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Pacific Drops Northwest Conference Opener to Pacific Lutheran, 27-16

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Host Pacific Lutheran scored 14 points in the opening five minutes of the game en route to defeat Pacific University, 27-16 in the Northwest Conference opener for both teams in Puyallup on Saturday afternoon.

The Lutes (2-1, 1-0 NWC) took the opening kickoff down for an early touchdown and capitalized on a blocked punt for an early 14-0 lead on the visiting Boxers. Pacific Lutheran outgained the Boxers by a slim 351 to 323 margin, but it was the early lead and a key stop at the one-yard line midway through the third quarter that proved to be the difference.

The Boxers (1-3, 0-1 NWC) started 11 of its 14 drives inside its own 30-yard line in the loss. Defensively, Pacific senior linebacker Jack Perez (Petaluma, Calif.) had 11 tackles and senior defensive end Jeff Bajema (Burlington, Wash.) had 3.5 tackles for minus 20 yards.

Despite the loss, Pacific senior quarterback Campbell Summerfield (Sandy, Ore.) completed 24 of 37 passes for 224 yards with an interception and two touchdowns. He found nine-different targets, including freshman Kobe Williams (Las Vegas, Nev.) and Kamana Pimental ((Kaneohe, Hawai'i), who each had a team-high four receptions.

Freshman Devin Hallier (Clovis, Calif.) and sophomore Austin Cardoza (Exeter, Calif.) each hauled in a touchdown pass in the loss.

PLU started the game with a 7 play, 82-yard touchdown drive that ended in the first of two touchdown passes for Lutes' quarterback Jon Schaub. The Lutes quickly forced a three and out for the Boxers on their first possession; then they blocked a Pacific punt to set up a short field and the ball at the eight-yard line. PLU capitalized and Schaub connected for his second touchdown of the afternoon for a quick 14-0 lead for the host Lutes.

The two teams traded punts before Pacific got on the scoreboard, later in the opening quarter, when Summerfield connected with Hallier for his first career reception and touchdown to cut the deficit to 14-7 with 1:54 left. Each team picked up a field goal in the second quarter to make the game 17-10 at halftime.

On the Boxers' second possession of the second half, Pacific forced a fumble on special teams. Working in PLU territory, the Boxers moved the ball into the red zone. The Lutes answered the challenge, stopping the Boxers on back-to-back attempts on third and fourth down, respectively from the one-yard line. 

Late in the fourth quarter, a PLU field goal stretched it to a two-possession game and a 20-10 lead for the host Lutes. Facing a 10-point deficit, the Boxers and Summerfield marched down the field but were unable to cut into the PLU lead. The Lutes came back with a 52-yard touchdown run by Darin Hardgrove to seal the game.

The Boxers failed to concede, going eight plays in 73 yards for a touchdown when Summerfield found Cardoza for a 15-yard touchdown pass with 21 seconds to play for what proved to be the final margin.

Next, Pacific will return home for its next two home games including a matchup against No. 9 Linfield on Saturday, Oct. 8 at 1 p.m. at Hanson Stadium.
 
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