Written by Student Assistant Christian Bond
TACOMA, Wash. – It's taken a few games, but Cole Chandler is adjusting to the Pacific Lutheran University football team's two quarterback system.
Jon Schaub and Cole Chandler have been splitting time at quarterback for the Lutes (3-1, 2-0 Northwest Conference) this season. Chandler's a duel threat, being able to both pass and run the ball effectively. Chandler struggled early, completing just one of four pass attempts while rushing for just six yards on six carries against California Lutheran University.
"It's definitely a different dynamic to get used to," Chandler said. "It's kind of hard to get into a rhythm. The encouragement I've gotten from the guys, the talk in the huddle, the talk with Jon. It took me a while to adjust to, but its fine now."
The Oregon native has continued to improve from game one. Against Trinity University, Chandler completed 12 of 15 pass attempts, throwing for 139 yards. Chandler also scampered for 30 yards.
Chandler put it all together against Willamette University last Saturday. The sophomore quarterback scored three touchdowns, completing 66.7 percent of his passing attempts. Chandler carried the ball 12 times for 76 yards and two touchdowns in PLU's 30-10 victory to remain undefeated in NWC play.
As a team, the Lutes are averaging 315.5 total yards of offense. PLU is passing for 161.5 yards per game, and rushing for 154 yards per game. The balanced attack has the Lutes 3-1 overall, and a perfect 2-0 in conference play.
"I think it comes from that dynamic," Chandler said. "Jon's sitting back there making his reads and doing really well with that. The run game has kind of sparked. Marc (Gallant) and Darin (Hardgrove) are taking chunks out of the defense. Having that look in the run game opens up the pass for Jon and I. It makes it nice and easy on offense."
Whitworth University visits Sparks Stadium this Saturday at 1 p.m. The Pirates have yet to lose on the road, entering Saturday's game 4-1 overall and a perfect 2-0 in the NWC. Whitworth features a high powered offense, averaging 48.2 points per game.
Quarterback Ian Kostle leads the Northwest Conference averaging 397 passing yards per game. Kostle has thrown for 1,985 yards this season with 14 touchdowns. Running back Duke DeGaetano compliments Kostle well, leading the conference with 11 rushing touchdowns.
The Pirates offense will be tested; facing a PLU defense has been the best in the conference. The Lutes are allowing just 12.3 points per game, giving up just 181 passing yards per game while allowing 142.3 yards per game on the ground.
PLU and Whitworth are scheduled for 1 p.m. kickoff at Sparks Stadium in Puyallup in the 72nd all-time meeting between the two clubs. The Lutes own a 51-20 edge in the series, winning five of the last six meetings.