Linfield Wildcats

November 14, 2015
Unbeaten and playoff bound!
Final Statistics
PUYALLUP, Wash. – Kennedy Johnson returned two punts for touchdowns, Spencer Payne rushed for 105 yards and second-ranked Linfield completed an unbeaten regular season with a 38-10 Northwest Conference victory over Pacific Lutheran Saturday at Sparks Stadium.
Linfield (9-0, 7-0 NWC) sewed up outright possession of its seventh straight NWC title. Having already secured the NWC's automatic berth to the NCAA Division III playoffs, the Wildcats await Sunday's 3 p.m. PST announcement of the full 32-team playoff field on
Nearly all the scoring Saturday occurred in the first half, save for a 41-yard fourth-quarter field goal by Michael Metter. With a steady rain falling throughout the contest, conditions were less than optimum for offensive production.
Led by the all-around play of linebackers Jason Farlow and Mitchell Kekel and linemen Alex Hoff and Ty Farber, Linfield's defense contaied PLU to a single touchdown and a field goal. All four Wildcats were credited with five tackles as PLU turned the ball over five times and produced 253 yards for the day.
For its own part, Linfield was far from perfect offensively, surrendering two sacks and a pair of interceptions. Battling the weather as much as the Lutes, quarterback Sam Riddle did throw two touchdown passes, ran for 16 yards and a TD, and guided the Wildcats to major scores on three of their first four offensive possessions.
The Lutes went three-and-out on their first offensive series and Johnson returned the ensuing punt 58 yards for the game's first touchdown.
Kyle Chandler recovered Austen Kindle's fumble on the kickoff and seven plays later, the Wildcats added to their lead. Riddle carried the ball 15 yards to the end zone, pushing Linfield's advantage to 14-0 with 10:29 to play.
Another turnover led directly to Linfield's third touchdown in the half. Marc Gallant fumbled and the Wildcats recovered at the Linfield 45-yard line. Three plays later, Riddle connected with Zach Kuzens for a 26-yard touchdown. The extra point by Metter made the score 21-0.
The Lutes used trickery to notch their first points. What began as quarterback Walker LaVoy's backward lateral to receiver Ben Welch ended with a 30-yard scoring strike to D.J. Winter. That sliced the margin to 21-7 with 4:27 left in the opening period.
Riddle worked free for a 30-yard touchdown toss to Eric Igbinoba with the first play of the second quarter. The Lutes later advanced to the Linfield 24 before settling for Dallan Rodriguez's 41-yard field field goal with 6:41 remaining before intermission. It was Rodriguez's longest conversion of the season.
With his team needing a big play to take back the momentum, Johnson corralled Anthony Louthan's punt and snaked 53 yards through a bevy of would-be tacklers for his second special teams touchdown of the day with 1:24 left in the second quarter.
Payne gained 49 of his 105 yards in the first half. Riddle completed 11 passes in the first half, two for touchdowns. The junior ended the day 13 for 23 for 159 yards.
With the rain picking up intensity following intermission, the third quarter was scoreless.
Metter rounded out the scoring with a 41-yarder at the 9:41 mark of the fourth quarter. The Lutes' deepest penetration of the second half reached the Linfield 11 but ended without any points when LaVoy's pass on fourth down sailed incomplete.
Making just his second career start, LaVoy completed the day with 86 passing yards, one interception and no touchdowns. Winter had three catches for 50 yards and scored PLU's long TD.
Igbinoba, Kuzens and Payne all had three catches as Linfield totaled a balanced 339 yards, 169 rushing and 170 passing.
Johnson added 111 yards on four punt returns, second-most on Linfield's single-game list behind the 129 punt return yards generated by Amancio Agcaoili against Southern Oregon in 1995.
‘CAT SCRATCH: Linfield players were adorned in green-colored athletic tape in remembrance of fallen teammate Parker Moore, who was killed one year ago this weekend. . . Moore was from nearby Woodinville High School, whose colors are green and blue. . . Linfield secured its 24th undefeated regular season, 19 of which were perfect no-loss, no-tie campaigns. . . since 2000, Linfield has achieved 10 perfect regular season records and 10 perfect NWC seasons.. . Linfield beat PLU for the 16th straight time and the Wildcats are now 18-13-3 at PLU's various home fields. . . In games played on a November 14, Linfield has a record of 8-4. The first was in 1896, a 56-0 loss to Pacific College (now George Fox) in McMinnville; the most recent was in 2009, a 62-44 win over Pacific Lutheran in McMinnville. That's the only previous meeting between Linfield and PLU on a November 14.
Action Image
Eric Igbinoba
Second-quarter TD
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Linfield College
McMinnville, OR 97128
Phone: 503-883-2439