TACOMA, Wash. – The University of Puget Sound football team set several records on Saturday but suffered a heartbreaking 68-64 loss to Lewis & Clark. Duncan White had a career day, throwing for a record 625 yards and eight touchdowns. Adam Kniffin was his favorite target as he also set school records with 19 receptions and five touchdown catches.
The Loggers and Pioneers traded scores through most of the game as both offenses continued roll. The Pioneers and Loggers combined for 19 touchdowns in the game, setting a Northwest Conference record for points in a game with 132 combined points.
The quarterbacks battled throughout the game as each put up very impressive numbers. White was 46-of-68 for 625 yards and eight touchdowns. White constructed drive after drive to keep the Loggers in the seesaw battle. Keith Welch put up some equally impressive numbers for the Pioneers, passing for 254 yards and four TDs while running for 147 yards and three TDs.
"Duncan has made huge leaps the past two weeks," commented head coach Jeff Thomas. "He finally has the confidence in his abilities."
Both quarterbacks had their favorite targets as Kniffin hauled in his record 19 catches for 186 yards and another record five touchdowns, including the first three consecutive touchdowns for the Loggers. On the Pioneers side, Shawn Evans had eight catches for 180 yards and a trio of TDs.
The teams traded touchdowns in the first half as neither team recorded a punt in the half. However, the Pioneers were able to outshoot the Loggers to take a 41-35 lead into the locker room. A pair of Logger turnovers in the third quarter allowed the Pioneers to open 61-42 lead with just over seven minutes left in the fourth quarter.
The Loggers continued to battle as they marched down the field on the next possession to close the gap. White hit Kniffin for a 25-yard TD pass to narrow the lead to 61-49. The Loggers special teams then came up with a big play, recovering an onside kick to keep the Loggers in the game. White marched the Loggers down the field again and capped the drive with a nine-yard TD strike to Ryan Rogers to narrow the gap to 61-56.
"There is a lot of things you can say about our guys," said Thomas. "The number one thing is that they are not going to give up. They are going to fight and claw and scratch to get back in a game. It was great to see all three sides of the ball, with special teams grabbing an onside kick, the offense diving the ball down the field, and the defense coming up with a huge stop to give us an opportunity to get back into this game."
Next up, it was the defense's turn to come up big. The Logger defense responded by forcing a three-and-out and a Pio punt. With 2:57 left, the Loggers took over at their own 30. White once again marched the Loggers down the field and capped the drive with a his eighth TD throw of the day. With the ensuing extra point, the Loggers took a 64-61 lead with 27 seconds left.
The Pioneers needed just 26 seconds to march down the field as the offense awoke for the final drive. Welch found Evans in the back of the end zone with 1.7 seconds left to take the final lead and eventually the game by a score of 68-64.
"Our offense is finally clicking and the passing attack is running exactly the way I imagined it when I took the job," said Thomas. "I'm going to take away that Adam Kniffin is a terrific football player and that Duncan White is a terrific athlete."
The Loggers will stay home next week to host Senior Day on Saturday when they welcome Pacific to Baker Stadium at 1:30 p.m.