Lutes Football Rallies Past Upstart Pioneers, 35-23
PORTLAND, Ore. - Pacific Lutheran scored a pair of touchdowns in the fourth quarter to rally past a much-improved Lewis & Clark team, 35-23, in a Northwest Conference football game played Saturday afternoon at Griswold Stadium.
The Lutes (6-1 overall, 3-1 conference) put more points on the board, but the Pioneers (4-3, 2-2), who had won just three games over the past four seasons, piled up the offensive yardage and put a scare into the nationally ranked Lutes before falling for the 15th straight time in the series.
Alec Simmons rushed for 127 yards and three touchdowns, including a 49-yarder to open the scoring and a 16-yarder to ice the win late in the fourth period, to lead the Lutes. PLU finished with 207 net rushing yards and added 212 through the air for a total of 419 yards on 56 plays, an average of 7.5 yards per play.
Lewis & Clark, meanwhile, ran for 275 yards and passed for 203 more for a total of 478 yards.
The game entered the fourth quarter with the Pioneers leading 23-22. In the final period, however, the Lutes played tough defense and came up with some timely plays on offense. They capped an 82-yard drive on a 50-yard scoring pass from Jordan Rasmussen to Greg Ford to make it 28-23 with 9:23 left. After the Pioneers missed a 37-yard field goal try, PLU went 79 yards to score on a 16-yard burst by Simmons.
PLU frosh safety Sean McFadden intercepted a pass in the end zone on Lewis & Clark's next possession, and the Lutes rank out the clock.
Simmons opened the scoring just 2:21 into the game, racing 49 yards to give his team a 7-0 lead. Lewis & Clark scored the next 10 points on Simon Monley's 17-yard field goal, capping a 77-yard drive, and on Riley Mitchell's 28-yard interception return.
Kyle Burbridge returned the ensuing kickoff 73 yards to the Lewis & Clark 11-yard line, and the Lutes scored two plays later on an eight-yard run by Simmons. The hosts added 22- and 40-yard field goals by Monley in the second period to take a 16-14 advantage at the intermission.
PLU made it 22-16 on Rasmussen's six-yard pass to Isaac Moog, followed by a Tyler Bowen two-point conversion run, but the Pioneers regained the lead at 23-22, putting together a seven-minute, 16-play drive, capped by Keith Ward's one-yard run. That set up the Lutes' comeback in the final 15 minutes.
Rasmussen was 17-for-26 for 212 yard wtih two touchdowns and one interception, and Ford, initially not expected to play because of a foot injury, caught six passes for 118 yards. McFadden had a pair of interceptions and also led the PLU defense with 12 total tackles. Linebacker Adam Schwander added 10 tackles.
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