SPOKANE, Wash. – A 28-0 third quarter turned a close game into a rout as Whitworth defeated visiting Puget Sound 62-30 in a Northwest Conference football game on Saturday afternoon at the Pine Bowl.
The Pirates forced nine Logger turnovers, including seven interceptions by five different quarterbacks, to improve to 5-3 overall and 3-2 in the NWC. UPS dropped to 3-3, 2-2.
Whitworth QB Bryan Peterson broke two school records, and both fell on the same play. Peterson's final pass of the game was an 18-yard touchdown to Avega Siolo with 1:20 left in the third quarter. That TD was Peterson's seventh touchdown pass of the game, setting a new single-game school record. And it was his 600th career pass completion, breaking the record of 599 set by Danny Figuiera from 1991-93.
That touchdown also gave Whitworth a 56-23 lead after the Pirates had only led 28-23 at halftime.
The turning point of the game came on the first drive of the third quarter with the Pirates holding their 28-23 halftime lead. Puget Sound drove to the Whitworth seven yard line where the Pirate defense forced a field goal. Kelvin Mackey got a piece of the field goal and the Bucs took over at their own 20 yard line. Nine plays later Peterson hit Connor Williams for a 30-yard touchdown pass to increase the lead to 35-23.
That opened the flood gates for breaks going against the Loggers. On the next UPS possession Danny Welstad intercepted a pass by Hans Fortune at the Whitworth three-yard line, returning the ball 97 yards for a touchdown and tying Tom Shanholzer's school record for longest interception return for a touchdown, set in 1986 against PLU.
Jacob Sturtevant intercepted Fortune on the next possession, returning the ball 34 yards to the UPS seven yard line. Two plays later Peterson connected with Drew Clausen for a touchdown that increased the lead to 49-23.
Peterson's record-setting pass to Siolo capped the 28-0 third quarter.
That third quarter stood in contrast to a back-and-forth opening half. Brent McCoy got UPS on the scoreboard first when he returned a blocked field goal 80 yards for a touchdown.
Whitworth grabbed a 14-7 lead on TD passes of 40 yards to Duke DeGaetano and 17 yards to Siolo later in the first quarter. But the Loggers tied the game 14-14 on a 15-yard pass from Braden Foley to Brennan Schon at the end of the opening period.
UPS took its final lead when Doug Owusu sacked Peterson for a safety that gave the Loggers a 16-14 advantage. Peterson answered with TD passes of 26 yards to Williams and 13 yards to Anthony Fullman to go ahead 28-16. But Fortune found Dustin Harrison open over the middle from eight yards away with 29 seconds left in the opening half to get UPS within 28-23.
Both teams scored rushing touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Whitworth's was an eight-yard run by Kyle Brownell and the Loggers got their final TD on a one-yard run by back-up QB Tanner Diebold with only 1:26 to play. It was the only UPS score of the second half.
Peterson completed 27 of 40 passes for 325 yards with seven touchdowns and two interceptions in three quarters of play. His touchdown total broke the previous school record of six, shared by himself, Joel Clark and J.J. Green.
Michael McCune was 1-6 for no yards after taking over at QB. Williams caught 11 passes for 130 yards and two touchdowns. Clausen had seven grabs for 42 yards and a score. Siolo's two TD receptions were the first touchdowns of his career. DeGaetano finished with 84 rushing yards and 40 receiving yards with the one touchdown reception.
Whitworth rolled up 28 first downs and 436 yards of offense. The Loggers finished with 397 yards, but only 12 net yards rushing.
Foley, the starting QB for UPS, completed 8 of 16 passes for 65 yards with one touchdown and one interception. He also fumbled twice and was sacked three times. Fortune came on in relief in the second quarter and completed 21 of 40 passes for 236 yards with one touchdown and five interceptions. Diebold was also intercepted once. Thomas Riley and Nick Nestingen also saw time at QB for the Loggers.
Kevin Miller caught ten passes for 67 yards, while Harrison had six catches for 53 yards. Noah Frazier ran 12 times for 31 net yards.
Taylor Roelofs led the Whitworth defense with 11 tackles, including a 13-yard sack. JT Phelan and Luke Peterson had nine stops apiece. Seven different Pirate players picked off UPS passes in the game, one short of the school-record of eight interceptions in a single game set in 1987 against Eastern Oregon.
Max Mirande had 13 tackles, including a nine-yard sack, to lead UPS. Jake Wuesthoff added nine stops. Nassar Abdelrasul intercepted his third pass of the season.
Whitworth has now won its last 19 meetings with Puget Sound, its oldest continuing rivalry.
The Pirates will play their final home game of the season next Saturday against George Fox at 1:00 pm.