November 17, 2012

PLU Gives Linfield All it Can Handle Before Falling, 27-24

More news about: Pacific Lutheran

McMINNVILLE, Ore. – Pacific Lutheran ran out of time.

An-end-of-game drive toward a tying field goal – or perhaps a winning touchdown – ended on a fourth down incompletion as Linfield held off Pacific Lutheran, 27-24, in an opening round game of the NCAA Division III football playoffs on Saturday at Maxwell Field.

With the win, Linfield (10-0) advances to a second round game where it will host North Central (Ill.), a 41-21 winner over Cal Lutheran. For PLU, the season comes to an end with a 7-3 record.

Linfield came into the game as the No. 1 seed in the regional bracket and with lots of NCAA Division III postseason experience. In fact, Linfield as a program had participated in 20 playoff games – hosting 15 of them – since PLU made its last appearance in the postseason in 2001. Linfield won the Northwest Conference title to get in, Pacific Lutheran was the conference runner-up and received an at-large bid.

Undaunted, Pacific Lutheran gave the Wildcats everything they could handle before coming up short.

The final drive started at the PLU 22-yard line with 1:33 remaining, and it began with a Linfield sack of PLU quarterback Dalton Ritchey. Still, the Lutes moved the ball, as they had in a dominating second half offensive performance. A 21-yard pass from Ritchey to Daniel Herr got the ball to the Linfield 41-yard line, but two spikes to stop the clock, a sack and an incompletion ended the game.

The second half belonged to the Lutes offense, which scored 17 points and also gained 246 of their 330 total yards in the final 30 minutes. It also belonged to the PLU defense, which limited Linfield to just 72 second half yards out of their 249 total. Additionally, the defense had three consecutive three-and-outs against Linfield, limiting that team's prolific offense to just 22 plays in the final half, and that provided impetus for the Lutes to get back into the game.

In the early going it was Linfield that got on the board first at 7:13 of the first quarter on Josh Kay's 47-yard field goal just inside the left upright, but the Lutes replied with an impressive drive. Pacific Lutheran mounted an efficient eight-play, 75-yard scoring march with Niko Madison sweeping around the left end for six yards and the touchdown, putting PLU ahead 7-3.

Unfortunately, three second quarter turnovers turned the momentum away from the Lutes and over to the Wildcats.

Starting at their own 9-yard line, the Lutes moved out of the shadow of their own end zone, including a third down conversion on a 17-yard pass from Dalton Ritchey to Kyle Warner. Facing another third down, Ritchey had the yardage gained but was hit and fumbled, with Colin Forman recovering at the PLU 45-yard line. The Wildcats settled for a 42-yard field goal by Josh Kay, cutting PLU's lead to 7-6.

On its next possession, PLU started at its 9-yard line after a penalty on the kickoff. On the first play from scrimmage Ritchey rolled left, was hit and lost the ball, which was recovered by Dom Forrest at the PLU 5-yard line. Two players later, Chad Coburn scored on a four-yard run, putting Linfield on top 13-7.

PLU's next possession resulted in yet another turnover, this an interception by Forrest, the Northwest Conference Defensive Player of the Year. Linfield took over at the PLU 36-yard line and Coburn capped a short six-play drive with a one-yard run, giving the hosts a 20-7 lead.

The second half started rough for the Lutes offense when Brandon James fumbled following a 9-yard run to the Linfield 41-yard line, but PLU's defense forced a three-and-out to give the ball back to the offense.

That big defensive stop led to Pacific Lutheran's next scoring drive, a seven-play, 80-yard march that ended when Ritchey found Lucas Sontra in the end zone with a 21-yard pass after a nice play fake. Ritchey completed four passes for a total of 69 yards on the drive. With 8:30 left in the third quarter, the Lutes had closed their deficit to 20-14.

For the second straight time, the defense forced a three-and-out for Linfield, and when Daniel Herr returned the punt 20 yards the Lutes had the ball at their own 38-yard line. Facing a fourth-and-six at the Linfield 38-yard line, Ritchey fired a 36-yard bomb to Warner to the Linfield 2-yard line. After three plays and a loss of one yard, Jacob Schrader kicked a 20-yard field goal to make it 20-17 in favor of the Wildcats.

Warner had 12 catches for 205 yards in the game and as a result finished the season with 1,264 receiving yards, establishing a new PLU single-season record and eclipsing the old mark of 1,245 by Al Bessette in 1976.

A pair of turnovers on back-to-back plays early in the fourth quarter had the momentum switching sides quickly. With Linfield driving deep in PLU territory, Connor Cummings forced a fumble and Greg Hibbard recovered at the PLU 5-yard line. Ritchey, looking in the left flat for Warner, was picked off by Ty Robitaille, who went 10 yards for a touchdown that gave Linfield a 27-17 lead with 12:02 left in the game.

Again, Pacific Lutheran had an answer, driving 78 yards on 14 plays and scoring on Ritchey's 13-yard run around the left end. The touchdown came on a fourth-and-one play and featured outstanding blocks by Warner, Herr and offensive tackle Parker Brown.

With the Lutes out of timeouts, Linfield was able to get a first down before having to punt the ball away for one final time. PLU took possession at the 22-yard line with one last chance, but the drive, and the game, ended just inside the Linfield side of midfield.

In the end, the Lutes were unable to overcome five turnovers that led to 24 Linfield points. But they sure went down giving every ounce of effort they had.

Pacific Lutheran piled up 17 first downs and 339 yards of offense to 12 first downs and 249 yards for Linfield. PLU gained 284 of its yards through the air with Ritchey going 22-for-33 with one touchdown and two interceptions. Warner led the Lutes with his 12 catches and 205 yards. Cody Pohren's 23 yards led the PLU rushing game.

The PLU defense limited Linfield to 39 net rushing yards on 26 carries. Quarterback Mickey Inns, the NWC Offensive Player of the Year, was 22-for-35 for 210 yards with one interception and one touchdown. Charlie Poppen had seven catches for 70 yards to lead the 'Cats receivers.

Linfield turned the ball over three times, with Erik Hoium getting an interception and Tayler Angevine and Greg Hibbard recovering fumbles for the Lutes.

Cummings led the Lutes defense with seven tackles and a forced fumble, and Sean McFadden added six tackles and a forced fumble. Jordan Patterson had two tackles for loss among his five tackles.

- PLU -

comments powered by Disqus
Sep. 18: All times Eastern
Final
Christopher Newport 31, at N.C. Wesleyan 28
Box Score
Sep. 19: All times Eastern
Final
Framingham State 29, at Fitchburg State 26
Box Score Recap
Sep. 20: All times Eastern
12:00 PM
RPI at Castleton State
Preview Live Stats Video Tickets
12:00 PM
Maine Maritime at Massachusetts Maritime
Preview Preview Live Stats Live Stats Video
12:00 PM
Gallaudet at Rochester
Live Stats Video Audio
12:00 PM
Alfred State at Husson
Preview Live Stats Video
12:00 PM
Sewanee at Randolph-Macon
Live Stats Video Audio
12:00 PM
Moravian at Johns Hopkins
Live Stats Video Audio
12:00 PM
Frostburg State at Utica
Live Stats Video Audio
12:00 PM
Alfred at Buffalo State
Live Stats
1:00 PM
Newport News Apprentice at Catholic
Live Stats Video
1:00 PM
Becker at Nichols
Live Stats
1:00 PM
Wesleyan at Middlebury
Live Stats Video
1:00 PM
Bridgewater State at Worcester State
Live Stats Video
1:00 PM
Hamilton at Tufts
Live Stats Video
1:00 PM
Bates at Amherst
Preview Live Stats
1:00 PM
Colby at Trinity (Conn.)
Live Stats Video
1:00 PM
Salve Regina at William Paterson
Live Stats Audio
1:00 PM
Lebanon Valley at Stevenson
Live Stats Video Audio
1:00 PM
Allegheny at Hiram
Live Stats Live Stats Video Video
1:00 PM
SUNY-Maritime at Merchant Marine
Live Stats Video
1:00 PM
Case Western Reserve at St. Vincent
Preview Video
1:00 PM
Thomas More at Thiel
Preview Live Stats Video Audio
Final
at $event.winner.name $event.winner.result, $event.loser.name $event.loser.result
Box Score
1:00 PM
Endicott at Kean
Live Stats Video
1:00 PM
Coast Guard at Hampden-Sydney
Preview Live Stats Video Audio Audio
1:00 PM
Maryville (Tenn.) at Averett
Live Stats Video
1:00 PM
Albright at Widener
Live Stats Audio Audio
1:00 PM
Hobart at Curry
Live Stats Live Stats Video Audio Audio
1:00 PM
LaGrange at Greensboro
Live Stats Video Audio
1:00 PM
Susquehanna at Dickinson
Live Stats Video Audio
1:00 PM
Rowan at Wesley
Live Stats Audio Audio
1:00 PM
Morrisville State at St. Lawrence
Live Stats Video Audio
1:00 PM
FDU-Florham at Misericordia
Live Stats
1:00 PM
Juniata at Gettysburg
Preview Live Stats Video Audio
1:00 PM
Lincoln (Pa.) at Montclair State
Live Stats Video Audio
1:00 PM
Wabash at Denison
Live Stats Video Audio
1:00 PM
Bethany at Westminster (Pa.)
1:00 PM
Mount Ida at Springfield
Live Stats Video
1:00 PM
Hartwick at Ithaca
Live Stats
1:00 PM
WPI at Norwich
Live Stats Live Stats Video
1:00 PM
Iowa Wesleyan at Minnesota-Morris
1:00 PM
Huntingdon at Methodist
Video Video
1:30 PM
Ohio Northern at Baldwin Wallace
Preview Live Stats Video Audio
1:30 PM
Wilmington at Capital
Preview Preview Live Stats Video Audio
1:30 PM
Franklin at Anderson
Preview Live Stats Audio Audio
1:30 PM
Carnegie Mellon at Washington and Jefferson
Preview Live Stats Video Audio Audio
1:30 PM
Heidelberg at John Carroll
Preview Live Stats Video Video Audio Audio
1:30 PM
King's at Lycoming
Live Stats Video Audio
1:30 PM
Geneva at Waynesburg
1:30 PM
Mount Union at Muskingum
Preview Live Stats Audio Audio
1:30 PM
Mount St. Joseph at Defiance
Live Stats Video
1:30 PM
Earlham at Manchester
Live Stats Live Stats Video Audio
2:00 PM
Bowdoin at Williams
Video
2:00 PM
Muhlenberg at McDaniel
Preview Live Stats Video
2:00 PM
UW-Whitewater at TCNJ
Live Stats Audio
2:00 PM
Marietta at Otterbein
Live Stats Video Audio Audio
2:00 PM
Hope at Lakeland
Live Stats Video Audio
2:00 PM
Olivet at Aurora
Live Stats Video Audio
2:00 PM
Trine at Rockford
Live Stats Audio
2:00 PM
Albion at Concordia (Wis.)
Live Stats Video
2:00 PM
North Park at Washington U.
Preview Live Stats Video
2:00 PM
Kalamazoo at Wisconsin Lutheran
Live Stats Audio
2:00 PM
UW-Eau Claire at Wheaton (Ill.)
Preview Live Stats Video Audio Tickets
2:00 PM
Concordia-Moorhead at St. John's
Preview Live Stats Video Audio Audio
2:00 PM
St. Olaf at Bethel
Live Stats Video
2:00 PM
Augsburg at Carleton
Live Stats Video Audio Audio
2:00 PM
Hamline at Gustavus Adolphus
Live Stats Video
2:00 PM
Stetson at Birmingham-Southern
Preview Live Stats Video
2:00 PM
Trinity (Texas) at Sul Ross State
Preview Live Stats Audio
2:00 PM
Occidental at Austin
Live Stats Video
2:00 PM
Southwestern Assemblies at Howard Payne
Live Stats Audio
2:00 PM
Maranatha Baptist at Central
2:00 PM
Grinnell at Luther
Video
2:00 PM
UW-Stevens Point at Coe
Audio
2:00 PM
Eureka at Greenville
2:00 PM
Westminster (Mo.) at MacMurray
2:00 PM
Loras at Augustana
Live Stats Video
2:00 PM
Texas Lutheran at Louisiana College
Live Stats Video
2:00 PM
Illinois Wesleyan at Simpson
Live Stats Video
2:30 PM
Rose-Hulman at Hanover
Preview Live Stats Video
3:00 PM
Plymouth State at Western Connecticut
Live Stats
3:00 PM
Hardin-Simmons at Wayland Baptist
Live Stats Video Audio
3:00 PM
Lewis and Clark at Whittier
Live Stats Video
3:00 PM
Willamette at Cal Lutheran
Live Stats Video Audio
3:30 PM
Alma at Concordia-Chicago
Live Stats Video
3:30 PM
Carroll at Lake Forest
Live Stats Video
3:30 PM
Whitworth at La Verne
Live Stats Video Audio
4:00 PM
Westfield State at Mass-Dartmouth
Live Stats Video
4:00 PM
Crown at St. Scholastica
Live Stats Live Stats Video
6:00 PM
DePauw at Wittenberg
Preview Preview Live Stats Video Audio
6:00 PM
St. John Fisher at Brockport State
Audio Tickets
6:00 PM
UW-River Falls at South Dakota Mines
7:00 PM
Guilford at Southern Virginia
@ Salem Stadium
Live Stats Live Stats Video Audio
7:00 PM
Wooster at Oberlin
Live Stats Video Audio
7:00 PM
Ferrum at Shenandoah
Preview Live Stats Video Audio
7:00 PM
Centre at Washington and Lee
Live Stats Video Audio
7:00 PM
Kenyon at Ohio Wesleyan
7:00 PM
Wilkes at Delaware Valley
Live Stats Audio
7:00 PM
Pacific at Dubuque
Live Stats Video Audio
7:00 PM
UW-Platteville at North Central (Ill.)
Preview Preview Live Stats Video Audio Audio
7:00 PM
Chicago at Elmhurst
Preview Live Stats Video
7:00 PM
Mary Hardin-Baylor at UW-La Crosse
7:00 PM
UW-Oshkosh at South Dakota State
Preview Live Stats Video Audio Audio
7:30 PM
Adrian at Benedictine
Live Stats Video Audio
8:00 PM
UW-Stout at Wartburg
Audio
8:00 PM
Martin Luther at Northwestern (Minn.)
Live Stats Video
8:00 PM
Southwestern at East Texas Baptist
Preview Live Stats Video Audio Audio
10:00 PM
Rhodes at Pomona-Pitzer
Preview Live Stats Video
10:00 PM
Linfield at Redlands
Preview Live Stats Video Audio Audio
Sep. 20: All times Eastern
6:00 PM
St. John Fisher at Brockport State
Audio Tickets
6:00 PM
DePauw at Wittenberg
Preview Preview Live Stats Video Audio
8:00 PM
UW-Stout at Wartburg
Audio
7:00 PM
UW-Oshkosh at South Dakota State
Preview Live Stats Video Audio Audio
7:00 PM
UW-Platteville at North Central (Ill.)
Preview Preview Live Stats Video Audio Audio
7:00 PM
Mary Hardin-Baylor at UW-La Crosse
10:00 PM
Linfield at Redlands
Preview Live Stats Video Audio Audio
2:00 PM
UW-Whitewater at TCNJ
Live Stats Audio
1:30 PM
Mount Union at Muskingum
Preview Live Stats Audio Audio
1:30 PM
Heidelberg at John Carroll
Preview Live Stats Video Video Audio Audio
1:30 PM
King's at Lycoming
Live Stats Video Audio
1:00 PM
Rowan at Wesley
Live Stats Audio Audio
1:00 PM
Coast Guard at Hampden-Sydney
Preview Live Stats Video Audio Audio
1:00 PM
Wabash at Denison
Live Stats Video Audio
1:00 PM
Thomas More at Thiel
Preview Live Stats Video Audio
1:00 PM
Hartwick at Ithaca
Live Stats
1:00 PM
Hobart at Curry
Live Stats Live Stats Video Audio Audio
12:00 PM
Moravian at Johns Hopkins
Live Stats Video Audio
2:00 PM
St. Olaf at Bethel
Live Stats Video
2:00 PM
UW-Eau Claire at Wheaton (Ill.)
Preview Live Stats Video Audio Tickets
2:00 PM
Illinois Wesleyan at Simpson
Live Stats Video

What We're Reading