ST. PAUL, Minn. - Senior quarterback Jordan Rasmussen threw four touchdown passes, including the game winner in the third quarter, to lead Pacific Lutheran to a season-opening 27-20 football win over the host Hamline Pipers on Saturday afternoon at Klas Field.
Rasmussen connected with Kyle Whitford on a 9-yard scoring strike with 8:01 remaining in the third quarter for what proved to be the winning touchdown. The score broke a 20-20 halftime tie, and from there the PLU defense managed to hold off several fourth quarter drives by the Pipers.
Trailing 27-20, Hamline drove 69 yards in 13 plays only to miss a 38-yard field goal. Later in the final quarter, the Pipers started a drive at their own 42-yard line. They marched down the field with Blake Cook carrying nine times, including seven in a row, and got to the 2-yard line where a fourth-down pass fell incomplete. The 15-play drive took 7:34 off the clock, but the Lutes got the ball and were able to run off the final nine second to secure the victory.
Rasmussen hooked up with Isaac Moog for the game's first score, converting a four-down play with a 27-yard scoring pass. Hamline tied it at 7-7 on a 2-yard run capping a 66-yard, 11-play drive, and then took the lead with a quick-strike 53-yad pass from Adam Meyer to Tim Queck following a blocked punt.
The Lutes sandwiched a pair of Rasmussen-to-Greg Ford scoring aerials around a pair of Hamline field goals. First, Rasmussen connected with Ford on a 35-yard touchdown, capping a 74-yard drive, to make the score 14-14 with 12:39 left. After John Broback knocked through 25- and 42-yard field goals for the Pipers, Ford caught a 56-yard touchdown pass from Rasmussen to make the score 20-20 at the intermission. The last scored came at the end of a four-play, 91-yard drive.
At the half, the Lutes had out-gained the Pipers, 280-238 in total yards. The second half, however, was much more of a defensive battle as the Lutes finished the game with 383 yards on 51 total plays compared to 365 yards on 88 plays for the hosts. Hamline dominated time of possession, nearly 38 minutes to just 22 for the Lutes.
Rasmussen finished 19-for-29 for 278 yards with the four touchdowns and one interception. Ford caught 10 balls for 152 yards and Moog added four receptions for 89 yards. Alec Simmons paced the running attack with 65 net yards on nine carries.
Defensively, linebacker Richard Isett finished with 13 tackles, followed by defensive lineman Mychael Tuiasosopo with 12, and safeties Sean McFadden and Jordan Davison with 11 and 10, respectively. Both Tuiasosopo and McFadden are freshmen. Trevor Fox and Davison both had interceptions for the Lutes.
Meyer was effective through the air for the Pipers, going 21-for-38 for 232 with one touchdown and the two picks. Alex House had seven receptions for 73 yards and Queck finished with six grabs for 99 yards. Rhmondo Rodriguez toted the football a total of 30 times for 94 net yards. Hamline had a total of 50 rushes for 133 net yards and an average of 2.7 yards per carry.
Pacific Lutheran returns to action at 12:30 p.m. next Saturday at Puyallup's Sparks Stadium when it hosts California Lutheran in the home opener.
- PLU -