM
Ursinus at Bethany
1:00 PM
Plymouth State at Castleton
Live Stats
1:00 PM
RPI at Norwich
1:00 PM
Randolph-Macon at Dickinson
1:00 PM
Oberlin at Kalamazoo
1:00 PM
Emory and Henry at Ferrum
1:00 PM
Wooster at Washington and Jefferson
1:00 PM
Alfred State at William Paterson
1:00 PM
St. Vincent at Alma
1:00 PM
Concordia (Wis.) at Finlandia
1:00 PM
Olivet at St. John Fisher
1:00 PM
Rowan at Widener
1:00 PM
Hobart at Brockport
1:00 PM
Union at Ithaca
1:00 PM
Susquehanna at Lycoming
1:00 PM
Utica at Misericordia
1:00 PM
TCNJ at UW-Whitewater
1:30 PM
Wilmington at Bluffton
1:30 PM
Monmouth at Hope
1:30 PM
Bridgewater at Gettysburg
1:30 PM
Muskingum at Waynesburg
1:30 PM
Juniata at Grove City
2:00 PM
Lakeland at Carroll
Video Live Stats
2:00 PM
UW-Stevens Point at St. Norbert
2:00 PM
Austin at Hendrix
2:00 PM
Maranatha Baptist at Martin Luther
Live Stats
2:00 PM
Millikin at Greenville
Live Stats
2:00 PM
Eureka at Knox
Live Stats
2:00 PM
MacMurray at Rockford
Live Stats
2:00 PM
Gustavus Adolphus at Westminster (Mo.)
Video Live Stats
2:00 PM
UW-La Crosse at Luther
2:00 PM
Beloit at Lake Forest
2:00 PM
Concordia-Moorhead at Jamestown
2:00 PM
Crown at Hamline
Live Stats
2:00 PM
Carleton at Macalester
2:00 PM
Bethel at Dubuque
2:00 PM
St. Scholastica at St. John's
Live Stats
2:00 PM
St. Olaf at Grinnell
2:00 PM
Buena Vista at Mayville St.
2:00 PM
Simpson at UW-Stout
2:00 PM
Aurora at Carthage
2:00 PM
UW-River Falls at Coe
2:00 PM
Ripon at Concordia-Chicago
2:00 PM
Elmhurst at Loras
2:00 PM
Huntingdon at Louisiana College
2:00 PM
North Central (Ill.) at Robert Morris-Chicago
2:00 PM
Benedictine at Wheaton (Ill.)
2:00 PM
John Carroll at UW-Oshkosh
2:30 PM
Southern Virginia at Earlham
Live Stats
4:00 PM
La Verne at Puget Sound
Live Stats
4:00 PM
Central at Whitworth
5:00 PM
Hartwick at Western Connecticut
6:00 PM
Wabash at Albion
6:00 PM
Maryville (Tenn.) at Berry
6:00 PM
Augustana at Mount St. Joseph
6:00 PM
Thomas More at Franklin
Live Stats
6:00 PM
Hampden-Sydney at Averett
6:00 PM
Redlands at Trinity (Texas)
7:00 PM
Hiram at Westminster (Pa.)
7:00 PM
LaGrange at Birmingham-Southern
7:00 PM
Thiel at Allegheny
7:00 PM
Capital at Wittenberg
7:00 PM
Shenandoah at Gallaudet
Live Stats
7:00 PM
Illinois College at Rose-Hulman
Video Live Stats
7:00 PM
Hanover at Centre
7:00 PM
Geneva at Frostburg State
7:00 PM
Nichols at Westfield State
7:00 PM
Greensboro at Guilford
Live Stats
7:00 PM
Hardin-Simmons at Southwestern
7:00 PM
Anderson at North Park
7:00 PM
Ohio Wesleyan at Mary Hardin-Baylor
7:00 PM
East Texas Baptist at Texas Lutheran
7:10 PM
St. Thomas at UW-Eau Claire
Video Live Stats
8:00 PM
Willamette at Rhodes
8:00 PM
Cornell at Iowa Wesleyan
Live Stats
8:00 PM
Augsburg at Northwestern (Minn.)
Live Stats
8:00 PM
Southwestern Assemblies at Howard Payne
8:00 PM
Sul Ross State at UT-Permian Basin
Dec. 18: All times Eastern
Final
Mount Union 49, at St. Thomas 35
@ Salem, Va.
Box Score Recap Recap Photos