Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Game 5 Preview: Linfield (4-0) vs Whitworth (2-4)

Cats vs Rats.  Who doesn't love this game?
Goodbye to the “Bye week” and hello to the Pine Bowl.  The Bye came at a great time for many reasons.  The ‘Cats had a grueling travel schedule at the beginning of the season and I think the team was at the point of needing a little recovery time after a big 29-0 victory over PLU.  In fact, Coach Smith game the team last Friday-Sunday off in order to get right for a huge second half the season.  Linfield has three tough road games left on the schedule and there is going to be all sorts of chaos and havoc going on in a wild Northwest Conference as teams chase Linfield and try to gain position for a possible Pool B bid.

Waiting for Linfield this week is a long bus ride out to Eastern Washington to face the Whitworth Pirates.  Whitworth is on a four game losing streak right now, and playing under the expectations of their talent level, and experience.  I get the sense that many people think Linfield is going to roll up to the Pine Bowl and kick sand in the Rats' face on the way to a resistance free victory.  Thankfully, Wildcat11 is here to provide you with a reminder and history lesson on why that might not be the case if Linfield isn’t on their game.

12.4

That is the average margin of Linfield’s 5 victories at Whitworth since 2001. 

2001 – 4 points
2003 – 21 points
2005 – 15 points
2007 – 4 point loss
2009 – 18 points
2011 – 4 points. 

I know.  I was surprised too.  This Linfield team has something to prove about playing at the Pine Bowl this weekend.  I was conflicted in posting those numbers up because I didn’t want that to be a crutch for anybody to use.  This 2013 Linfield team is stinking dang good and there’s no reason why the ‘Cats can’t go up the Spokane and lay the wood to the Rats.  What I wanted to do by pointing out the closeness of the games in Spokane is the try to take away from anybody looking down the road and past a team that can play solid football.  All eyes should be focused and ready to roll this weekend out in Eastern Washington.

Get To Know A Wildcat:

#51 Jeremy Patrick, Center, Junior

Favorite place to in Mac: Definitely has to be Thai Country

Favorite Movie: Training Day. Gotta love Denzel.

Favorite Music: Rap music. I'm a huge rap fan and listen to a lot of artists.

Favorite TV show: Walking Dead. I love some Zombies!

Class I Most Look Forward to: Financial Management

Mac or PC: Mac CPU Homepage: Google

Netflix or Cable: I love Netflix, but currently just watch cable.

Car or Truck: I'm a Jeep fan.

Xbox, PS3, or Wii: Xbox 360 Favorite

Coach Hire Saying: Take out the trash!

Offensive Lineman that would be the best wing man: I’ll go with my dude Schultz!

Favorite part of playing at Linfield: Being a part of the Catdome and playing with great friends.

Post Linfield aspirations: I'm really looking forward to getting into coaching football.

Wildcat11’s Keys To Victory:

Stop the Whitworth Rushing Attack:  The Rats want to establish their rushing game.  It’s been their calling card during the entire Tully era and I don’t think that will be different Saturday.  You’ll see lots of zone play, QB designed runs, counters, etc.  Linfield’s ability to limit the run is well documented at this point and will once again be key to a Linfield victory this Saturday.

Start fast on Offense:  Over the past two games, the Wildcat offense needed some time to get rolling along and that needs to change on Saturday.  I want to see the quick striking offense that we’ve seen from this unit early in the contest and often. 

Rush the passer: Two years ago when Linfield was struggling in the Pine Bowl, Whitworth’s Bryan Peterson had plenty of time to get the ball out to his receivers.  The game changed when Linfield started to get pressure on passing downs and we’ll need that pressure once again, especially on those longer downs.

Secure the football: Whitworth’s defenses always do a great job in taking the football away and this year is no different.  The Rats D has 14 turnovers to their credit, while their offense has only turned it over 8 times on the year.  Linfield was brilliant against PLU in taking care of the ball and that trend continuing will have a big impact on Saturday’s outcome.

‘Cats converting 3rd down: The Rats defense has been pretty dang good on 3rd down in only allowing conversions 38% of the time (30 for 80).  The ‘Cats offense is right around a 60% conversion rate through four games (59% - 33 of 56) so this will be a statistic to keep an eye on.

Flush ‘Em on 4th down: Whitworth goes for it on 4th down almost 3 times each game this season (16 - 4th down attempts).   Linfield has been challenged 9 times on 4th down this season and only allowed 3 conversions.  If Whitworth gambles against the Wildcat defense it could present some chances for short field opportunities for the ‘Cats offense.

BONUS KEY

Avoid the Whitworth Streaker.


Overall.

‘Cats by 24.  Linfield is obviously a heavy favorite in this game.  Whitworth has been on the skids, and while they have talent, they’ve been struggling.  Like I’ve mentioned before, Linfield doesn’t have a big history of going up to Spokane and rolling Whitworth.  In fact, it’s a location the ‘Cats have had to battle and bang out tight victories.  If the ‘Cats aren’t sharp and don’t execute, the Rats have enough talent to make this game way to close for comfort.  However, I believe this ‘Cats team understands they need to keep building on the first four games and not settle into a routine of being “good enough”.  Too much is on the line for going backwards as a team.

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