|'Catdome Ohio this Saturday|
After two dominating performances your Linfield Wildcats will once again be hopping a plane for their final non-conference tilt of the season. The ‘Cats will face off against 1st time opponent Case Western Reserve University out of Cleveland, Ohio. This is a one-time affair so we won’t be seeing Case make the return trip to the ‘Catdome in 2014. This game was originally going to be filled with George Fox as they reboot their program, but late last year Fox wanted more time to properly fund and establish their return season so they pushed their start year from 2013 to 2014. That left the rest of the NWC members in scramble mode to fill the vacated slot in the 2013 schedule but thankfully the ‘Cats were able to find Case Western willing to take the one-off game. So thank you to Case Western for taking the game and thank you to the Linfield administration for being willing to pony up the extra cash to fund a 2nd flight trip this season.
This is a great opportunity for Linfield to continue to grow and take on another challenger that will be hyped and charged up to host a national level contender during their homecoming game. It’s no secret that Linfield has many positives rolling along at this early stage of the season. The offense has been highly productive and the defense has been keeping points off the board against talented offensive units. Speaking of talent, the 'Cats have it all over the roster and the home crowd was able to witness that this past weekend as some reserves and young ‘Cats were able to show their talents once the 1st units put the game away. This week for Linfield is going to be another opportunity to handle the adversity of a long flight and see if this roster can continue to push to maintain that elite level of play.
For Case Western Reserve I would imagine playing a team as highly ranked as Linfield is a big deal. CWRU has tasted a large amount of success over the past 7 seasons as they’ve won four University Athletic Association championships (2007, 08, 09, 11) and made three playoff appearances during that stretch (2007, 08, 09) and cracked the AFCA Top 25 during the 2007 – 2010 season. This UAA is not the best conference around but Case Western has shown they produce a winning product on a consistent basis. Currently, Case is sitting at 1-2 on the season after taking back-to-back losses to Oberlin and Frostburg State. Case does have a number of talented players on the roster and throws a ton of looks at you on both sides of the ball but have struggled to find consistency on offense in the early portion of the season.
Get To Know A Wildcat
#72 Jesse Archambault, Senior, Offensive Tackle
Favorite Place to eat: Carl's Jr.
Favorite Movie: Fight Club
Music of choice: Rock
TV show: Family Guy
Favorite Pro Team: St. Louis Rams
Favorite Class at Linfield: Econ
Mac or PC: Mac
CPU Homepage: USA today
Car or Truck: I have a car, but wish it were a Bronco
Xbox, Playstation, or Wii: Definitely Wii (super smash bros.)
Favorite Coach Hire saying: "Swag is the number of marks on your helmet."
If you became lost in the woods with one of your fellow offensive linemen who would you want that to be: Seth Fults
Favorite part of Linfield football: Being a part of the tradition of excellence an winning legacy
Post Linfield aspirations: Pursue a career in agriculture/forestry
Wildat11’s Keys To Victory:
Don’t take the foot off the gas: After easily handling a talented Cal Lutheran team it would be easy for a program to overlook a team battling some inconsistencies and look a little further down the road. However, if Linfield wants to continue to build this season towards something special then the ‘Cats are going to come out and give Case Western their very best effort. I’ve talked about the maturity of the team a number of times and I believe this group will meet that challenge and come out and play with a great amount of effort.
Limit CWRU big plays: The Wildcat defense is legit and if I’m CWRU I’m going to throw the entire playbook at the ‘Cats in hopes of hitting a few big plays and picking up some early momentum. Look for a lot of WR screen game and don’t be surprised to see some gadget plays in the mix. Linfield needs to keep everything in front of the defense and force CWRU into 3rd down situations where the Linfield defense has been tough and CWRU is only converting 32% of the time.
Field position: The fastest way the ‘Cats can put this game away is by pinning CWRU deep and giving the ‘Cats short fields to work with on offense. Cory pointed out yesterday that the ‘Cats are allowing the opposition greater starting field position this season and that is an area I would like to see improved this contest.
Continue to Run The Ball: The ‘Cats should be able to impose their will on the ground this weekend and I don’t doubt for a minute that Coach Smith is going to move away from that strategy this weekend. Josh Hill continues to be electric, Tavon Willis showed pop in hitting the hole against CLU, and Josh Yoder is a weapon when his number is called. If the offense line continues to play well I see the ‘Cats offense putting up big running numbers.
Limit mistakes: Take care of the football, make good decisions, and don’t allow silly mistakes to slow down this team on Saturday.
Defensive Line domination: I’m looking for the ‘Cats defensive line to have a big day. They’ve had two rather big challenges to start the season with HSU and CLU and have played great. There is no reason why this group shouldn’t have a highlight reel day against Case Western.
It’s up to the ‘Cats. Linfield is a big favorite in this game. If the ‘Cats come out with a poor effort and mess around then Case Western might be able to make the game interesting but if Linfield is sharp and executes it should be a large margin of victory. I’m firmly in the camp that Linfield is going to be sharp and ready to perform on Saturday. There’s too much on the line coming down the road to give a flat performance this weekend and stifle the growth of this team. I’m looking for the ‘Cats to do it big this weekend.