Monday, October 20, 2014

‘Cats Win!!! Linfield gives Whitworth no quarter in 65-13 plundering at the ‘Catdome.

The 'Cats dropped The Hammer for 60 minutes on Whitworth.
Photo Courtesy of Brad Thompson: Purchase Brad's Photos Here.

My goodness that was a double barrel blasting of a team that came into ‘Catdome with a winning record.  Whitworth isn’t a terrible team.  The Rats do have some pieces and skill but the sum of their parts doesn’t come close to the product that Linfield is putting on the field this season. 

For the Rats, Saturday’s hopes came down to one thing only and that was their offense being able to move the chains and put up points.  If the Pirates could convert and extend drives they might have been able to linger a little longer but once they lined up to actually play the game it became apparent that Linfield’s defense had no intention of allowing Whitworth to get on track.  Once the Rats' offense started giving up the ball after 82 seconds of clock run off, it was lights out for Whitworth.

I’m not joking either…Whitworth’s offense had 16 possessions and only held onto the football an average of 1 minute and 22 seconds of game clock.  The result of that high tempo/not going anywhere offense was Linfield putting up ridiculous offensive numbers.   719 yards of total offense, 352 rushing, 367 passing, 35 first downs, 97 offensive plays at 7.4 yards per play.  Somewhere, John Tully was smiling looking at that box score.

To me, Saturday was the first real test for the ‘Cats young secondary and I thought those guys passed with flying colors. The Linfield defensive backfield is stocked with athletic ability, length, speed, and fundamentally sound play. They closed a lot of windows against Whitworth and it was great to see.

Linfield did many excellent things on Saturday (we’ll get to those below) but this team still has much room for improvement.  Maybe that’s being unreasonable but I still think the 2014 Linfield Wildcats haven’t played their best football yet.  This team has aspirations and dreams to do big things and the top of the Division III pile are in their respective parts of the country laying waste to the competition, like the ‘Cats are out on the West Coast.  Right now, Linfield has to worry and focus on being the best Linfield team they can be and not mailing in any efforts in the next couple of weeks. There is work to put in but man could this be a special group when this is all said and done.

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

The Good

Complete team effort: Offense, Defense, Special Teams.  All three units worked together to create positive field position, hold that field position, and then capitalize to get points on the board.  Wash, Rinse, and Repeat and the next thing you know the ‘Cats are tossing the Rats right out of the building. If there was a woodshed at Maxwell Field, the ‘Cats would have taken Whitworth behind it.

Offensive Output: As mentioned above, the offensive output was crazy. Sam Riddle tossed 5 touchdowns (Charlie Poppen with 3 of those), four different ‘Cats caught touchdowns, 3 different ‘Cats rushed for touchdowns, 6 different players had 40 yards rushing or more. I’m actually dreading putting together this game highlight. This could be my War and Peace of offensive highlights.

If this was old school Tecmo Bowl, Linfield would have been Bo Jackson this past Saturday.
Photo Courtesy of Brad Thompson: Purchase Brad's Photos Here.

Defensive Effort: Ten 3 and Outs, held Whitworth to a season low of 264 total yards, sacked Rat QB's six times, only allowed two scores, great tackling after the catch, great pressure and physicality. Overall, another wonderful effort by this Linfield defense.

Offensive Line: The Linfield offensive line has been a force this season and they continue to get the job done. The big fellas have such a great combination of size, skill, aggression, and understanding of the offense that it makes the job of skill players so much easier.  Offensive lines never get enough credit, and too much blame, but I’m telling you this is one of the best Linfield offensive lines that I've seen.

3rd down defense: This was the critical stat coming into the game and Linfield held Whitworth to only 6 of 19 (31.5%) on 3rd down and that lead to a major butt kicking.

Defensive Backs: I bragged on these guys already but a great result against a pass happy offense. The Linfield defensive backs piled up 7 pass break-ups, a pick, and great tackling after the catch all game long.  I loved what I saw out of the Wildcat DB’s on Saturday.

Special Teams Coverage: By far the best performance from the coverage units this season.  Massive improvement on kickoff team and the punt coverage was great as well.  On 8 returned kickoffs, Whitworth’s average starting position was the 24 yard line. When you paired that starting field position with Linfield’s defense it means prime starting position for the ‘Cats offense.

Bonus Good:

Linfield Tailgate Scene: I have to say that the Linfield tailgate scene for Homecoming was spot on. The Keck parking lot was jammed with tents, RVs, 5th wheels, mobile BBQ trailers, great food, beverages, and fun.  The Keck Parking lot is always a great place to be during a Linfield home game, but I have to say that Linfield is developing a top flight tailgating experience.

The Bad

Penalties: Some of this comes from the aggressive nature of Linfield’s play.  The ‘Cats play a hard-nosed, fast, and to the whistle style of play and sometimes that will draw a flag. I can live with some of that but Linfield has to get this area cleaner without sacrificing any aggressiveness. That’s much easier to type than actually do.

The Ugly

Not a darn thing: The Portland area was getting hammered by the rain on Friday night but the weather held out and turned in a beautiful Saturday afternoon in the Valley.  A ton of Linfield spirit, alumni back on campus and a great performance by the ‘Cats.  Saturday was another great day to be a Wildcat.

1 comment:

DS said...

"passed with flying colors"
Even the Whitworth folks can laugh at that unintended humor.