Friday, November 30, 2012

Around The 'CatdomeO'sphere

Pack the 'Catdome!
Boom!  We've rolled around the internet and gathered together all of the links I could find to bring you all the Linfield/Oshkosh news to get you ramped up for tomorrow's regional showdown.  The forecast tomorrow is showing around 50 degrees at kickoff (noon) with a mix of possible showers and clouds. Who really knows as our weather in the PNW has a tendency to turn on a dime.  Could be raining sideways or the clouds could part for 3 hours tomorrow.  Either way, two great teams will be playing for the right to move into the final four and it should be an outstanding contest.  So dig in to a monster heaping of news links, features, videos, and more.  Go 'Cats!

Oregonlive.com: Sons Follow fathers to the path toward Linfield

Newsregister.com: The circus comes to Maxwell Field this weekend.

Newsregister.com: Linfield vs North Central Game Day Blog

D3football.com's Daily Dose (blog): Triple Take: Regional Score Picks and analysis

Wildcatville.blogspot.com: North Central at Linfield slide & video show

Wildcatville.blogspot.com: Wildcatville lets you know where he likes to grub before a game

Newsregister.com: 'Cats turn to the beef in short yardage situations.

Portland Tribune: Inns moves into uncharted water

wiacfootball.blogspot.com: UWO's 3rd round matchup: Linfield College

Oregonlive.com: 'Cats roll vs North Central

Madison.com: Titans rally to blow out Bethel

D3football.com: Inside the "D" at UWO

thenorthwestern.com: Titans head west for tough playoff test

fox11online.com (w/ video): UWO ready for 3rd ranked Linfield

fox11online.com (w/ video): UWO gets going and bounces the Royals

uwosh YouTube Page: Novemeber 27th's Titan Tuesday (coach/player interviews)

WildcatSpread40.blogspot.com: 'Cats dump Cards 30-14

WildcatSpread40.blogspot.com: What WCS40 learned about Linfield after NC game

WildcatSpread40.blogspot.com: WCS40's Linfield vs Oshkosh preview

advancetitan.com: Titans gives Bethel the blues. 

d3football.com's YouTube Page: Oshkosh/Bethel post-game interviews

BethelRoyals' YouTube Page: Bethel's short highlights vs Oshkosh

NCAA.com: 'Cats force 7 turnovers to down North Central

Newsregister.com: Wildcats run away from North Central

uwosh.edu: Football legacy: Undefeated Titans led by OWU grads

PortlandTribune/Gresham Outlook: Linfield have no trouble against North Central

Daveball.exposuremanager.com: Linfield vs North Central Photo Gallery

d3fooball.com: 'Cats happy to still be here

D3football.com's Daily Dose (blog): Around The Nation Podcast on the 2nd round

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Regional Finals Preview: Linfield (11-0) vs UW-Oshkosh (12-0)


This is stating the obvious but Linfield is playing a huge football game this weekend at the ‘Catdome. Regional Finals/National Quarterfinals/Elite 8…whatever you want to call it, it’s playoff football in December and that should warm the heart of any fan with a team left in the playoffs. Coming out to the ‘Catdome on Saturday is the champion of the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC), University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. The WIAC is widely considered the home of the top football conference in Division III for not only their top end teams but the overall quality of the conference. I won’t argue with the claim because I agree that the WIAC is a heck of a conference. As anyone who follows the division knows that conference and Division III has been dominated by UW-Whitewater over the past seasons. UWW was coming off their 3rd consecutive NCAA Division III National Championship and looked to continue that run in 2012. But a funny thing happened this season. UWW came back to the pack and UW-Oshkosh started making waves in the WIAC and on the national scene.

The seminal moment for UWO came in back-to-back weeks in mid-October as the Titans knocked off a top-15 UW-Platteville and then planted their flag as the WIAC top dog in knocking off Whitewater 28-13 and doing so on the road. At that point, the D3football.com top 25 voters launched UWO to a well-earned number 5 ranking in the D3football.com Top 25 and the Titans haven’t looked back. This is new ground for Oshkosh as this is their first appearance in the NCAA playoffs, first time advancing to a regional finals, and first time getting on a plane for a trip of this magnitude. But I don’t think any of those things are going to affect Oshkosh this weekend. They’re a very good football team that has all the tools to win a National Championship and I’m not expected any of these “firsts” to have an impact on their performance this weekend. The ‘Cats are going to have their hands full with Oshkosh’s balanced offense lead by their Gagliardi Trophy finalist quarterback, Nate Wara, and a big and athletic defense that yields very little rush yards and can pressure the heck out of a quarterback. With that said, what else would you expect at this point in the season? There are only 8 teams in the country left standing so everybody is a darn good football team.

Linfield would be one of those darn good football teams too. The ‘Cats had a great 2nd round victory over a tough North Central team (30-14) that has moved this program back to another regional final. I thought Linfield played smart but attacking football last weekend that forced NCC into positions they didn’t feel comfortable in and it paid huge dividends. That is the type of football the ‘Cats are going to have to continue to play if this team wishes to advance past this weekend against their stiffest test yet. Oshkosh is going to challenge Linfield across the board with UWO’s multiple formation rushing attack that can also light you up for big passing plays. The ‘Cats offense is going to be needed to have another day of precision passing and I believe the ‘Cats will need something out of the running game in order to keep Oshkosh’s blitzing game in check. It’s going to have to be a team win with all three phases executing at a high level over the duration of the game.

Get To Know A Wildcat

#7 Josh Kay, Senior, Kicker

Favorite Place in Mac to Eat: Los Molcajetes no doubt!

Favorite Movie: Definitely The Goonies!

Favorite Music: Anything with a good beat I can jive to...

Favorite TV Show: I don't even own a TV, but Domo and I have been enjoying Law & Order SVU on rare occasions.

Favorite Pro Football team: San Diego Chargers

Class I Most Look Forward to: Top Level Management Leadership

Mac or PC: Mac

Cpu Homepage: Linfield Mail, gotta stay on-top of things!

What do you use more, Smart Phone or CPU: iphone

Twitter or Facebook: Twitter to express all of my whims. Facebook to stay connected!

Car or Truck: Jeep baby!

Xbox, PS3, or WII: I don't play video games, no time for that!

Favorite Coach Haze Saying: "Just kick it Kay"

You're a good golfer, what's the best course you've played on: Arnold Palmer Private down at PGA West in Palm Springs

If you hang out with the Linfield kickers for a week, what would we learn: We take our business real real seriously!

Do you have a hidden talent that folks would be surprised by: I can sing!

Your Favorite Part About Playing at Linfield is: The Family!

Post Linfield aspirations: To continue to play football if I have the opportunity. Then get to working for the company I'm currently interning for.

Wildcat11’s Keys To Victory:

Be in the moment: Saturday is why the young men on this team came to Linfield. This team needs to enjoy the experience of playing December playoff football. Linfield football talks often about being in the moment and not wrapped up in the pressure of the game or the consequences of the results. This is a great group of guys that has worked side-by-side with for weeks, months, and years. Linfield needs to go out and play to the best of their ability, focus on their jobs, have a blast doing it, and we’ll see where Linfield is at when the clock strikes 00:00.

Limit the UWO ground game: UWO has a fantastic balanced offense but this offense will go where their rushing game goes (605 rush attempts, 3,159 rush yards, 263.2 rush yards per game, 5.2 avg per rush, and 34 rush touchdowns). Linfield’s defense is going to see lots of formats (pistol, wing T, no back, two back, etc). The ‘Cats defense has to be stellar in making sure they’re lined up correctly, sharp on assignments, be physical at the point of attack, and be great tacklers. If Linfield can do these things I’m looking for the ‘Cats to cause UWO’s offense some problems.

Great day in pass protection: It’s no secret that the ‘Cats are going to lean on the passing game to carry the offense. Oshkosh might just try to rush 3 or 4 defenders or they could try to create turnovers and bring the house at Mickey all game long. The offense line and running backs are going to have a big challenge but this group has been excellent in pass protection during the year and I'm betting they can get it done on Saturday.

Don’t give up the big passing plays: I’ve already mentioned that UWO’s QB, Nata Wara, is a stud but the Titans have a number of big offensive weapons. Much is made about the Titans run game but where they can kill you is hitting the big pass plays from anywhere on the field. Wara has some excellent targets to choose from (Voss – 1,107 yards and 12 TD’s & Kasuboski – 574 yards and 4 TD’s) and our defensive backs are going to have to make plays on the football when the Titans go for the big strike.

Great Special Teams: Linfield’s kickers have been red hot this post-season and that trend will need to continue. The ‘Cats coverage units are also going to be needed to help Linfield win the field position game.

Pressure: Wara has only been sacked 16 times over 13 games so the challenge is going to be large for the NCAA leader in sacks to get pressure on the Titan gunslinger. Not only is Wara an accurate QB (195 out of 302 attempts, 64.6%) but he’s allusive. Not only will the ‘Cats need to get pressure on Wara, Linfield is going to use great technique in making sure they can get Wara down when the opportunities present themselves.

Play smart, yet aggressive: Linfield has walked that fine line all season long between being physically aggressive, yet not out of control. Any champion out of the WIAC is going to be a physical group and Linfield will need to match that aggression but be good decision makers. The ‘Cats need to be a smart football team in how they take care of the football and Linfield goes about laying the wood to people (no drive extending penalties).

Make Oshkosh honor the run: I’m not asking the ‘Cats to go 50/50 with the offense but I think the ‘Cats will need to pick their spots in hurt Oshkosh with a running game. If Linfield can get the running track going it’s going to make the ‘Cats passing game so much more dangerous.

Overall

‘Cats by 3. Oshkosh is good. Really good. In looking at the different aspects of their team they have no weaknesses and will be the best team the ‘Cats have faced to date. Linfield doesn’t have to be perfect in order to win but the ‘Cats will need to be sharp and execute at a high level for the full duration of the game in order to move on once again. I love what this Linfield team has been about this season and know if they play up to their potential that they’re going to find a way to win this ballgame. Do whatever you can to make it to the game and back the ‘Cats!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Game Day Guide: Linfield vs UW-Oshkosh


Linfield Football in December and in the 'Catdome?  You bet!  The students are back, no more D1 football till the end of December, and a decent weather report should all be factors into a nice crowd at the 'Catdome this weekend for the regional finals.  I'll try to get my game preview up tomorrow.  I'm slammed at work so it's been hard to punch it out.

For those students that might be reading the blog it looks like the the Associated Students of Linfield College (ASLC) will make 200 free tickets available to students.  This is according to the twitter feed of one Nic Miles.  So if Nic is pulling a fast one then he's the one to drag through the streets, not me.  

For those that haven't been back to the 'Catdome in sometime, Oshkosh fans, or just people that are going to come check out the action, I have a link below that lays out where the best spot is to tailgate.  Linfield fans have a great reputation for being welcoming to tailgaters no matter your allegiance.  So don't worry about mixing in among the 'Cat faithful.  I also give you some of my favorite places around Mac and if you're getting in on Friday and are looking for things to kill some time.  Go 'Cats!

NCAA: Division III Selection Show

D3football.com's Daily Dose: Around the Nation Podcast (Round 2 Discussion)

D3football.com: 2012 Brackets

Linfield Sports: Ticket Purchase Breakdown

Gameday Weather Forecast: Cloudy, Rain Possible, Breezy (High of 52)

Linfield Tailgate Location

Pre-Game Time Killers:
McMinnville's Public Market (opens at 10am) -WC11/Mrs. 11 Highly Recommend
Evergreen Space/Aviation Museum and Waterpark
McMinnville's 3rd Street District

In town Friday night with nothing to do?
Spirit Mountain Casino (25 minutes outside of Mac)
Moonlight Theater - (food/wine/beer and a movie)
Rooftop Bar at Hotel Oregon
La Rambla Restaurant & Bar
The Old Oak (Bar)


Breakfast:
Community Plate (Locally grown food)
Tommy's
Wild Wood Cafe
Jake's Deli

Coffee Suggestions:
Best Coffee Shop: Union Block
Best Drive Up - Leann's Lattes or Java Express

Post Game Dinner:
Golden Valley Brew Pub
Mazatlan (Mexican)
Nick's Italian Cafe
3rd Street Pizza
Geraldi's
Antonio's (Lafayette)
Public Market's "Aftermarket" (live music, food, beer, wine)

Best Dive Bar:
The Deluxe (Best Burger in Town)

Monday, November 26, 2012

Our play of the week Nominations! Week 13







Here is our nominations to D3football.com's play of the week as both sides of the ball delivered huge plays in the 'Cats 30-14 2nd round playoff victory over North Central Cardinals. The first is linebacker Dom Forrest's 73 yard pick 6 on a 4th and 2 when NCC was driving deep in Linfield territory. A huge swing in momentum and another big play in a list of many by the Northwest Conference Defensive Player of the Year. The second was a great football play. With Linfield up 17-0 in the 3rd quarter, Mickey Inns was able to get himself out of big trouble, keep his eyes downfield and find receiver Lucas Jepson who showed great awareness in getting behind the NCC defense. Great pitch and catch for a key TD strike.

Below is a list of previous finalists from the 2012 season.

Week 12: Brian Dundas huge 4th sack vs Pacific Lutheran

Week 9: Colin Forman punt block for touchdown

Week 7: Deidre Wiersma tightrope TD run after catch.

Week 5: John Shaffer's balancing act/cutback that put the dagger in PLU

Week 3: Josh Kay's game winning field goal vs CLU

Week 2: Mike Nardoni lighting up HSU's quarterback like a christmas tree

‘Cats Win!!! Linfield turns over cards and hits a full house in 30-14 win over North Central.


Bam! Wow, what a great day at the ‘Catdome on Saturday. North Central was a tough and talented team but Linfield was flat better this past Saturday. Coming into the game the ‘Cats and their fanbase had some concerns and questions about if this Linfield team was up for the challenge in taking on a team that just put a whipping on a California Lutheran squad that had played Linfield close the past two seasons. Compounding those thoughts was the ‘Cats tough 1st round game vs Pacific Lutheran where the ‘Cats offense was limited and had to turn back a huge PLU run in the 2nd half. Folks around the nation might have been thinking Linfield was vulnerable. I didn’t buy it.

Not only is Pacific Lutheran a good team but their coaching staff and players knew the ‘Cats better than anyone in the field of 32 teams. Linfield had their hands full earlier in the season when the ‘Cats beat the Lutes up at Sparks and Coach Smith and the staff knew beating PLU twice in one season was going to be a tough road to travel. Was Linfield happy with their performance in round one? No. However, they won and moved on and that’s all they wanted to do. This weekend was more reflective of what I was expecting the Wildcats to look like this playoff run. The staff turned Mickey Inns and the passing game loose, the Wildcat defense continued make plays, and the Linfield kicking game continued to shine. Linfield limited their mistakes while taking advantage of North Central’s. Add that all up and you had a quality playoff victory over a champion of a well-regarded Division III conference.

North Central came to the ‘Catdome just as I was expecting them to be. They had some good size, athletes all over the field, a tremendous running back (best I’ve seen since Linfield played Whitewater and Coppage in 2009), and solid special teams. NCC has all the pieces in place to be a serious Stagg Bowl contender. However, they met a Linfield team that was sharp and played smart football. As I’ve written all year long when Linfield doesn’t hurt themselves and execute at a high level, the ‘Cats are awfully tough to beat. North Central found that out the hard way. Right after the game, a lot of people pointed out the unforced turnovers by North Central as why they might have lost that game. True, NCC did put the ball on the ground with some bad exchanges but it appears that’s been a problem for NCC all season long. If you want to be truly elite you have to find ways to minimize your weaknesses during the playoffs. Linfield did that this past Saturday and North Central didn’t. As for the five interceptions, that was due to a mixture of the sheer amount of pressure Linfield’s defense front put on North Central’s QB and our defensive backs and linebackers flat making plays on the football. Linfield “only” had three sacks but North Central wanted nothing to do with dropping back deep in the pocket. You could sense the NCC quarterback feeling the pocket dissolve around him time and again. That was a big factor in Linfield’s defense making plays on the ball.

This is the 6th time since 2002 that the ‘Cats has advanced to a regional finals and will be the fifth time the ‘Catdome has hosted the regional (2002, 2004, 2005, 2009, 2012). As a fan, I’m so thankful to get to experience this once again. It’s a magical time to be a fan of one of the last eight teams left. Everyone is a damn good football team at this point. There are no pretenders but only contenders. That alone should get you fired up for the opportunity to take part in what should be a tremendous game against a highly skilled and talent Wisconsin-Oshkosh team out of the WIAC. The Thanksgiving break and Civil War have played havoc with the attendance the past two weeks (as it does across the entire Division III field) but now is the time to experience playoff football in December. Beg, barrow, or steal (ok…don’t steal) the extra $12 to get out to the game this weekend and get loud. It should be a great atmosphere and well worth the price of admission. Go ‘Cats!

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

The Good:

Playing Linfield Football: Coach Hazenberg nailed it after the game when he said this team was emotionally spent after Saturday.  After the PLU game that feeling wasn't the same.  Being emotionally spent a good thing. That means this team went out and left it all on the field and didn’t hold back or tried to save anything for the next week. That’s what you have to do at this stage in the playoffs because the level of difficulty keeps increasing. The ‘Cats expended all of their energy and emotions they had and let the score settle itself. It was a great day of Linfield football.

The Passing Game: The Linfield passing game was fantastic. North Central had a stand-out secondary but the ‘Cats attacked them from the first possession and had an effective day throwing the ball. Mickey Inns completed 24 of 39 passes for 305 yards and 2 touchdowns. I thought the ‘Cats wide receivers were fantastic in adjusting to the game and finding the soft spots in the Cardinal defense. Inns did get sacked 4 times but for the most part didn’t get hit very much as the offensive line and running backs created a solid pocket for Mickey to deliver. A damn good day for the ‘Cats passing attack.

Defensive Pressure: The ‘Cats were below their typical 5-6 sacks (had 3) but the amount of pressure they put on the NCC quarterback was substantial. Stanek took some crushing hits after delivering the ball and spent a good amount of time running for his life after his 1st option wasn’t available. You could feel Stanek not wanting to be in the pocket for very long and I can’t blame him. The pressure was huge.

Making plays on the football: If you were a former Linfield defensive back watching that game, you had to be swelling with pride. Being in my mid 30's I shouldn't be typing this but our defensive backs “balled out” this weekend. I’m not talking about only the picks but the ‘Cats secondary and linebackers challenged a good Cardinal receiving group on just about every ball put into the air. This was the group that had all the questions headed into season due to their lack of starting experience but they continue to get better as the season has progressed.

Kicking game once again: Kicker Josh Kay and Punter Josh Repp continue to shine this post-season. Josh Kay crushed a 44 yard field goal and had 4 touchbacks on his 6 kickoffs during the game. Kay has looked every bit of the Josh Kay of 2011 this post-season. Josh Repp has been huge for Linfield this season and has continued to be clutch over the past two weekends. Repp had a 43.9 yard average over 7 punts on Saturday and has been a key part in Linfield winning field position.

Playing Smart Football: Only 3 penalties and one turnover. I’ll take it! If Linfield continues to play a clean brand of football, it’s going to take an excellent effort to knock off this Wildcat team. The ‘Cats played a smart brand of football and made great decisions. I loved seeing that.

The Linfield Faithful that came out: It was Thanksgiving break (really for the past two games), the weather looked like it was going to be poor, and the Civil War (Oregon vs Oregon State) was also kicking off at noon. People had every reason to not come to the game this weekend but a great group of fans showed up at the ‘Catdome and was just as loud as if 4,000 fans were packed around Maxwell field. Even if the student base was non-existent, the fans that showed gave their all. Great work ‘Catdome family!

The Bad:

Allowing Kukuc to get loose: 25 attempts for 192 yards (7.7) average: I can’t be too upset over this. 1) Nate Kukuc is a hell of a football player. Guy has a great combination of toughness, agility, and speed. Props to him for making things happen for North Central. On the flipside, the ‘Cats defense still gave up 192 yards rushing to a single back. Linfield would hold Kukuc in check for a few plays and then he would bust a 25 yard gain. That seemed to happen the whole contest. The nature of North Central’s offense opened up some of those opportunities for big rushing chunks but I hope the ‘Cats defense will shore that up moving forward.

‘Cats Rushing Attack: Linfield didn’t put as much emphasis on the rushing game and the stats reflect that. Linfield only rushed for 69 gross yards (26 net) on the day. I’m not going to be too rough on the rushing game because Linfield put the saddle on the passing attack but at some point Linfield will need to be able to pick up some yards running the ball. I hope it will be there when we need it most.

Taking the foot off the gas when Linfield went up 30-0: I think Linfield learned a lesson on Saturday. When Linfield went up 30-0 late in the 3rd quarter the team got a little sloppy. A blown blocking assignment on the PAT team started it and you could feel Linfield go into “it’s in the bag” mode. The problem is you can’t do that against teams of this quality. The foot needs to be on the gas the whole game. You give any of these teams some room and they will surge.

The Ugly:

Seeing players get hurt: It’s not my place to disclose or talk about injury specifics so I’ll keep it generic. Football is a tough and violent game. Always has been and no matter how they legislate the game, there is risk whenever you step onto the field. With that said, it doesn’t make it any easier when you see players get severely hurt. Being around the team, you get to know the players and their families a little. It just makes your stomach go in a knot seeing a young man that’s worked so hard to lose their season. It happens on every team and every year but it never makes it easier. I wish nothing but great football and even better health for all eight teams that remain in these playoffs. Best of luck to all.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

North Central Post Game Interviews.



Yes! The 'Cats will be playing into December. That's always a great feeling! Total team victory yesterday in Linfield's 30-14 win over a tough North Central squad. I'll give you the full rundown tomorrow but here's a post game interview round up with DT Mike Maierhofer, OG Drew Wert, and LB Tyler Robitaille. Go 'Cats!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Game Day at the 'Catdome!


It's game day 'Catdome. You can watch the 'Cats here. It's looking like another soaker at the 'Catdome but at this point it should matter to you tough as a pine knot Wildcat fans. Forget the Civil War as those teams aren't playing for a shot at a national title. The Wildcats and Cardinals are. So grab the rain gear and get out to this game to pull for the 'Cats. KICKOFF IS AT NOON. Below is our game day twitter feed. If you're on twitter (you really should be) give your Linfield updates or shout outs by hashtagging the word "catdome". Looks like this: #catdome

Also, the unofficial hashtag of division 3 football is #d3fb so you can add that to your tweets or follow all the action in D3 by following that #d3fb hashtag. Let's go 'Cats!


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

2012 Playoff Round 2 Preview: Linfield (10-0) vs North Central (9-2)

I'm thankful for another weekend at the 'Catdome!
I can’t wait till Saturday. The ‘Cats have a monster game starting at noon on Saturday in the ‘Catdome against their toughest challenge of the 2012 season. Coming to the ‘Catdome is the 2012 co-champion of The College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin (CCIW), The North Central Cardinals out of Naperville, Ill. The Cardinals (9-2) is a North Region team that was shipped out into the Far West cluster of PLU, Linfield, and Cal Lutheran and made a huge splash in backhanding the Kingsmen 41-21 in a game that wasn’t as close as the score indicated. NCC used a massive rushing attack, big pass plays, and a swarming defense to end the Kingsmen post season in the 1st week for the 4th year in a row. Even with the ‘Cats in the middle of a tight game with PLU, you could hear a murmur roll through the ‘Catdome when that NCC/CLU score was announced. Based on NCC’s past seasons results, their reputation around the Division III universe, and what they did against a team that has played Linfield close, you have to know Linfield is going to have to play a complete game to advance.

While other 1 seeds in the playoff brackets were having glorified scrimmages against a lineup of weak conference auto-qualifiers the ‘Cats had to fight to the final minute of their game against a tough conference opponent that knows the ‘Cats better than anyone in the playoff field. It wasn’t the prettiest of Wildcat playoff victories but like I mentioned on Monday I could care less about style points. Just win and advance baby. That’s the beauty of the playoffs; each win is a new lease on life. A clean slate against the next worthy opponent to test your skill and see if you have the goods to take another step towards the ultimate prize in Division III. I’ve written about this all year long but when this Linfield team has breakdowns and sputters in one area of the game, they can be beaten. However, when the ‘Cats are on-point and clicking along there are only a few teams in the country that can reach that gear. This Saturday one of those teams is visiting the ‘Catdome.

This is what I’m looking forward to the most this weekend. There are more than whispers that Linfield is vulnerable this weekend against NCC. With the NCC/CLU results and that fact Linfield struggled with PLU, I can understand where that is coming from. I get it.   Linfield’s been a popular choice to do big things this season and I’m sensing a change in the tide of the Wildcat goodwill amongst those that follow closely. I’m looking forward to seeing how this Linfield team responses and if they can take their game to the next level against a hell of a North Central team. Forget the Civil War…get to the ‘Catdome!

Get To Know A Wildcat

#49 KeAlii Poomaihealani, Defensive End, Junior

Favorite Place in Mac to Eat: A three way tie between Wildwood, Sandwich Express, and Geraldi's

Favorite Movie: Big Denzel fan. Another three way tie between John Q, American Gangster, and Training day. He Got Game was a good one too.

Favorite Music: Mostly reggae. I been on my slow jams playlist recently though.

Favorite TV Show: Cartoon Network. Tom & Jerry, Looney Tunes, etc. 90's & early 2000's cartoons are way better then whats on cartoon network now though.

Favorite Pro Football team: Don't have a favorite team, but I like Detroit Lions D-Line with Fairley and Suh on the interior. Nastiest guys in the trenches in the past few years, in my opinion.

Class I Most Look Forward to: Tough one, I look forward to all of my classes but if I had to pick one it would be Philosophy East & West.

Mac or PC: Mac

Cpu Homepage: Linfield Email

What do you use more, Smart Phone or CPU: Iphone

Twitter or Facebook: Facebook. Recently thought about deleting myself from the social networking world. Call it virtual suicidal thoughts.

Car or Truck: Car

Xbox, PS3, or WII: Neither

Favorite Coach Vaughan Saying: "Like a bull in a china shop"

All the Linfield D-Line goes to Izzy's. Who's doing the most damage at the buffet: Hoffer. Maybe Mac.

Do you have a hidden talent that folks would be surprised by: I'd like to think im fairly artistic. Plus, I have a gnarly imagination.

Your Favorite Part About Playing at Linfield is: Winning.

Post Linfield aspirations: Haven't really thought that far. Safe to say I will spend a few years catching up on the beach life.

Wildcat11’s Keys To Victory

Team, Excellence, Attitude, Class for 4 quarters: As we established above beating North Central is going to be a program effort. A challenge like this is when Linfield needs to lean on the foundations of what makes Linfield football incredibly special. Trust in your teammates that they will do their job so you can do yours. Know that the training and preparation you’ve poured into the previous months and years will act as the vehicle to get to your desired results. Be ready to handle the adversity and keep believing when things are not going the ‘Cats way. Finally, play football the right way…the Linfield way.

Limit The NCC running attack: North Central is a great balanced offense. They run primary out of the shotgun and give you a ton of formational looks and personal groups you have to deal with. NCC is not solely a running team as they can throw the ball effectively and hit the big pass play. However, if Linfield’s defense is going to limit NCC, the ‘Cats have to slow down the Cardinal running attack. NCC has a number of guys that will carry the ball but their guy is Nick Kukuc (1,259 yards, 114 avg a game, 8.2 a carry, and 15 TDs). Also, don’t sleep on Jordan Tassio who carries the ball for 4.8 yards a carry and has 14 TDs on the year.

Balanced Offensive Attack: It’s paramount for the ‘Cats offense to attack the Cardinal with a balanced attack in order to move the ball and put some points on the board. That will be MUCH easier said than done. NCC’s defense has performed on the same level as their offense in only allowing 15.3 points per game (96.1 rush allowed/170.9 passing allowed). The NCC defense is big, skilled, and has a number of playmakers in the lineup. Linfield must be able get the running game going to help open up the ‘Cats downfield passing attack.

Limit big pass plays: While much as been made of the North Central run game you cannot overlook the fact they have the ability to hit the big pass play over the top with a host of receivers and backs hauling in Spencer Stanek passes (167 out of 262 attempts (63.7% completion rate) and 20 TDs to only 6 picks). The ‘Cats have to keep everything in front.

Offensive Line meets the challenge: North Central is featuring a 4-3 front that is physical and big up the middle (both starting DTs are 6’3” and over 270 lbs). The ‘Cats O-Line have a big challenge and are going to be key to Linfield’s success on Saturday. Moving people off the ball and keeping defenders off of Mickey are going to go a long way into if the ‘Cats offense is going to have the chance to get it done on the scoreboard.

Win on Special Teams: NCC has a strong kicking game and good returners. Special teams is an area Linfield has been excellent in over the past two season and Saturday might need to be the ‘Cats best effort yet in the 3rd phase of the game.

Mickey Inns and the receivers have a day: Mick and the receivers are facing a talented secondary in NCC but Linfield has the horses to have a productive Saturday. The offense is going to go as far as Inns and the Wildcat receivers take it. Big day for the passing attack.

Limit mistakes/ball security: Slot this in the obvious category. The ‘Cats need to play smart football and not make bad decisions with not only the football but in controllable penalties. Good technique and Good decision making.

Overall

‘Cats by 3. This is a monster game for both programs. If you couldn’t tell, I think North Central is a heck of a club but I know that this Linfield team has the goods to make it happen in the ‘Catdome and bring home the win. Linfield is going to have to be sharp from the moment they step between the lines until the game has expired. If the ‘Cats can limit the rushing attack and make some plays in the passing game the opportunity for the win will be there in the 4th quarter. I’m a believer and know this group of ‘Cats will get it done.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Our D3football.com play of the week nominations.



Here is our nominations to D3football.com's play of the week as Linfield linebackers delivered two big plays to help the 'Cats bring home a hard fought 27-24 win over PLU.  The first was Brian Dundas huge sack on PLU's last drive.  The sack on 2nd down kept the clock running and the Lutes (with no timeouts left) had no choice but to kill the clock on 3rd down.  PLU didn't convert the 4th and long as Linfield would capture the win.  The second play was Tyler Robitaille's pick six early in the 4th quarter that provided the Linfield with enough cushion for the 'Cats win.

Below is a list of previous finalists from the 2012 season.

Week 9: Colin Forman punt block for touchdown

Week 7: Deidre Wiersma tightrope TD run after catch.

Week 5: John Shaffer's balancing act/cutback that put the dagger in PLU

Week 3: Josh Kay's game winning field goal vs CLU

Week 2: Mike Nardoni lighting up HSU's quarterback like a christmas tree

Monday, November 19, 2012

‘Cats Win!!! Linfield finds a way in 27-24 1st round playoff win over PLU.

It was funny listening to scores during the game from the other 1 seed games around the country. Those other teams had a line-up of cupcakes and weak conference AQ’s to feast on.  The 'Cats? They had their hands full with a darn good PLU team. I knew this wasn't going to be a pasting or a blowout headed into Saturday. These two teams know each other too well and are too skilled to roll the other one out of the building. However, I knew that Linfield would figure it out and move on and that’s exactly what the ‘Cats did on Saturday. They found ways to force takeaways get enough out of the offense and make the plays they needed in the final moments to bring home a hard fought 27-24 game over PLU.

I’m not going to sugarcoat the fact that the offense didn’t have a great day. PLU’s defense did a commendable job in taking away the rushing game which led to a ton of 2nd and 3rd and long situations that frustrated and stymied the ‘Cats offense. But what GREAT teams do is when one aspect of the team is having a rough game the other side of the ball picks it up and carries the day. That’s what the Wildcat defense did on Saturday in making plays to help Linfield overcome PLU. There’s been games this season where it was the offense that pulled the Wildcat defense along in a hard fought win (at CLU, vs Hardin-Simmons) but this past Saturday it was the defense that hadn’t been a turnover forcing group that came up big with 5 of them. Tip of the cap to PLU for playing a heck of a ball game. Linfield might have beaten the ‘Lutes 12 times in-a-row (I had to throw that in there!) but that was the biggest nail biter in the string. The Lutes are going to be a team to be reckoned with in 2013.

The ‘Cats know they need to have a better complete effort next Saturday as a tough and explosive North Central College team will be invading the ‘Catdome. NCC blew the stinking doors off of California Lutheran (41-21) down in Thousand Oaks and that should tell you all you need to know about the quality of the opponent that our ‘Cats will see next weekend. With that said, I LOVE our chances to advance and keep playing. This Linfield team has a strong quality of rising up with people start doubting if they have the goods to meet the expectations. NCC is no joke but Linfield has the players, skill, and schemes to get it done. I’m looking forward to what should be a highly competitive playoff football game.

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

The Good

Winning and moving on: This time of the year the only thing that matters is winning and moving onto the next round. Linfield had to dig deep but the ‘Cats made enough plays to earn the win and move on to host a tough North Central College. There are aspects of this game that I know the ‘Cats will not be happy with and will do their best to address this next week but the bottom line is Linfield is only one of 16 teams left alive in the country playing for the ultimate DIII prize. Huge congrats to this team and program for continuing to be the standard in the Northwest Conference and out on the West Coast in Division III.

Forcing takeaways: There’s a difference between putting the ball on the turf on simple tackles and aggressively raking at the ball going for the strip. The Wildcats did the latter during the entire course of the game and it proved to be a key difference as the ‘Cats created opportunities in three forced fumbles and also had two critical interceptions that helped pushed Linfield over the top. Coming into the game, Linfield’s defense has been outstanding but had not forced that many turnovers (18 through 9 games) so it was great to see Linfield’s defense so active in making those plays.

QB Pressure: PLU did all they could to limit the ‘Cats pressure with rollouts, option pass looks, and keeping two backs in the backfield to keep bodies off of their quarterback, Dalton Richey. While Richey did a nice job in taking some massive hits while still delivering the ball, the pressure eventually help deliver the win for Linfield with two critical sacks on PLU’s last drive.

Kicking Game: Linfield punter Josh Repp and place kicker Josh Kay came through big yesterday for Linfield. The FG/PAT has had well documented issues off and on during the season but Coach Smith hadn’t lost his confidence in Kay. Coach didn’t hesitate in sending Kay onto the field early in the game to attempt a 47-yard and 42-yard field goal attempts. Kay nailed both in no doubter fashion to get the ‘Cats going early. Linfield punter Josh Repp was huge in helping Linfield keep field position in Linfield’s favor during a good chunk of the game. The pressure was on Repp and he responded with a great day in averaging 45 yards on 5 punts and one within the 20. Repp had a huge game for Linfield.

Limited the Run: PLU netted only 55 rushing yards on 36 PLU attempts (1.5 ave) on the day. While the Lutes did gain 107 rushing yards most were on the legs of Dalton keepers (PLU lost 52 yards). The ‘Cats turned the PLU running backs into extra offensive linemen because they were useless rushing the ball for PLU.

Making plays when it mattered most: It came down to one last drive for PLU and ‘Cats made the plays they needed into win the game. The ‘Cats had two HUGE sacks by Defensive Tackle Mike Maierhofer and then another huge sack by Linebacker Brian Dundas on a 2nd and 10 that forced PLU to spike the ball on 3rd down to stop the clock and eventually led to the game ending incomplete pass on 4th and 16. Linfield made the plays in the truth telling moments to bring home the victory.

The Bad:

Lack of Running Game: Not good. 39 net yards on 26 attempts (1.5 avg). The ‘Cats were operating in 2nd and long the entire game because of the lack of productivity in the rushing game and being in those situations are a death sentence against a defense like PLU’s. Going to need to find a way to spark this if the ‘Cats are going to advance past next Saturday.

Fourth Down Defense: The ‘Cats defense gave up 3 of 4 fourth down conversions on the day. Thankfully the one time the ‘Cats stopped PLU on 4th down was the game winner but Linfield’s defense didn’t have the best day in turning away the Lutes on 4th down.

Ball Security: Linfield put the ball on the ground 3 times and lost it twice in big situations. Taking care of the football will be critical next week.

Kick coverage: Probably a little unfair to put the kick coverage in the “bad” but the coverage wasn’t at the level it has been over the past two seasons. Some solid returns gave PLU good field position to work off of during the game. This group is much better than they showed against PLU.

The Ugly:

Winning ugly. I don’t care if we win ugly or if it’s a masterpiece. As long as the ‘Cats find a way to win and keep advancing I’ll taking winning ugly all day long. PLU might say they “ran out of time” but if you can’t force overtime you only get 60 minutes to win and Linfield was better for those 60. That’s what matters most.

PLU game review either late tonight or tomorrow

Wildcat11 is all over the road today so you're going to have to wait till either very late tonight or tomorrow for our PLU game review.  Wish I could have it up now but I gotta run!  Go 'Cats!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Game Day At the 'Catdome!


It's game day 'Catdome. You can watch the 'Cats here. It's a soaker at the 'Catdome and doesn't look like it's going to lighten up anytime soon. But come one...you're from the Pacific Northwest. This isn't that big of deal so grab the rain gear and get out to this game to pull for the 'Cats. KICKOFF IS AT NOON. Below is our game day twitter feed. If you're on twitter (you really should be) give your Linfield updates or shout outs by hashtagging the word "catdome". Looks like this: #catdome

Also, the unofficial hashtag of division 3 football is #d3fb so you can add that to your tweets or follow all the action in D3 by following that #d3fb hashtag. Let's go 'Cats!


Friday, November 16, 2012

Around The 'Catdome'Osphere

Team, Excellence, Attitude, Class

I love me a good link round-up playoff edition style!  Lots of chewy playoff fodder to get you ready for tomorrow's highly anticipated 1st round game between YOUR Linfield Wildcats the Lutes of Pacific Lutheran (noon kickoff).   Don't think I totally ignored the rest of the conference as the remainder of the NWC wrapped up their seasons last week and we have your stories on those games below.  The 2012 All-NWC team came out this week and I'll address that at a later time.  Very happy to see a number of Wildcats get well deserved recognition but I still have some bones to pick with the NWC coaches about some the structure of how this team is put together.  That's for another time.  All that really maters is a huge playoff game (aren't they all?) between two Northwest Conference teams.  Get to the 'Catdome and get loud!  Go 'Cats!

Linfield Sports: Brain Dundas overcomes adversity along life's pathway

Gresham Outlook: Mickey makes his mark

541 Radio: Linfield's Marq Randall helps put the "D" in "Linfield".

Oregonlive.com: Linfield opens up playoffs vs PLU

Oregonlive.com: National title-contending Linfield in a rush to hit the quarterback

D3football.com Daily Dose (blog): Triple Take: We predict the scores

D3football.com's Around The Nation: Playoff Picks, surprises, disappointments

D3football.com: Linfield bracket team capsules

thenewstribuen.com: Ritchey's career-high 5 TD passes lift Lutes to big victory

the newstribuen.com: PLU rewarded with spot in Division III national playoffs

Lance Lute (nice name) YouTube Channel: PLU Football Playoff Bound 2012 

Linfield Review: 'Cats roll Boxers (last page of .pdf)

Newsregsiter.com: Wildcats pass test against Boxers

Newsregister.com: Live Blog of 'Cats 51-17 win over Boxers

Wildcatspread40.blogspot.com: What WCS40 learned about the 'Cats over the season

Oregonlive.com blog: Pacific tries to blame losing QB as reason they gave up 51 points and 500 yards of offense.

Wildcatville: Linfield vs Pacific game day slideshow/video

Pacific Boxers Youtube page: Buckey's postgame comments on Linfield game

The Puget Sound Trail: Loggers wrap up winless season

The Willamette Collegian: Willamette and their out-of-place black jerseys blank UPS 55-0

The Pioneer Log: Kopp described the defensive performance on Saturday as “average.” Well, there you go.

kxly.com (video): Rats really had to come from behind against L&C?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

2012 Playoffs Round One Preview: Linfield (9-0) vs Pacific Lutheran (7-2)

Playoffs at the 'Catdome?  You bet.
And away we go. Headed into Saturday there were three scenarios that I was playing out in my head about what the NCAA selection committee was going to do. 1) Send PLU to Linfield, 2) Send CLU to Linfield, or 3) Send PLU to CLU and somebody else to Linfield. Knowing the NCAA and the fact they love to save money when it comes to division III football playoffs my money was on what played out; an NWC rematch against Pacific Lutheran. Love it and let’s do it.

The rematch is between, by far, the top two teams in the Northwest Conference. Coming into the season PLU was a young, untested, but talented team that has grown up over the season. The 2012 PLU launching pad was their first three games where they took CLU deep before dropping a close one, hammering a then top 25 Redlands team on the road, and jumping all over Linfield before the ‘Cats methodically pulled even and pulled out a late game victory. At that point, the Lutes knew they belonged with the nation’s best and over the past 6 games the results speak for themselves. PLU has banged out 6 wins in-a-row by an average score of 38-18 and have climbed into the D3football.com top 25 over the past two weeks (currently #20). A lot of the pub goes to the PLU big play offense but it has been their defense that’s the difference maker this season. The Lutes have picked off 19 passes on the season (over 2 a game) and helped PLU hold a +12 turnover ratio on the season. Their 3-4 defense is packed full of speed and high energy players than have made play after play during the season to put the Lutes into this position. The Lutes offense has some fine playmakers but don’t sleep on PLU’s defense.

Any of you that have been following the ‘Cats know the story by now. Linfield battled through one of the toughest schedules in the country this season, lost their two best players early (Josh Hill, Tyler Steele), and have discovered tremendous depth, and an explosiveness that’s knocked out one challenger after the next. The ‘Cats have had a number of slow starts this season but once they get moving and rolling there are only a handful of teams in all of Division III that can hang with this group. This Linfield team has shown that their only weakness that’s been consistent is the penalties. It’s not the roster, or the inability to rush the passer, or throw the ball, but rather, the ‘Cats own mistakes. When Linfield limits those pains, it’s damn scary how well this team can play. So that’s my big question headed into Saturday. The ‘Cats haven’t had a stiff challenger in a few weeks while PLU has been in playoff mode for the past 6 games. Are the ‘Cats going to be focused and ready to meet a peaking PLU head-on? We’re going to find out in a few short days and I can’t wait.

Get to Know a Wildcat

#31 Brandon Funk, Corner, Junior

Favorite Place in Mac to Eat: GVB

Favorite Movie: Hard to pick just one so top three would have to be 1.starship troopers 2. any movie with will ferrell 3. The Sandlot

Favorite Music: Country, Hip-Hop, and Bangarang

Favorite TV Show: Big Bang Theory/How I Met Your Mother

Favorite Pro Football team: Thaaaaa Raidaaaaasss *Chris Berman Voice*

Class I Most Look Forward to: Exercise Physiology Lab

Mac or PC: PC

Cpu Homepage: Google

What do you use more, Smart Phone or CPU: iPhone

Twitter or Facebook: Lately, Twitter

Car or Truck: Car

Xbox, PS3, or WII: Gamecast

Favorite Coach Haze Saying: Just a scoshe

All the Linfield DB's go to Izzy's. Who's doing the most damage at the buffet: You wouldn't be able to tell by his staggering stature, but for sure Nards

Which DB is the best basketball player: If you don't count my spectacular mid range jumper and dime dropping abilities then for sure Mike Link aka the missing link aka china ankles aka stinky linky

Do you have a hidden talent that folks would be surprised by: Probably my uncanny ability to play the recorder and I'd like to think I'm pretty good at impersonations

Your Favorite Part About Playing at Linfield is: Being a part of a winning tradition and more than that building the relationships that I have and will carry with me for the rest of my life

Post Linfield aspirations: Go to Physical Therapy School and get a doctorate in PT and hopefully be able to coach somewhere preferably back home at my old high school

Wildcat11’s Keys To Victory

60 Full Minutes of Linfield Football: It can’t be a quarter, it can’t be a half. The ‘Cats need to come into this football game ready to go from the opening kickoff all the way to the final ticks of the clock. Be ready to handle adverse circumstances and work through those. The focus needs to be sharp from opening moments.

Effective Balanced Offensive Attack: Linfield’s offense has to be effective both in the passing and rushing attack. The ‘Cats cannot afford for PLU to take one of these aspects away during the game. PLU is a high motor, fast defense that has been playing great football in the latter stages of the season. Linfield needs to keep them honest and off balanced.

Stop the PLU Run Game: PLU is rushing the football at a decent clip this season (138.6 rush yards per game) and that running attack is critical for PLU’s offense. The more effective they can run the ball, the more chances PLU can hit big plays in the passing game. Linfield needs to take away the rush and punish the Lutes ball handlers every chance they can get.

Limit Big Plays: This is a must for the ‘Cats to get the win on Saturday. The Lutes have a number of offensive playmakers that can haul in big strikes off the arm of Dalton Richey. If PLU can drive the ball down the field against Linfield by moving the chains than I’ll tip my cap to the Lutes. Make them earn it.

Pin-Point Passing: In the first match-up PLU picked off Linfield twice early which directly resulted in two PLU TD’s. As stated earlier, PLU has made a number of interceptions this season. With that said, Linfield showed they can move the ball in the air vs PLU and had some huge strikes taken off the board with ill-timed penalties. Mickey Inns and the ‘Cats WR need to have a big day at the ‘Catdome this Saturday.

Have to bring pressure: Nothing really to say here but if Linfield can pressure and get to Dalton Richey the chances of Linfield winning increase dramatically. Have a day.

Compete for the football: When that football is up in the air the ‘Cats have to get after it. I’m talking both to both the offense and defense. There are going to be big moments in this game that come down to who’s going to make a play on the football. Get after it.

Win on Special Teams: Linfield’s coverage has been outstanding this season and that trend has to continue. All aspects of special teams can leave their mark in this game. Let’s split uprights, swarm to the ball, and bust open some returns.

Limit controllable mistakes: This comes down to good judgment and good technique. If Linfield can limit penalties and take care of the football, the ‘Cats are going to be damn hard to beat.

Overall:

‘Cats by 7. PLU is a hell of a team. They have proved they deserve to be in this playoff and have all the tools to compete and beat Linfield if the ‘Cats don’t execute on the field. This is a challenge to beat a team twice in one season but I love the desire and drive of the 'Cats. I believe when it gets down to is this Wildcat football team will fight through the adversity and come out on the other end with the victory and move onto the next round. Should be a great football game. Go ‘Cats!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

2012 Playoff Game Day Guide: Linfield vs PLU


The Playoffs are back in the 'Catdome and you can tell from the clip above the 'Cats are ready.  wanted to give you all the breakdown on some easy links to get you all you need on what's happening with the playoffs, brackets, how to purchase tickets, etc.

With regards to tickets.  The playoff game is falling at the beginning of Thanksgiving break for the students so there should be plenty of general admission tickets available.  The weather looks like a coin flip right now so you better hustle and contact Linfield (see link below) about getting a covered seat.

For those that haven't been back to the 'Catdome in sometime or those 'Lute fans that are reading the blog (I know you are) I have a link below that lays out where the best spot is to tailgate.  Linfield fans have a great reputation for being welcoming to tailgaters no matter your allegiance.  So don't worry about mixing in among the 'Cat faithful.  I also give you some of my favorite places around Mac and if you're getting in on Friday and are looking for things to kill some time.  Go 'Cats!

NCAA: Division III Selection Show

D3football.com's Daily Dose: Around the Nation Podcast (Playoff discussion)

D3football.com: 2012 Brackets

Linfield Sports: Ticket Purchase Breakdown

Gameday Weather Forecast: Cloudy, Rain Possible, Breezy (High of 52)

Linfield Tailgate Location

Pre-Game Time Killers:
McMinnville's Public Market (opens at 10am) -WC11/Mrs. 11 Highly Recommend
Evergreen Space/Aviation Museum and Waterpark
McMinnville's 3rd Street District

In town Friday night with nothing to do?
Spirit Mountain Casino (25 minutes outside of Mac)
Moonlight Theater - (food/wine/beer and a movie)
Rooftop Bar at Hotel Oregon
La Rambla Restaurant & Bar
The Old Oak (Bar)


Breakfast:
Community Plate (Locally grown food)
Tommy's
Wild Wood Cafe
Jake's Deli

Coffee Suggestions:
Best Coffee Shop: Union Block
Best Drive Up - Leann's Lattes or Java Express

Post Game Dinner:
Golden Valley Brew Pub
Mazatlan (Mexican)
Nick's Italian Cafe
3rd Street Pizza
Geraldi's
Antonio's (Lafayette)
Public Market's "Aftermarket" (live music, food, beer, wine)

Best Dive Bar:
The Deluxe (Best Burger in Town)

Monday, November 12, 2012

‘Cats Win!!! Linfield pass by Pacific 51-17 and look towards the NCAA Playoffs.



The ‘Cats sent 16 Linfield Seniors out in style in Linfield’s 51-17 pasting of Pacific to end the season with the program's 4th consecutive Northwest Conference Title and 10th in the last 13 seasons. The ‘Cats used a 2nd quarter explosion to put the game out of reach of Pacific to run the ‘Cats NWC winning streak to 25 games. Pacific was game early but succumbed to the ‘Cats pace, speed, and skill as the game moved along as Linfield tacked up 500 yards of offense while holding Pacific to their lowest total of the year at 150 total yards (7 net yards rushing). But it was far from perfect for the ‘Cats as lingering season-long issues once again impeded the ‘Cats from reaching their top gear. The controllable issues were frustrating but that’s what I love about Linfield football. This Linfield team can blast a team by 34 points and they’re not satisfied with all aspects of their game. But that's required if this program wants to reach their ultimate goal because the path laid in front of Linfield is filled with serious contenders that are playing for same thing. To quote that terrible woman Cersei Lanister from the book “A Game of Thrones” (when she was warning Ned Stark of his impending doom): “When you play the game of thrones you win or you die. There is no middle ground.” That pretty much sums up the playoffs right there. There is no middle ground for Linfield anymore. It’s win or go home.

We’ll talk more PLU on Wednesday in our big bonanza game preview but we still need to put a wrap on Saturday. Some outstand performances from the ‘Cats in multiple areas and it was a day to celebrate what 16 seniors have left behind as a tremendous legacy of Linfield football. These Seniors have compiled an overall record of 40-4, 35-1 record during the regular season, 4 NCAA playoff appearances, and 4 Northwest Conference Championships. I’d go on more about what they’ve accomplished but this team and these Seniors are not done chasing their goals.  There is still work to do.  Let’s get to it!

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

The Good:

Taking Care of Business: The Boxers came into this game fired up and looking to make a statement that they’ve arrived as a program. Pacific is doing a nice job and is well coached but the Boxers found out that there’s a difference being able to hang around for a quarter and being able to match a top level team for the duration of a game. Linfield met the challenge, worked through some early adversity, and wound up putting the screws to the Boxers to put the game away at half. That was some big boy football.

Rush Defense: Pacific gained 75 yards on 38 attempts (1.9 per) but Linfield dropped the Pacific RB’s for negative 8 yards and followed that up by sacking Boxer QB’s for minus 60 yards. Do the quick math and that’s 7 net yards of rushing on the day. Linfield is only allowing 70.8 rushing yards a game and this stat will be huge moving forward.

Mickey Inns and the ‘Cats passing attack: I think Mickey Inns put his stamp on Northwest Conference Offensive Player of the Year honors in lighting up Pacific’s secondary for 362 yards in a little over a half of work. Inns completed 24 of 35 passes for 4 touchdowns in spreading the ball around to 7 different targets. A big tip of the cap to the ‘Cats wide receivers for making play after play on Saturday. Inns and the ‘Cats wide receivers have been locked in during the 2nd half of the season.

Brynnan Hyland/Pressure: The ‘Cats Defense End is making a run at the record book this season. Right now Brynnan Hyland is on pace to match Eric Hedin’s school record of 22 sacks in a season as the Junior stands at 18 through 9 games (Also, ties another D-End who had 18 in 9 games during the 1997 season). Hyland has been dominate this season and should continue to press teams moving forward. As a whole, the ‘Cats lead Division III in sacks with 51 on the season as 17 total defenders have taken turns dropping QBs. D-End Kel Poomaihealani has been fantastic off the edge with 7 sacks of his own, Freshman DT Marq Randall has made an immediate impact this season with 5 sacks with a combination of his speed and strength, and D-End Michael MacClanthan has tallied 4 sacks to go along with his 22 total tackles. The ‘Cats pass rush was once on display in dropped Boxer QB’s 7 times on Saturday.

Making plays on the football: Great job by the ‘Cats defensive backs (we won’t talk about Forman’s drop), linebackers and receivers for getting after the football on Saturday. Pacific’s defensive backs challenged the ‘Cats but Linfield made some tremendous plays on the ball for big strikes and on the flip side the ‘Cats secondary did a nice job in make critical plays and only allowing the one deep strike late in the 3rd quarter.

Pass Protection: The ‘Cats offensive line did a fine job on Saturday in giving Inns time to operate as Pacific was a stunting and blitzing machine on Saturday. The Boxers only put Inns down once in 35 attempts as the ‘Cats offensive line gave Mickey the time he needed to shred Pacific apart.

The Bad:

Early Turnovers: 2 turnovers deep in Linfield territory directly led to Pacific scoring 10 points. The ‘Cats also put the ball on the turf two other times but were able to get it back. Have to take better care of the football or it’s going to cost this team huge.

Field Goal Team: 0 for 3 on Saturday with blocks and misses. Linfield HAS to have this group firing on all cylinders during the playoffs.

The Ugly:

Penalties: 10 for 110. This has been the single biggest area to hold this Linfield team back from consistently reaching that top level of play. This weakness was fully on display on Saturday. Coach Smith has been telling his players that if this doesn’t get taken care of it’s going to cost this team the season. He's right. What are you going to do about it?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The 'Cats clinch the NWC title outright, Home Playoff Game, and celebrate Senior Day

The 'Cats wrapped up their 2012 regular season in style in rolling the Pacific Boxers 51-17 to run their unblemished record to 9-0.  The NCAA Selection show is today at 3pm where the 'Cats find out the path to the Stagg Bowl (I'm sure it will have a high degree of difficulty).  We'll talk more about tomorrow but wanted to thank the 16 Linfield Seniors that celebrated Senior Day with their loved ones.  Thank you so much for your leadership and time over the past four seasons...it's been an incredible run of Wildcat football.  Also thank you to the senior team mangers, training staff, and cheer team members for all they have done to make Linfield football so great.  Go 'Cats!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Gameday at the 'Catdome!


It's game day 'Catdome. You can watch the 'Cats here. It's foggy now but that should lift a little later and be a nice but cold day at the 'Catdome. Grab a hoodie and some warm coco and get out to this game to pull for the 'Cats. KICKOFF IS AT 1:00PM. Below is our game day twitter feed. If you're on twitter (you really should be) give your Linfield updates or shout outs by hashtagging the word "catdome". Looks like this: #catdome

Also, the unofficial hashtag of division 3 football is #d3fb so you can add that to your tweets or follow all the action in D3 by following that #d3fb hashtag. Let's go 'Cats!


Friday, November 9, 2012

Around The 'Catdome'Osphere

Going to be a beautiful day in the valley tomorrow.  Get to the game!
It's been a few weeks but our link round-up is back and just in time for the end of the 2012 season.  We have some very nice player profiles from Linfield Sports, Wildcatspread40 gives you his takes on the Puget Sound game, D3football.com is YOUR source for all things playoffs, some Willamette talk from the podcast guys (can't find their wrap on the Linfield game...oh well), Tully is about as Tully as ever, Linfield getting a Starbucks (let me know when a Chipotle hits campus), and we wrap up with a nauseating video.

Linfield Sports: Jepson runs the right route to Linfield

Linfield Sports: Linfield punter Josh Repp among nation's best

WildcatSpread40: What WCS40 learned about the 'Cats after the UPS game

WildcatSpread40: WCS40 Toss Loggers 47-7

Linfield Review: 'Cats bury Loggers (back page of pdf)

Linfield Sports (video): 'Cat Chat with Linfield Linebacker Tim Edmonds

The Puget Sound Trail: Loggers offense sputters as Linfield rolls

D3football.com:  Current Projected Playoff Brackets

D3football.com's Daily Dose (blog): 2nd NCAA regional Rankings

D3football.com's Daily Dose: Your Handy Guide to Pool C (good read if you're a PLU fan)

D3football.com: Linfield drops to #3 in current Strengh of Schedule numbers but only undefeated team in top 20. (Good news)

Wildcatville: Nice reprit on 1987 Oregonian article talking about Linfield's 32 year into the streak.

KREM: Rats get a chance to get to 7 wins (video)

Full Access Sports: Bearcat play-by-play guys skip podcast after Linfield game but have some talk on win over Pacific

Full Access Sports Youtube Page: Willamette HC talks about running into Linfield buzz-saw

Full Access Sports Youtube Page: Glen Fowles talks about getting by Pacific

The News Tribune: Lutes's offense delivered victory over Whitworth

Whitworth YouTube Page: Tully breaks down loss to PLU. Not happy.

The Willamette Collegian: (page 8 of pdf) Bearcats skate past Pacific

newsregister.com: Linfield getting Starbucks on campus.

Some guy's YouTube page:  PLU is a steamroller.  WATCH OUT!