Lutes To Take On Boxers In Home Finale
THIS WEEK: The Pacific Lutheran University football team will be in action for its final time at home during the 2011 season as the Lutes are set to take on the Pacific University Boxers. Last weekend, PLU lost a 34-32 decision to undefeated Lewis & Clark College. The loss dropped the Lutes record to 4-3 on the season. Pacific Lutheran now sits in a three-way tie for third place in the Northwest Conference standings by way of a 2-2 mark in NWC action. The Pacific University Boxers come into Saturday's game with a 1-7 record in 2011. Pacific's lone win on the season, the first since the program was reinstated in 2010, came last week in the form of a 44-25 victory of the University of Puget Sound. Saturday afternoon's match up at Sparks Stadium in Puyallup is set to begin at 12:30 p.m.
FOLLOW THE LUTES: You can listen to PLU football action throughout the year in the Tacoma area on KLAY 1180 AM with Steve Thomas and Karl Hoseth calling the action. The broadcasts are also available online on the KLAY website (www.klay1180.com). Additionally, listeners can access the PLU football broadcasts on the PLU athletics website at www.golutes.com, then clicking on Listen Live and following the link.
SERIES HISTORY: The Pacific football program is back at it in its second season following an 18 year period with no team. Despite the near 20 year break, the Lutes and Boxers have met a total of 37 times dating back to the 1939 season. Pacific Lutheran holds a 26-8-3 advantage over the Boxers and is currently on a 14-game winning streak going back to the 1973 season. Pacific's last win in the series was a 9-7 victory in 1972.
A LOOK AT THE BOXERS: Although the defense has improved from the 2010 season, the Pacific Boxers have still given up approximately 40 points and 410 yards per game. On the offensive side of the ball, Pacific has relied on its passing game in 2011. Quarterback tandem T.C. Campbell and P.J. Minaya are averaging 277 passing yards per game. Wide receiver Jordan Fukumoto has emerged as the team's No. 1 target through the air. The sophomore is averaging 95 receiving yards per game which ranks second in the NWC.
ABOUT THE COACHES: Scott Westering is in his eighth year as head coach at Pacific Lutheran, where he has compiled a 38-32 overall record. Scott joined the PLU coaching staff in 1981 after playing tight end for the Lutes under his father, Frosty Westering. Scott served as the Lutes' offensive coordinator from 1983-2003, helping PLU to two NAIA Division II and one NCAA Division III national championships, as well as four runner-up finishes. He has coached 11 first-team All-Americans, including the 1999 NCAA Division III Player of the Year, Chad Johnson. Scott was a captain and All-American tight end on the 1980 PLU team that won the Lutes' first NAIA national championship. He was inducted into the PLU Hall of Fame in 1998. Now entering his second year as Pacific's head football coach, Keith Buckley has set the initial building blocks down for what should be a long period of growth for the young program. Working with a core of nearly 100 freshmen coming out for the first season of the program, Buckley led a Pacific team that earned a reputation for never quitting on the field, even against the best of opponents. Buckley was named the head coach of the new Pacific football program on July 31, 2009. He arrived in Forest Grove after four seasons as part of the coaching staff at UC Davis, including serving the 2007 and 2008 seasons as assistant head coach. Buckley emerged from an exhaustive national search that saw over 125 people apply to lead Pacific's first football team since 1991. (Courtesy of Pacific Sports Information)
LUTES LAST YEAR: Pacific Lutheran finished with an 8-1 overall record in 2010. The Lutes were 5-1 in the Northwest Conference, good for second place behind Linfield, but were not extended an at-large bid to the NCAA Division III national playoffs.
BOXERS LAST YEAR: In the programs first season in 18 years, Pacific went winless in their nine game schedule. The first year program only scored 157 points while giving up over 400.
LAST SEASON'S GAME: Pacific Lutheran scored 19 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to pull away from upset-minded Pacific, 50-23, in a soggy Northwest Conference football game played Saturday night. With the victory, the nationally-ranked Lutes improve their season record to 7-1 and their conference mark to 4-1, setting up a regular season-finale clash with the Willamette Bearcats, also 4-1, for second place in the NWC. The game will kick off at 12:30 p.m. next Saturday at Puyallup's Sparks Stadium. The Boxers, 0-8 overall and 0-6 in the conference, pulled to within eight points at 31-23 after scoring on a 12-yard pass from TC Campbell to Brian Taylor late in the third quarter, but the Lutes responded with touchdown drives covering 73, 51 and 50 yards to wrap up the victory. The game was played in a relentless rain throughout its three-hour duration, but that didn't stop PLU quarterback Jordan Rasmussen from throwing for 313 yards and four touchdowns on 26-for-38 accuracy. His scoring aerials covered 36 yards to Greg Ford, 38 yards to Kyle Whitford, three yards to Isaac Moog and two yards to Aaron Blaska. The Lutes also scored four touchdowns on the ground. Alec Simmons, who finished with a game-high 162 yards on 15 carries, scored on a 36-yard run. Other rushing touchdowns came from Rasmussen from one yard, Va'a Logotala from one yard, and Cody Pohren from 15 yards. PLU finished the game with 580 yards of offense, including 267 on the ground, compared to 254 for the Boxers.
LEWIS & CLARK 34, PLU 32: Lewis & Clark College ended a couple decades of frustration on a sunny Saturday afternoon at Sparks Stadium, rallying from a 13-point halftime deficit to beat Pacific Lutheran, 34-32, in Northwest Conference football action. The surprising Pioneers, who just a couple of seasons ago were annual inhabitants of the Northwest Conference basement, improved their record to an unblemished 7-0, including a 4-0 record in the conference. Pacific Lutheran lost for the second straight week and is now 4-3 overall and 2-2 in the NWC. Lewis & Clark put an end to a 16-game losing streak to the Lutes that dated back to 1990, and it did so with an impressive offensive display in the second half. After managing just 82 total yards through the game's first 30 minutes, the Pioneers added 282 yards in the second half to finish the game with 364 yards. Of their six second half possession, not including a kneel down to end the game, the Pioneers scored on four of them. A lot of that second half yardage came via the ground game as quarterback Keith Welch and tailback Joevonte Mayes sliced through the PLU defense. Mayes gained 97 of his 116 net yards in the second half, while Welch ended up with 48 on 20 carries, though he had to recover from a negative nine rushing yards in a first half in which he was bottled up by the PLU defense. Welch also was effective throwing the ball in the final half with 103 yards and he finished with 168 yards on 15-for-31 accuracy with one touchdown and two interceptions. The game started like many in the series between the programs as the Lutes scored on their first two possessions. They took the opening kickoff and drove 65 yards on five plays with Zack Halverson hitting Dalton Ritchey on a 41-yard scoring pass. Ritchey did most of the work, taking a short pass and breaking several tackles on his way to the end zone. PLU scored in a hurry on its next possession when Alex McDiarmid got behind the defense and Halverson found him for a 68-yard score. Lewis & Clark made some noise in the second quarter, going 66 yards on 13 plays before Curtis Shirey swept the left end and tiptoed down the sideline from nine yards out. the Lutes got the score right back, however, going 60 yards on 11 plays before Halverson and Ritchey connected for the second time, this one from seven yards. The missed extra point kick made the score 20-7 at the half, but not many in the stands would have seen coming what was to transpire in the final 30 minutes. The teams traded touchdowns in the third period, L&C scoring on a 24-yard pass from Welch to Shawn Evans to cap a 60-play drive, while PLU scored on Daniel Herr's 11-yard sweep to cap a 69-yard drive. Entering the final period, the Lutes were on top 26-14 and seemed well on the way to their 17th straight win in the series. The Pioneers responded with three touchdowns in the final quarter, starting with Welch's 15-yard pass to Andrew Frisina at the end of a 12-play, 83-yard drive. The PAT made it 26-21 in favor of the Lutes. Lewis & Clark took the lead with 7:32 remaining on a 5-yard Mayes run that capped a 53-yard drive set up when the Pios held the Lutes on downs. The two-point pass attempt failed, but the Pios had their first lead of the game at 27-26. Needing a score to regain the lead, the Lutes instead gave the ball away at their own 37-yard line when a fake punt was easily sniffed out. The Pioneers made the most of that opportunity when Shirey scored his second rushing touchdown, this time from 10 yards, giving the visitors a 34-26 advantage with 1:49 remaining. The Lutes had one last chance to tie it, and Herr's 33-yard kickoff return to the L&C 48-yard line set them up in good position. Halverson completed five straight passes to move the ball to the L&C two-yard line. After three incompletions and facing fourth down, Halverson connected with Kyle Warner for the touchdown with 30.4 seconds left. Halverson's two-point pass attempt to Jon Zeglin was batted away, however, keeping L&C on top 34-32. Pacific Lutheran's attempt at an onside kick was grabbed by Chris Kelly, who returned the ball to the PLU 21-yard line, and the Pios ended the game with Welch's kneel down. The Lutes actually finished with a 435-364 advantage in total yards, with 364 of those yards coming through the air. Halverson was 26-for-39 with four touchdowns and one interception. Ritchey, formerly a back-up quarterback recently converted to wide receiver, had seven catches for 104 yards and two scores to lead the Lutes. PLU managed just 71 net rushing yards on 29 carries. Angus Blair had eight tackles and forced a fumble for the Pioneers, while PLU linebacker Steven McDonald led all players with 10 tackles, two quarterback sacks totaling 19 yards. Adam Schwander had nine tackles and PLU's other sack.