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September 15, 2012

First Half Lead Carries Lutes Past Redlands, 28-14

REDLANDS - Dalton Ritchey passed for 285 yards and two touchdowns and Erik Hoium scored on an interception return as Pacific Lutheran beat Redlands, 28-14, in a non-conference football game played on a warm Saturday night at Ted Runner Stadium.

The victory over the Bulldogs, ranked No. 25 in this week's d3football.com national poll, improves PLU's season record to 1-1. Both of those games have been played against nationally ranked opponents - last week the Lutes lost their season opener, 37-23, to then 11th-ranked Cal Lutheran. With the loss, Redlands falls to 0-2 this season.

The Lutes not only overcame the Bulldogs, they also had a winning effort against hot temperatures, which were in the 100-degree range earlier in the day. "We expected it," Hoium said. "It wasn't anything we weren't prepared for."

Ritchey, a sophomore from Onalaska making just his second collegiate start at quarterback, was 21-for-31 for 285 yards, including an outstanding 15-for-19 for 190 yards in the opening half.

PLU's Jonny Volland ended a long game-opening Redlands drive with an interception at the 1-yard line, his third pick of an opposing aerial this season, and the momentum shifted to the the Lutes. With 29 seconds remaining in the first period and a following Mychael Tuiasosopo's fumble recovery at the Redlands 26-yard line, Lutes junior running back Brandon James took a pitch from Ritchey 18 yards for the first score of the game.

Less than a minute later, in fact on the opening play of the second quarter, Hoium stepped in front of a swing pass from Will King and returned the interception 44 yards for a score, giving the visitors a 14-0 advantage. "It's one of those scheme things where I was in the right spot at the right time," Hoium said.

PLU added one more score in the second quarter, capping a 77-yard, three-play drive on Ritchey's 31-yard pass to Kyle Warner. Ritcey hit Kellen Westering with a 46-yard gain to start the drive.

Redlands got on the board with 5:29 left in the third quarter as Brad Crisanty scored on a 2-yard run. Crisanty, who compiled 77 rushing yards in the opening two quarters, was limited to just six in the final half. He finished the game with 83 yards on 22 carries.

Leading 21-7 midway through the fourth quarter, the Lutes put together a solid 50-yard, 10-play drive to score on an 11-yard pass from Ritchey to tight end Lucas Sontra.

The Bulldogs finished the scoring with 47 seconds remaining on a 15-yard touchdown pass that capped an 86-yard, seven-play drive.

Pacific Lutheran finished the game with 484 yards of total offense compared to just 288 for Redlands. The Lutes had 291 yards through the air led by Ritchey, whose favorite targets were Kellen Westering with seven catches for 92 yards, Warner with four catches for 58 yards and a score, and Sontra with four receptions for 55 yards and a score. Brandon James picked up 119 rushing yards on 16 carries as the Lutes finished the game with 193 yards on the ground.

Defensively, linebacker Dalton Darmody led the way with 10 tackles, including a tackle for loss. Tuiasosopo had seven tackles and a fumble recovery and Branden Tipton had a quarterback sack among his six tackles. The PLU defense had four takeaways, two interceptions and two fumble recoveries.

The Lutes take next Saturday off, and then open Northwest Conference action on Saturday, Sept. 29, when they host defending NWC champion Linfield at Sparks Stadium. Kickoff is slated for 12:30 p.m. in front of a PLU Homecoming crowd.

- PLU -

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