Written by Student Assistant Christian Bond
PUYALLUP, Wash. - Big plays ruled the day on Saturday for the Pacific Lutheran University football team but it wasn't enough to claim the victory on Homecoming, falling 45-41 to Whitworth University after the Pirates scored the final 21 points at Sparks Stadium.
The PLU (3-2, 2-1 Northwest Conference) offense put up huge numbers on Saturday. The Lutes had 427 yards of total offense, passing for 250 yards while running for 177 yards.
"We talk about our offense being a big play offense," Head Coach Scott Westering said. "We get our guys to believe that just a basic play could be a big play. You never know when they are going to happen. It's keeping guys competitive, and razor sharp mentally to know that this may be the play."
The big plays started on the first drive of the game when the Lutes converted a fourth and 19. Jon Schaub connected with Beau Lockmer for a 20 yard pass, to keep the drive alive. Schaub capped the drive by scoring on a five yard run. The big plays continued when Kellen Westering had a 70-yard touchdown reception from Schaub.
Cole Chandler had another great day on the ground for PLU. Chandler scored two rushing touchdowns. The second was a 31-yard scramble, through defenders, down the near sideline for a touchdown. That score put the Lutes up 35-21.
Big plays aren't reserved for the PLU offense. PLU forced Whitworth (5-1, 3-0 NWC) to a fourth down late in the third quarter. Wyatt Shelley and Tanner Perry converged on Pirate quarterback Ian Kolste, bringing him to the ground on a sack. Defensive back Carson Ketter picked off Kolste going 93 yards for a touchdown. Ketter's touchdown put the Lutes up 41-24 early in the fourth quarter. Ketter led the Lutes with 16 tackles.
"It was fun," Ketter said. "We've been giving Travis McMillion a hard time for stealing all the balls. It's cool that I got one to come my way this time."
Whitworth stormed back in the fourth quarter, scoring 21 unanswered points to win the game. Duke DeGaetano scored the game winning touchdown on a 10-yard run with 41 seconds left in the game.
Schaub finished 10-for-12 with 151 yards while Chandler was eight-for-12 for 99 yards and a score while adding 69 yards and two scores on the ground. Kellen Westering caught eight balls, racking up 143 yards and two touchdowns.
"I don't feel any differently," Scott Westering said. "Or love these guys any differently now than I did four hours ago. We are striving for excellence, and we got four more weeks, and however many after to do that."
The Lutes hit the road next Saturday, facing George Fox University at 1 p.m.