/seasons/2011/contrib/201111261g0gqb

Second-half explosion knocks Linfield out of playoffs

More news about: Linfield

DOVER, Del. – Quarterback Shane McSweeny was a one-man wrecking crew, powering No. 7 Wesley to 42 consecutive second-half points to knock off fifth-ranked Linfield 49-34 in a second-round NCAA Division III playoff game Saturday at Scott D. Miller Stadium.

Wesley (11-1), a Division III independent, advances to the quarterfinals to play Mary Hardin-Baylor Saturday at noon in Belton, Texas.

McSweeny passed for 259 yards and two scores and rushed for another 174. He accounted for 256 total yards in the final two quarters as Wesley overcame a 27-7 halftime deficit.

Linfield, champion of the Northwest Conference, suffered its first defeat and closed the season at 10-1.

The Wildcats twice took 13-point leads in the first two quarters and led by 20 after scoring on the final series of the opening half. Josh Kay booted a pair of field goals in the first quarter, connecting from 27 and 26 yards as Linfield built a 6-0 lead.

The Wildcats faced a third-and-24 situation from their own 16-yard line when Wildcats tailback Josh Hill took a shovel pass 42 yards for a first down, keeping a drive alive. Six plays later, Linfield went on top 13-0 with 10:37 left in the second period.

On the ensuing possession, McSweeny passed 38 yards to Jeremiah Howe to the Linfield 46, then weaved his way for a touchdown that kept Wesley within striking distance.

Linfield came right back to push its lead to 13 points, marching 76 yards in eight plays for a touchdown. On third-and-goal from the 1, Inns tossed the ball to the endzone, where it ricocheted off the hands of Deidre Wiersma and into the arms of Buddy Saxon. The extra point made it 20-7 with 5:48 to go before intermission.

The Wildcats made it a three-score game in the closing minute of the half as Inns tossed a 33-yard bomb down the left sideline to Lucas Jepson, who caught the ball in stride at the goal line with 29 seconds left before the break. Kay's extra point made it 27-7 in favor of the visitors.

Inns amassed 296 yards passing in the first two quarters, completing 17-of-24 attempts. The Wildcats owned 342-181 advantage in total yards as the teams retreated to their respective locker rooms.

McSweeny, the Wolverines' primary offensive weapon, had 112 rushing yards at the intermission to go with 65 passing yards.

The second half was a different story.

Wesley caught a break to begin the third quarter, pouncing on a fumbled kickoff at the Linfield 28 that gave the Wolverines their best field position of the game to that point. McSweeny's pass to Steven Koudossou from the 15 found paydirt, drawing Wesley to with 13 once again, 27-14.

Linfield marched to the Wesley 13 and appeared ready to put the game out of reach, but Inns' pass was intercepted by Leon Jones at the 1 and returned 99 yards for touchdown with 4:02 left in the quarter.

After a punt by Jordan Walker pinned the Wolverines at their own 1, McSweeny needed just four plays to fashion another scoring drive, hitting Steven Koudoussou on a 28-yard pass play that gave Wesley its first lead of the game at 28-27.

The wheels came off the Linfield wagon after that. McSweeny teamed with towering tight end Sean McAndrew for a pair of touchdown passes four minutes apart, bolstering the Wolverines' lead to 42-27 with eight minutes to play. McSweeny then delivered the final punch, scoring on an 8-yard scamper with 4:40 to play.

Inns passed 19 yards to Deidre Wiersma for a touchdown with 1:47 left to make the score respectable.

"It was certainly a tale of two halves," Wildcats coach Joseph Smith said. "I felt like probably the big momentum change obviously was the opening kickoff (of the second half) where they made a nice play and caused a fumble and I think that sparked a big motivational change and momentum change.

"They did a great job of making some plays on the ball. I thought they made some great catches and we didn't match that."

Inns finished the game with a career-high 407 yards passing, completing 32-of-49 attempts. Jepson totaled six catches for 111 yards and Wiersma had eight receptions for 81 yards to lead the Wildcats.

Hill, who gained 51 yards in the first half, finished with just 65 on 11 carries. He also had five catches for 45 yards.

Wildcats tackle Tyler Steele was credited with a game-high 11 tackles, including three sacks. Drew Fisher had 10 tackles and Dominique Forrest had nine stops for the 'Cats.

The teams combined for nearly 1,000 yards of offense. Once the final statistics were tallied, Wesley had outgained Linfield 497-495. Both teams registered four sacks. The Wildcats turned the ball over three times - twice on fumbles - while forcing two Wolverine turnovers.

McSweeny passed for four touchdowns and ran for two others.

"We knew they were very explosive with a lot of great players on every side of the ball everywhere," Smith said. "I really felt like they had a really good defensive line. When they got going, they caused us a lot of problems up front and I thought that was a huge difference."

'CAT SCRATCH: Linfield traveled 2,452 miles for its playoff game, the furthest distance covered by a Linfield team in program history. . . temperature at kickoff was 58 degrees. . . Saturday's attendance was 921. . . Linfield is 0-4 road playoff games since joining the NCAA in 1998. . . the Wildcats also dropped close contests at St. Johns (2003), UW-Whitewater (2009) and St. Thomas (2010). . . freshman Mike Nardoni was transported to the hospital in the first quarter after suffering a violent hit on kickoff. . . Nardoni was treated and released and is expected to return to Oregon with the team. . . the Wildcats are should arrive on campus Saturday evening by 10 o'clock.

SO LONG SENIORS: The game marked the end of the road for 21 seniors: Playing their final games Drew Fisher, Taylor Skore, Nate Dixon, Erik Koczian, Kole Krieger, Eric Biege, Deidre Wiersma, James Testa, Aaron Hire, Aaron Williams, Kalae Parish, Bryan Anderson, Eric Anderson, Christian Hanna, Hayden Mace, Jordan Barnes, Buddy Saxon, Joell Reyes, Brent Shimabukuro, Sparky Gonzalez and Tommy Patrick. . . Linfield's graduating class won 37 of 45 games.

Oct. 20: All times Eastern
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at Johns Hopkins 52, Gettysburg 0
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Oct. 21: All times Eastern
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at Framingham State 29, Westfield State 14
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Moravian 20, at Juniata 17
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at Salve Regina 41, Endicott 14
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at Thomas More 63, St. Vincent 13
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at Union 28, Hobart 23
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at Hamilton 27, Colby 24
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at Christopher Newport 27, William Paterson 19
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at Ithaca 35, St. John Fisher 10
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at Allegheny 44, Kenyon 35
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SUNY-Maritime 21, at Mount Ida 13
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Middlebury 43, at Bates 14
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at Springfield 68, Catholic 20
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at Amherst 23, Wesleyan 19
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at Trinity (Conn.) 63, Bowdoin 14
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Husson 48, at Gallaudet 21
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Wabash 35, at Oberlin 21
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at Utica 34, Buffalo State 12
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Ohio Northern 7, at Muskingum 6
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at Frostburg State 62, Montclair State 3
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at Wesley 34, Rowan 3
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at Stevenson 26, Albright 23
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Wittenberg 52, at DePauw 6
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at Albion 31, Alma 28
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at Guilford 45, Shenandoah 20
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Plymouth State 40, at Massachusetts Maritime 14
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Wooster 58, at Hiram 25
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Washington and Lee 36, at Hampden-Sydney 6
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at Anna Maria 36, Alfred State 34
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Bridgewater 31, at Emory and Henry 23
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Lebanon Valley 17, at Misericordia 0
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RPI 30, at Alfred 15
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Ferrum 27, at Brevard 24
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Randolph-Macon 63, at Apprentice 14
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Cortland 34, at Morrisville State 20
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Trinity (Texas) 27, at Sewanee 21
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Wartburg 41, at Luther 16
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Tufts 21, at Williams 13
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Mount Union 66, at Wilmington 7
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MIT 30, at Coast Guard 21
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at Norwich 24, Maine Maritime 22
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Franklin 29, at Rose-Hulman 22
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John Carroll 48, at Capital 21
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at Manchester 28, Bluffton 21
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Mount St. Joseph 71, at Anderson 27
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UW-Whitewater 20, at UW-River Falls 7
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Kean 26, at TCNJ 3
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at LaGrange 59, Greensboro 10
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at Worcester State 45, Mass-Dartmouth 40
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Muhlenberg 40, at McDaniel 13
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Western New England 45, at Becker 0
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at Maryville (Tenn.) 35, Methodist 14
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Adrian 36, at Kalamazoo 22
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Denison 31, at Ohio Wesleyan 20
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Berry 37, at Millsaps 22
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Birmingham-Southern 31, at Austin 24
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at UW-Stout 23, UW-Stevens Point 17
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Eureka 37, at MacMurray 20
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Nebraska Wesleyan 14, at Buena Vista 13
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Lakeland 48, at Wisconsin Lutheran 0
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St. Thomas 84, at Hamline 0
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Westminster (Mo.) 24, at Greenville 14
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Monmouth 61, at Cornell 10
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Wheaton (Ill.) 56, at North Park 0
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Northwestern (Minn.) 30, at Martin Luther 14
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Hardin-Simmons 33, at Texas Lutheran 30
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at Lake Forest 70, Grinnell 6
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at Millikin 56, Carroll 35
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at Macalester 47, Ripon 31
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St. Scholastica 49, at Crown 21
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UW-Platteville 34, at UW-Eau Claire 14
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at Centre 42, Rhodes 35
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Hanover 49, at Earlham 14
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UW-Oshkosh 42, at UW-La Crosse 28
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Simpson at Dubuque
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at North Central (Ill.) 54, Augustana 2
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3:00 PM
East Texas Baptist at Louisiana College
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13:30 4Q
0 Hartwick
45 Brockport
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20 Western Connecticut
14 Bridgewater State
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31 Chapman
15 La Verne
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4th Quarter
17 Pacific
7 Lewis and Clark
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27 Pacific Lutheran
0 Willamette
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7 Puget Sound
38 Whitworth
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32 Redlands
25 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps
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0 George Fox
6 Linfield
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Sul Ross State at Howard Payne
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0 Dean
0 Castleton
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N.C. Wesleyan at Averett
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Case Western Reserve at Geneva
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Carnegie Mellon at Thiel
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Knox at Illinois College
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Whittier at Cal Lutheran
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Occidental at Pomona-Pitzer
Oct. 20: All times Eastern
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at Johns Hopkins 52, Gettysburg 0
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Oct. 21: All times Eastern
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at Wesley 34, Rowan 3
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at Frostburg State 62, Montclair State 3
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Wittenberg 52, at DePauw 6
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at Springfield 68, Catholic 20
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Final
Wartburg 41, at Luther 16
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Mount Union 66, at Wilmington 7
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at Marietta 44, Heidelberg 21
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at Washington and Jefferson 34, Westminster (Pa.) 33
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Hardin-Simmons 33, at Texas Lutheran 30
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at Mary Hardin-Baylor 45, Belhaven 7
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St. Thomas 84, at Hamline 0
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at St. John's 41, Gustavus Adolphus 17
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at Illinois Wesleyan 13, Carthage 10
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at Concordia-Moorhead 42, Augsburg 20
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Berry 37, at Millsaps 22
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UW-Platteville 34, at UW-Eau Claire 14
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Final
UW-Oshkosh 42, at UW-La Crosse 28
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Final
at North Central (Ill.) 54, Augustana 2
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13:30 4Q
0 Hartwick
45 Brockport
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Start 3rd
0 George Fox
6 Linfield
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7:00 PM
Case Western Reserve at Geneva
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