September 29, 2012

Shaffer, Wildcats spoil Lutes' upset bid

More news about: Linfield

PUYALLUP, Wash. – Freshman John Shaffer ran 32 yards for the winning touchdown with 7:03 remaining and Colin Forman snatched a game-sealing interception with under two minutes to play, lifting third-ranked Linfield to a come-from-behind 31-24 victory over Northwest Conference rival Pacific Lutheran Saturday at jam-packed Sparks Stadium.

Linfield (4-0, 1-0 NWC) twice overcame two-touchdown deficits in the first half and outscored PLU 10-3 in the second half, taking its first critical step toward a fourth-straight NWC titles.

Pacific Lutheran (1-2, 0-1 NWC), once considered Linfield's fiercest Northwest rival, lost to the Wildcats for the 11th consecutive time but had their best shot in recent seasons at knocking off the perennial champions.

Shaffer, a redshirt freshman from Aloha, Ore., wove his way through the PLU defense for 83 yards while backfield mate Stephen Nasca picked up 67 more. The two tailbacks collectively filled the void created by the loss all-star Josh Hill, sidelined for the remainder of the season with an injury. Hill had been the Wildcats' workhorse back, running for at least 100 yards in each of the team's first three games.

The Linfield defense, playing without injured all-star Tyler Steele, weathered an early storm to finish with a season-high seven sacks, including two from end Michael MacClanathan. Counting lost yards for sacks, the 'Cats held the Lutes to 19 net yards rushing. Forman totaled a team-high six tackles and his interception of a Dalton Ritchey pass at midfield touched off a wild celebration on the Wildcats sideline.

Taking full advantage of its opportunities, PLU twice opened up 14-point leads in the first half only to watch Linfield rally for a 21-all tie by intermission. PLU stuck quickly to open the contest, needing just four plays to reach the end zone, as Kellen Westering took a Ritchey pass, slipped a tackle on the sideline then raced 71 yards for a touchdown with the game less than three minutes old.

Linfield looked shaky at best on its opening drive, as quarterback Mickey Inns was nearly intercepted on first down and then picked off by Greg Hibbard on third down, who returned the ball 28 yards to the Linfield 17-yard line. Dalton hooked up with Kyle Warner four plays later for a 6-yard scoring strike and the Lutes led 14-0 following Nick Kaylor's extra point.

Linfield's next drive produced just 11 yards but a 50-yard punt by Josh Repp pinned the Lutes at their own 14. A bad exchange caused Ritchey to fumble and end KeAlii Poomaihealani recovered at the PLU 6. Inns then guided the Wildcats into the end zone, passing 3 yards to tight end Westly Meng with 4:01 left in the opening quarter.

PLU pushed its lead back to 14 points, scoring on a 32-yard catch-and-run by Westering. Linfield answered back, marching 67 yards in 12 plays to paydirt. Inns spotted Zach Young at the PLU 5, and Young took the ball the rest of the way to close the gap to 21-14.

Inns threw for his third touchdown of the half three minutes later, hitting Aaron Hire at the goal line to knot the game at 21.

The Lutes went three-and-out on their next drive and the Wildcats took over at their own 42. Linfield appeared to take the lead when Josh Kay split the uprights from 42 yards out, but Linfield was whistled for an illegal kicking penalty. Kay's subsequent attempt from 47 yards was wide right and the game remained deadlocked.

Linfield took its first lead of the game on the opening drive of the third quarter, highlighted by a 22-yard bomb to Lucas Jepson down the right sideline. Inns moved the 'Cats to the PLU 28 where Kay hit a 45-yard field goal.

PLU matched Linfield's points early in the fourth quarter as Kaylor booted a 37-yarder to knot the score at 24. The Wildcats responded with two key rushes by Nasca that moved the ball into PLU territory, setting up Shaffer's winding 32-yard run that took most of the air out of the Lutes' sails.

Needing a touchdown to tie, PLU continued to apply pressure to the Linfield defense, moving to the Linfield 49 but the Lutes failed to convert a 4th-and-1 play with just over four minutes to go. Halfback Niko Madison was stuffed at the line for a 1-yard loss by Forman.

Inns finished 17-of-31 for 208 yards and three touchdowns, but the senior pivot was sacked three times and threw two interceptions.

Nine different Wildcats caught passes in the game, including four from David Sigler and three by Poppen.

Dalton passed for 296 yards in a losing cause, completing 18-of-33. Westering, son of PLU coach Scott Westering, caught five passes for 146 yards and two touchdowns.

Lutes linebacker Jordan Patterson piled up a game-high 11 tackles. Ben Kaestner had eight stops, including a sack.

'CAT SCRATCH: Saturday's estimated attendance was 3,500. . . Nasca, a senior from nearby Sammamish, made his first career start in place of Hill. . . the Wildcats extended their NWC winning streak to 21 games while spoiling the Lutes' Homecoming . . . Inns was 2-for-8 passing in the first quarter, including two interceptions. . . PLU won the turnover battle, 3-2, and had five fewer penalties. . . the Wildcats outgained the Lutes 341-315. . . with its 11th straight series win over PLU, Linfield leads the all-time ledger with 37 wins, 21 losses, and four ties.

AHEAD: Linfield enjoys its second open date on the schedule this coming Saturday before returning to action Oct. 13 at home against Whitworth. Kickoff for the annual Homecoming game is 1 p.m.

Sep. 30: All times Eastern
6:30 PM
Randolph-Macon at Shenandoah
Preview Live Stats
6:30 PM
Emory and Henry at Washington and Lee
Video Live Stats Audio Audio
Oct. 1: All times Eastern
12:00 PM
Massachusetts Maritime at Fitchburg State
Preview Live Stats
12:00 PM
Becker at Gallaudet
Live Stats
12:00 PM
Merchant Marine at Hobart
Video Live Stats Audio
12:00 PM
RPI at Rochester
Video Live Stats Audio
12:00 PM
Endicott at MIT
Video Live Stats
12:00 PM
Juniata at Johns Hopkins
1:00 PM
Montclair State at William Paterson
1:00 PM
Hamilton at Wesleyan
Video Live Stats
1:00 PM
Bates at Tufts
Video Live Stats
1:00 PM
Wabash at Hiram
Live Stats
1:00 PM
Middlebury at Colby
Video
1:00 PM
Amherst at Bowdoin
Video Live Stats
1:00 PM
Frostburg State at Kean
Video Live Stats
1:00 PM
Kenyon at DePauw
Video Live Stats Audio
1:00 PM
Ferrum at Greensboro
Video Preview Live Stats
1:00 PM
Maryville (Tenn.) at Methodist
Video Live Stats
1:00 PM
FDU-Florham at Wilkes
Video Live Stats
1:00 PM
Anna Maria at Castleton
Video Live Stats Tickets
1:00 PM
Moravian at Ursinus
Video Live Stats
1:00 PM
Stevenson at Misericordia
Video Live Stats
1:00 PM
Springfield at St. Lawrence
Video Live Stats Audio
1:00 PM
Thomas More at Westminster (Pa.)
1:00 PM
Alma at Kalamazoo
Video Live Stats Audio
1:00 PM
Franklin and Marshall at Dickinson
1:00 PM
Wesley at Southern Virginia
Video Preview Live Stats Audio
1:00 PM
Adrian at Albion
1:00 PM
Husson at SUNY-Maritime
Live Stats
1:00 PM
Apprentice at Alfred State
Video Preview Live Stats
1:00 PM
TCNJ at Salisbury
Video Live Stats Audio
1:00 PM
Buffalo State at St. John Fisher
Video Live Stats Audio
1:00 PM
Salve Regina at Curry
Video Live Stats
1:00 PM
McDaniel at Gettysburg
Video Preview Live Stats
1:00 PM
Delaware Valley at Lebanon Valley
1:00 PM
Ohio Wesleyan at Denison
Video Live Stats
1:00 PM
Utica at Ithaca
Live Stats
1:00 PM
Alfred at Morrisville State
Video Live Stats
1:00 PM
Western New England at Nichols
Video Live Stats
1:00 PM
King's at Albright
Live Stats
1:00 PM
Catholic at Guilford
Video Live Stats
1:00 PM
Muhlenberg at Susquehanna
Video Live Stats Audio
1:00 PM
Concordia-Chicago at Trine
Video Live Stats Audio
1:00 PM
Huntingdon at N.C. Wesleyan
Video Video Live Stats
1:00 PM
Minnesota-Morris at MacMurray
1:00 PM
Birmingham-Southern at Chicago
Video Live Stats
1:00 PM
Westminster (Mo.) at Crown
1:30 PM
Oberlin at Allegheny
Video Live Stats Audio
1:30 PM
Mount Ida at Norwich
Video Live Stats
1:30 PM
Trinity (Conn.) at Williams
Video Live Stats
1:30 PM
Baldwin Wallace at Marietta
Video Live Stats Audio
1:30 PM
Muskingum at Heidelberg
Live Stats Audio
1:30 PM
Union at WPI
Video Live Stats
1:30 PM
Maine Maritime at Coast Guard
Video Preview Live Stats
1:30 PM
John Carroll at Wilmington
Video Live Stats Audio
1:30 PM
Mount Union at Ohio Northern
Video Preview Preview Live Stats Audio Audio
1:30 PM
Franklin at Manchester
Preview Live Stats
1:30 PM
Mount St. Joseph at Hanover
Video Live Stats
1:30 PM
Widener at Lycoming
Video Live Stats Audio
1:30 PM
Defiance at Earlham
Video Preview Live Stats
2:00 PM
Capital at Otterbein
Video Live Stats Audio
2:00 PM
Plymouth State at Westfield State
Video Live Stats
2:00 PM
Wittenberg at Wooster
Video Live Stats Audio
2:00 PM
Anderson at Rose-Hulman
Video Preview Preview Live Stats
2:00 PM
Hampden-Sydney at Bridgewater
Video Live Stats Audio
2:00 PM
Waynesburg at Grove City
2:00 PM
Cortland at Hartwick
Video Live Stats
2:00 PM
Centre at Hendrix
Video Live Stats
2:00 PM
Eureka at Greenville
Video
2:00 PM
Northwestern (Minn.) at Iowa Wesleyan
Video Live Stats
2:00 PM
Concordia (Wis.) at Lakeland
Video Live Stats
2:00 PM
Rockford at Benedictine
Video Live Stats
2:00 PM
Aurora at Wisconsin Lutheran
Video Live Stats
2:00 PM
Nebraska Wesleyan at Luther
Video Live Stats
2:00 PM
Rhodes at Sewanee
Video Live Stats
2:00 PM
Lake Forest at St. Norbert
Video
2:00 PM
Concordia-Moorhead at Gustavus Adolphus
Video Live Stats Audio
2:00 PM
Hamline at Carleton
Video Live Stats Audio
2:00 PM
St. John's at Bethel
Video Live Stats Audio
2:00 PM
UW-Whitewater at UW-Platteville
Live Stats
2:00 PM
Buena Vista at Loras
Video Live Stats
2:00 PM
Sul Ross State at Hardin-Simmons
Video Live Stats
2:00 PM
UW-Stevens Point at UW-Eau Claire
Video Live Stats Audio
2:00 PM
Beloit at Lawrence
2:00 PM
Cornell at Monmouth
Video Live Stats Audio
2:00 PM
Wartburg at Coe
Video Live Stats
2:00 PM
Dubuque at Central
Video Live Stats Audio
2:00 PM
Wheaton (Ill.) at Illinois Wesleyan
Video Live Stats
2:00 PM
McMurry at Mary Hardin-Baylor
Video Live Stats Audio
2:00 PM
Elmhurst at Augustana
Video Live Stats
2:00 PM
Macalester at Ripon
2:00 PM
Grinnell at Illinois College
Video Live Stats
2:00 PM
Howard Payne at Louisiana College
Audio
2:00 PM
UW-River Falls at UW-La Crosse
Video Live Stats Audio
2:00 PM
East Texas Baptist at Belhaven
Video Live Stats
2:10 PM
Augsburg at St. Thomas
Video Live Stats
3:00 PM
Washington and Jefferson at Thiel
Video Live Stats
3:00 PM
Maranatha Baptist at Morthland
Video
3:00 PM
St. Scholastica at Martin Luther
3:00 PM
Carthage at Carroll
Video Live Stats
3:00 PM
UW-Stout at UW-Oshkosh
Video Live Stats Audio Audio
4:00 PM
Willamette at Puget Sound
Video Video Live Stats Audio
4:00 PM
Whittier at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps
Video Live Stats
4:00 PM
Pacific at Pacific Lutheran
Video Live Stats Live Stats
4:30 PM
Lewis and Clark at Linfield
Video Live Stats Audio
5:00 PM
Framingham State at Mass-Dartmouth
Video Live Stats
5:00 PM
Averett at LaGrange
5:00 PM
Whitworth at George Fox
Video Live Stats Audio
6:00 PM
Olivet at Hope
Video Preview Preview Live Stats Audio Audio
6:00 PM
Bethany at Carnegie Mellon
Video Preview Live Stats Audio
6:00 PM
St. Vincent at Case Western Reserve
Video Live Stats Audio
6:00 PM
Christopher Newport at Rowan
Video Live Stats Audio Audio
6:00 PM
Bridgewater State at Western Connecticut
Video Live Stats
7:00 PM
Berry at Washington U.
Video Video Preview Preview Live Stats Live Stats Audio Audio
7:00 PM
North Park at Millikin
10:00 PM
Pomona-Pitzer at Chapman
Video Live Stats Tickets
10:00 PM
La Verne at Cal Lutheran
Video Preview Live Stats
10:00 PM
Occidental at Redlands
Video Live Stats Audio
Oct. 1: All times Eastern
12:00 PM
Merchant Marine at Hobart
Video Live Stats Audio
12:00 PM
Juniata at Johns Hopkins
1:00 PM
TCNJ at Salisbury
Video Live Stats Audio
1:00 PM
Thomas More at Westminster (Pa.)
1:00 PM
Wabash at Hiram
Live Stats
1:00 PM
Buffalo State at St. John Fisher
Video Live Stats Audio
1:00 PM
Stevenson at Misericordia
Video Live Stats
1:00 PM
Springfield at St. Lawrence
Video Live Stats Audio
1:00 PM
Huntingdon at N.C. Wesleyan
Video Video Live Stats
1:30 PM
Mount Union at Ohio Northern
Video Preview Preview Live Stats Audio Audio
1:30 PM
Franklin at Manchester
Preview Live Stats
2:00 PM
Wittenberg at Wooster
Video Live Stats Audio
2:00 PM
Wheaton (Ill.) at Illinois Wesleyan
Video Live Stats
2:00 PM
UW-Whitewater at UW-Platteville
Live Stats
2:00 PM
St. John's at Bethel
Video Live Stats Audio
2:00 PM
McMurry at Mary Hardin-Baylor
Video Live Stats Audio
2:00 PM
Sul Ross State at Hardin-Simmons
Video Live Stats
2:00 PM
East Texas Baptist at Belhaven
Video Live Stats
2:00 PM
Dubuque at Central
Video Live Stats Audio
2:10 PM
Augsburg at St. Thomas
Video Live Stats
3:00 PM
UW-Stout at UW-Oshkosh
Video Live Stats Audio Audio
4:30 PM
Lewis and Clark at Linfield
Video Live Stats Audio
6:00 PM
Christopher Newport at Rowan
Video Live Stats Audio Audio