/seasons/2012/contrib/20121124kt71zl

Wildcats pounce on Cardinals, advance with 30-14 win

More news about: Linfield

McMINNVILLE, Ore. – Outgained but not outplayed, third-ranked Linfield turned away No. 14 North Central time and again, producing seven turnovers on the way to a 30-14 victory in the second round of the NCAA Division III playoffs Saturday at Maxwell Field.

Cornerback Michael Link intercepted a pair of passes inside Linfield territory, Dominique Forrest returned another pass 73 yards for a touchdown, and the Wildcats withstood a 192-yard, two-touchdown rushing performance by North Central's Nick Kukuc.

Linfield (11-0), representing the Northwest Conference, advances to a Dec. 1 quarterfinal matchup against Wisconsin-Oshkosh, a 37-14 winner over Bethel. Official quarterfinal host sites will be confirmed and announced Sunday by the NCAA. Kickoff will be at noon local time.

North Central (9-3), tri-champion of the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin, saw its season come to a close. While reaching the national quarterfinals for the fifth time in 10 seasons, Linfield extended its home winning streak to 25 games.

Wildcats quarterback Mickey Inns passed for 305 yards and two scores, and though he completed 24 of 39 throws, the senior was sacked four times by a Cardinals defense that surrendered just 331 total yards. Lucas Jepson caught a game-high eight passes for 132 yards and a touchdown.

The Cardinals appeared to take a 3-0 lead with just over two minutes left in the first quarter, but the NCC bench called timeout just as the ball was about to leave kicker Nick Dace's foot. As play resumed, Dace's 37-yard attempt was wide left and the game remained scoreless.

Linfield fed off the early momentum, marching 80 yards in nine plays for the game's first points. Inns hit Charlie Poppen for a 17-yard strike, and Josh Kay booted the extra point, the Wildcats led 7-0 with 14:22 left in the second quarter.

Linfield's defense accounted for the next score on the Cardinals' ensuing possession. On fourth-and-2 from the Linfield 31, NCC quarterback Spencer Stanek was intercepted by Forrest, who returned the errant throw 73 yards for a touchdown.

The Cardinals' turnover woes were just beginning. Michael MacClanathan recovered a bad snap at the NCC 39, giving the Wildcats their best starting field position of the half. When the drive stalled, Kay trotted out for a 44-yard field goal that pushed Linfield out in front 17-0.

North Central advanced the ball to the Linfield 3, aided by a 43-yard bomb down the right sideline to Nick Kukuc, but Stanek fumbled a handoff and Brynnan Hyland recovered at the 6.

Kukuc had 105 yards by intermission and the Cardinals controlled the ball for nearly 20 minutes of the first half. NCC outgained Linfield 208-152 during the opening two periods, but it was the Wildcats who made the most of their opportunities.

Midway through the third quarter, Brandon Funk intercepted Stanek at the Linfield 36 and two plays later, Inns stepped away from pressure in the pocket and found Jepson streaking down sideline for a 64-yard touchdown.

Stanek committed NCC's fifth turnover of the afternoon on the ensuing drive and the Wildcats again turned the miscue into points. An eight-play, 53-yard drive was capped off by Chad Coburn's 4-yard weave into the end zone. Kay's extra point was blocked but it mattered little as the 'Cats enjoyed a 30-0 advantage over the visitors from Illinois.

Kukuc finally broke free with 2:32 to go in the third quarter, avoiding two tackles on the way to a 32-yard touchdown romp. Kukuc again found his way into the end zone on the first play of the fourth quarter, pounding 15 yards for the score to cut the margin to 30-14.

The Cardinals kept the pressure on in the late going. A personal foul penalty after Linfield had stopped the Cardinals on third down at midfield kept a drive alive. Facing on third-and-10 from the Linfield 29, Stanek's deep pass into the end zone was batted away by Link. A fourth-down pass was picked off by Link at the Linfield 12, silencing a 12-play drive.

NCC outgained Linfield 416-331 for the game, including a whopping 181-26 disparity in the rushing column. But seven turnovers, including five interceptions by Stanek, proved to be the Cardinals' undoing.

Forrest led all tacklers with 12 stops, including six unassisted. Kyle Wright contributed seven tackles, two of which were for loss. Link produced six tackles and three pass breakups to go with his two interceptions. Linebacker Quinn Haas paced the North Central defense with 10 tackles, including two sacks and a fumble recovery.

'CAT SCRATCH: Saturday's paid attendance was 1,304. . . the Wildcats are 14-3 at home in the playoffs since becoming full-fledged members of the NCAA. . . Linfield's last home loss came in the next-to-last game of the 2008 season, a 17-9 nonconference defeat to Western Oregon. . . Wildcats coach Joseph Smith raised his career record to 60-13, including 42-4 over the last four seasons. . . Inns became only the fifth Linfield quarterback to surpass 3,000 passing yards in a season and 6,000 yards for his career. . . he now stands at 3,041 passing yards for the season and 6,035 for his career.

Oct. 14: All times Eastern
Final
Salve Regina 45, at Nichols 10
Video Box Score Photos
Final
Mount Ida 14, at Dean 7
Box Score
Final
at Thomas More 59, Waynesburg 7
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Maine Maritime 34, Coast Guard 16
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Finlandia 27, Trinity Bible 21
Video Box Score
Final
Hamilton 28, at Bowdoin 7
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Delaware Valley 49, King's 14
Video Box Score Recap Recap
Final
at Olivet 47, Albion 26
Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Wesleyan 41, Bates 23
Video Box Score Photos
Final
Union 27, at Rochester 0
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Amherst 40, at Colby 7
Video Box Score
Final
at Western New England 41, Endicott 14
Video Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Brockport 48, Morrisville State 7
Video Box Score Recap
Final - OT
at Plymouth State 16, Framingham State 13
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at RPI 27, Ithaca 14
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Hobart 49, at Hartwick 27
Video Box Score Recap Recap
Final
at Ferrum 34, LaGrange 20
Box Score Video
Final
at Carnegie Mellon 42, Geneva 27
Video Box Score
Final
Ohio Wesleyan 16, at Wabash 13
Video Box Score Recap
Final
DePauw 26, at Denison 17
Video Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Trine 42, Kalamazoo 7
Video Box Score
Final
at Washington and Lee 47, Guilford 26
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Husson 49, Castleton 0
Box Score Recap
Final
Gallaudet 35, at Alfred State 19
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Wittenberg 49, Allegheny 15
Video Box Score
Final
Brevard 41, at Methodist 17
Video Box Score
Final
at Lebanon Valley 31, Stevenson 24
Video Box Score Recap Recap
Final
Buffalo State 24, at St. Lawrence 21
Video Box Score Recap
Final - OT
at Cortland 20, Alfred 17
Box Score Recap Live stats
Final
at Randolph-Macon 52, Emory and Henry 29
Video Box Score
Final
at Wesley 29, Kean 9
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Hampden-Sydney 58, Apprentice 28
Video Box Score
Final
Frostburg State 59, at William Paterson 7
Video Box Score Recap Recap
Final
at N.C. Wesleyan 45, Greensboro 0
Video Box Score
Final
at Westminster (Pa.) 49, Grove City 27
Video Box Score
Final
Washington and Jefferson 49, at Bethany 14
Video Box Score
Final
at Westminster (Mo.) 56, Crown 15
Video Box Score
Final
at Northwestern (Minn.) 29, Iowa Wesleyan 7
Video
Final
at Knox 56, Grinnell 14
Video
Final
at Widener 31, Lycoming 17
Video Box Score
Final
Trinity (Conn.) 23, at Tufts 16
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Mount St. Joseph 66, Earlham 7
Video Box Score
Final - 2OT
Ohio Northern 27, at John Carroll 20
Preview Box Score Recap Photos
Final
Baldwin Wallace 23, at Muskingum 20
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Mount Union 72, Capital 14
Video Box Score Photos
Final
Rose-Hulman 44, at Manchester 13
Video Box Score Recap Recap Photos
Final
at Hanover 31, Bluffton 28
Video Video Box Score
Final
Defiance 45, at Anderson 0
Video Box Score
Final
at Wartburg 42, Loras 11
Video Box Score
Final
Hiram 62, at Kenyon 56
Video Box Score
Final
Springfield 35, at Merchant Marine 13
Video Box Score Photos
Final
Williams 27, at Middlebury 26
Video Box Score
Final
at Westfield State 33, Fitchburg State 21
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Marietta 43, at Wilmington 33
Video Box Score
Final
at Berry 34, Hendrix 10
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Curry 40, at Becker 0
Video Box Score
Final
TCNJ 20, at Rowan 14
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at SUNY-Maritime 51, Anna Maria 15
Video Box Score
Final
Salisbury 28, at Montclair State 10
Video Box Score
Final
at Huntingdon 28, Maryville (Tenn.) 16
Video Box Score
Final
at Austin 33, Millsaps 19
Video Box Score
Final
at Mary Hardin-Baylor 65, Howard Payne 0
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Washington U. 55, Buena Vista 20
Video Video Box Score Recap
Final
Alma 27, at Aurora 19
Video Box Score
Final
at Rockford 29, Concordia-Chicago 14
Video Box Score
Final
Wisconsin Lutheran 22, at Concordia (Wis.) 19
Video Box Score
Final
at Lakeland 57, Benedictine 21
Video Box Score
Final
at St. Norbert 10, Chicago 0
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Concordia-Moorhead 45, at Hamline 0
Video Box Score Recap
Final
St. Olaf 22, at Augsburg 20
Video Box Score Photos
Final
Bethel 24, at Gustavus Adolphus 3
Video Box Score
Final
St. John's 35, at Carleton 0
Video Box Score
Final
at Eureka 30, Greenville 19
Video Box Score Photos
Final
Centre 27, at Trinity (Texas) 21
Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
Dubuque 42, at Nebraska Wesleyan 27
Video Box Score
Final
Central 30, at Coe 19
Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
Lake Forest 56, at Cornell 28
Video Box Score
Final
at Carthage 31, Elmhurst 8
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Illinois Wesleyan 30, Carroll 0
Video Box Score
Final
Millikin 28, at Augustana 27
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Ripon 52, at Beloit 28
Video Box Score
Final
MacMurray 49, at Minnesota-Morris 13
Video
Final
Macalester 21, at Lawrence 18
Video Box Score
Final
at Monmouth 59, Illinois College 14
Video Box Score
Final
at UW-Stevens Point 26, UW-Eau Claire 3
Video Box Score Photos
Final
Case Western Reserve 63, at Thiel 28
Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Wooster 38, Oberlin 28
Video Box Score
Final
Texas Lutheran 41, at East Texas Baptist 34
Video Box Score
Final
at UW-Stout 21, UW-River Falls 16
Box Score Recap
Final
UW-Oshkosh 28, at UW-Platteville 14
Video Box Score Photos
Final
Sewanee 34, at Birmingham-Southern 13
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Hope 22, Adrian 3
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Linfield 49, at Lewis and Clark 14
Video Box Score
Cancelled
La Verne at Occidental
Video Live stats Audio
Final
Whitworth 17, at Pacific Lutheran 14
Video Box Score Photos Photos
Final
at Cal Lutheran 42, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 20
Video Box Score
Final
at George Fox 58, Willamette 12
Video Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Pacific 35, Puget Sound 27
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Pomona-Pitzer 45, at Whittier 23
Video Box Score
Final
at Western Connecticut 28, Massachusetts Maritime 21
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at St. Scholastica 56, Martin Luther 21
Video Box Score Recap
Final - 5OT
at St. John Fisher 39, Utica 36
Video Recap Live stats Audio
Final - OT
at Heidelberg 48, Otterbein 45
Video Preview Box Score Recap Audio Tickets
Final
at Shenandoah 38, Bridgewater 20
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
Southwestern 60, at Belhaven 31
Video Video Box Score
Final
Hardin-Simmons 35, at Sul Ross State 10
Box Score
Final
at Louisiana College 52, McMurry 34
Box Score
Final
at Simpson 38, Luther 17
Video Box Score
Final
at Chapman 45, Redlands 26
Video Video Box Score Recap Recap
Oct. 16: All times Eastern
Final
at Wheaton (Ill.) 42, North Central (Ill.) 20
Box Score Recap
Oct. 20: All times Eastern
7:00 PM
Gettysburg at Johns Hopkins
Video Video Live stats Live stats
Oct. 14: All times Eastern
Final
at Delaware Valley 49, King's 14
Video Box Score Recap Recap
Final - OT
at Cortland 20, Alfred 17
Box Score Recap Live stats
Final
at Wesley 29, Kean 9
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Frostburg State 59, at William Paterson 7
Video Box Score Recap Recap
Final
at Wittenberg 49, Allegheny 15
Video Box Score
Final
at Brockport 48, Morrisville State 7
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Washington and Jefferson 49, at Bethany 14
Video Box Score
Final
Ohio Wesleyan 16, at Wabash 13
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Mount Union 72, Capital 14
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Wartburg 42, Loras 11
Video Box Score
Final
at Berry 34, Hendrix 10
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Springfield 35, at Merchant Marine 13
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Mary Hardin-Baylor 65, Howard Payne 0
Video Box Score Recap
Final
St. John's 35, at Carleton 0
Video Box Score
Final
at Illinois Wesleyan 30, Carroll 0
Video Box Score
Final
Concordia-Moorhead 45, at Hamline 0
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Case Western Reserve 63, at Thiel 28
Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
UW-Oshkosh 28, at UW-Platteville 14
Video Box Score Photos
Final
Linfield 49, at Lewis and Clark 14
Video Box Score
Final
at George Fox 58, Willamette 12
Video Video Box Score Photos
Final
Hardin-Simmons 35, at Sul Ross State 10
Box Score
Oct. 16: All times Eastern
Final
at Wheaton (Ill.) 42, North Central (Ill.) 20
Box Score Recap
Oct. 20: All times Eastern
7:00 PM
Gettysburg at Johns Hopkins
Video Video Live stats Live stats