Written by Student Assistant Christian Bond
MCMINNVILLE, Ore. – It was a one possession game until two late fourth quarter touchdowns helped seventh-ranked Linfield College pull away from Pacific Lutheran University, earning the 27-10 victory on Saturday in a Northwest Conference football clash at Maxwell Field.
PLU (5-4, 4-3 NWC) led by 10 for nearly the entire first half of Saturday's game. The Lutes got on the board when Ben Welch caught a seven yard pass from Jon Schaub on the opening possession. Early in the second quarter, Dallan Rodriguez hit a 22-yard field goal. Linfield scored a touchdown with 46 seconds left in the half as the Lutes owned a three-point lead at halftime.
"As is typical in a lot of close football games, just a few plays made the difference. Losing Darin Hardgrove early really affected our offense for the day," Head Coach Scott Westering said.
Linfield (8-1, 7-0 NWC) averaged 41.9 points per game on the season. PLU held the Wildcats to 27 points, with just three touchdowns, their lowest scoring output of the season. The defensive effort was led by Cooper Murphy and Carson Ketter. Murphy finished the day with 10 tackles while Ketter had nine tackles and a pair of interceptions against the Wildcats. His first happened in the second quarter, returning the ball 38 yards. His second came with 8:05 left in third quarter.
Derek Chase was another defensive standout for the Lutes. Chase had nine tackles. Travis McMillion had seven tackles, including a sack for a loss of 13 yards. Isaiah Watkins had six tackles while Tanner Perry and Parker Smith each had four.
"I was extremely proud of the way our guys competed today," Westering said.
The team finishes with a 5-4 overall record, securing the seventh winning season of coach Scott Westering's career.
"Overall our kids really competed well against one of the top teams in the country," Westering said. "I'm very proud of that."