Time of Poss.
McMINNVILLE, Ore. – Artie Johnson ran for three touchdowns and Tala Teaupa added two more scores on the ground to power No. 25 Linfield to a convincing 59-0 Northwest Conference victory over Willamette Saturday at Maxwell Field.
Johnson and Chidubem Nnoli each surpassed the 100-yard rushing plateau. A Homecoming weekend crowd of 3,031 watched as the Wildcats (2-2) rolled up 530 yards of offense, including 316 rushing.
The 59-point differential was Linfield's widest series margin in 91 meetings with Willamette and surpassed the 55-point record for most points scored by the Wildcats against the Bearcats since two programs first met in 1902.
Linfield defensive back Tyler Bergeron got the ball rolling downhill for Linfield on Willamette's opening series, returning a Mathew Castaneda interception 40 yards for a touchdown.
Johnson then capped a 12-play, 75-yard drive with an 11-yard run eight minutes later, giving the Wildcats a 14-0 advantage at the 5:22 mark of the first quarter. Willy Warne booted a 26-yard field goal to extend the Wildcats' lead.
Linfield added two more touchdowns in the second quarter, the first a 25-yard reception by J.D. Lasswell from quarterback Wyatt Smith. Linfield pushed the score to 31-0 with eight seconds remaining in the half as Johnson zipped his way through would-be tacklers on the way to a 47-yard TD.
Though they held a comfortable lead, the Wildcats didn't relent after intermission. Nnoli pounded his way for a short TD run in the opening minutes of the third quarter, and Johnson followed with his third TD of the afternoon, a 10-yard scamper with 4:28 left in the third quarter. Teaupa added rushing TDs of his own from 5 and 13 yards in a five-minute span, completing the Linfield scoring.
The Linfield defense was sturdy all afternoon, holding Willamette to 136 total yards, including just 34 rushing. Safety Duke Mackle recorded a team-high six tackles while cornerback Anthony Guttadauro had four stops, two pass breakups and forced a fumble. Bergeron and Tyler Sitton both intercepted passes.
Johnson finished the day with a career-high 119 yards rushing while Nnoli totaled 118. Teaupa gained 54 yards on just five carries. Smith completed 13 of 19 passes for 165 yards and one TD to Lasswell, who ended with a team-best four catches for 60 yards.
On the Willamette side, Castaneda managed just 12 completions in 23 attempts, netting 76 yards though the air. He was sacked twice. Zach Eutsey pulled in six passes for 33 yards.
Saturday's announced attendance was 3,031. . . Linfield punter Colton Ramos, who ranks second nationally in punting average, was not called upon to punt. . . Linfield converted 6 of 11 third-down plays and was 2 for 3 on third down. . . Linfield entered the game without a single rushing touchdown this fall yet ran produced six rushing scores on Saturday. . . Linfield is 2-0 at home this fall, both wins coming by way of shutouts. . . Linfield won its 22nd consecutive Homecoming game.
Linfield is home again at Maxwell Field on Saturday to take on the resurgent Lewis & Clark Pioneers (2-2) in a NWC matchup at 1:30 p.m.