1999 Playoffs: PLU rolls in Salem

Tim Lax
Despite giving up 70 pounds, PLU senior linebacker Tim Lax brought down Rowan tight end David Sadowski en route to nine total tackles and three for loss.
Photo by Pat Coleman, D3football.com

The Lutes traveled halfway around the world to get there and rolled up 42 points as they upended Rowan 42-13 in Stagg Bowl XXVII. We also take a look at the feel-good Lutes and the kids who buy into head coach Frosty Westering's system.

Take a look back at preview information and see which of our experts picked Pacific Lutheran to win.

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Playoff roundup

Quarterfinals
West seventh-seeded Pacific Lutheran rallied with 13 unanswered second-half points to defeat St. John's 19-9 and earn a trip to San Antonio and become the first-ever seven seed to reach the national semifinals. OK, it's the first year of seven-team brackets, but that's still impressive. Hardin-Simmons drove from their 35-yard line to the Trinity 15 with five seconds left but was unable to get the ball in the end zone and falls to the top-seeded Tigers 40-33. The Cowboys again suffered from turnovers, coughing up the ball eight times. Ohio Northern's Cinderella season came to a shocking conclusion, as Mount Union pulled off another second-half rout in winning 56-31. The Polar Bears had led 16-14 at the half before the machine scored four third-quarter touchdowns. And Rowan put together a Mount Union-like burst of its own with 21 fourth-quarter points to put Montclair State away 42-13. All the final scores, plus game stories.

Second-round action
Two No. 1 seeds went one-and-out Saturday afternoon, as Western Connecticut lost to Montclair State 32-24 and Pacific Lutheran blew out Wartburg 49-14. That sets up PLU at St. John's next week in the West final, and Rowan at Montclair State in the East. In the North, Ohio Northern romped past Wittenberg 58-24, setting up a rematch at Mount Union, while it's an all-Texas final in the South, with Hardin-Simmons at Trinity. All the scores, including game stories. Plus, Western Connecticut doesn't file the paperwork to host a third-round game and only avoids an embarrassing road trip to New Jersey by losing.

First round: Wisconsin ousted
For all the talk about Wisconsin power, the Badger State went 0-3 in opening-week playoff action. UW-La Crosse lost 38-17, UW-Stevens Point lost 23-10 and St. Norbert lost 39-32. Washington & Jefferson recorded the first big upset of the postseason as it toppled Lycoming 14-7. Did we say the key was defense? Also advancing: Pacific Lutheran, Hardin-Simmons, Rowan, Montclair State, Ursinus, Central, Wittenberg, Ohio Northern, Augustana, St. John's and Western Maryland.

Stagg Bowl XXVII

at Salem, Va.
Pacific Lutheran 42, Rowan 13

Semifinals
Rowan 24, Mount Union 17 (OT)
Pacific Lutheran 49, Trinity (Texas) 28

North Bracket 1. Mount Union 42
5. Augustana 33
1. Mount Union 56
4. Ohio Northern 31
5. Augustana 39
7. St. Norbert 32
3. Hanover 14
4. Ohio Northern 56
4. Ohio Northern 58
2. Wittenberg 24
2. Wittenberg 42
6. Alma 19
East Bracket 1. Western Connecticut 24
4. Montclair State 32
4. Montclair State 13
5. Rowan 42
4. Montclair State 37
6. Buffalo State 34
3. RPI 10
5. Rowan 29
5. Rowan 55
7. Ursinus 0
2. Bridgewater State 38
7. Ursinus 43
West Bracket 1. Wartburg 14
7. Pacific Lutheran 49
7. Pacific Lutheran 19
2. St. John's 9
6. Willamette 24
7. Pacific Lutheran 28
3. UW-La Crosse 17
4. Central 38
4. Central 9
2. St. John's 10
2. St. John's 23
6. UW-Stevens Point 10
South Bracket 1. Trinity 20
4. Western Maryland 16
1. Trinity 40
3. Hardin-Simmons 33
4. Western Maryland 20
5. Catholic 16
3. Hardin-Simmons 28
7. Washington U. 21
3. Hardin-Simmons 51
6. Washington & Jefferson 3
2. Lycoming 7
6. Washington & Jefferson 14

Selection Sunday analysis

Surprises? Sure, there are some surprises. We were quite surprised to see Western Connecticut gain the top seed in the East, as we had been projecting Lycoming to slide into that region. It appears that Lycoming's nine-game schedule might have hurt them, as Trinity is seeded ahead of them. In fact, it appears that the seeding is almost all by winning percentage. How else can we explain Bridgewater State, the champion of the weakest automatic qualifying conference, getting a No. 2 seed?

Other items of note: Western Maryland and Catholic finally play each other, in their third consecutive season reaching the South Bracket together. The last two years, they've each gone 10-0 through the regular season and lost to Lycoming and Trinity in the first round of the playoffs.

Of the four Pool C teams selected, not one got a home game. One did get a No. 4 seed (Central) but will be playing on the road thanks to the West bracket geography. And that's primarily caused by the selection of two Northwest Conference teams.

NCAA national football committee chair Mike Clary summed that up this way: "We felt all along that Pacific Lutheran was a strong team and Willamette by virtue of a great win against Linfield yesterday worked into the tournament. It was just a good pairing for us there."

Also, Pacific Lutheran's only loss on the season is to Willamette. Willamette is one of two three-loss teams in the field (the other is AQ UW-La Crosse), but two of those losses were to an NAIA and a Division II team.

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