|The 'Cats 15th victory in a row over PLU was a loud one by Linfield.|
|Photo Courtesy of Linfield SID Kelly Bird: Purchase Linfield Football Photos Here.|
Now that’s a win over P-L-U! The cowbells went quiet at Sparks Stadium as YOUR Linfield Wildcats bullied and rolled up the Pacific Lutheran Lutes in a statement win by the ‘Cats. For those that hadn’t had a chance to see the ‘Cats live until this past Saturday, you all were able to see firsthand why I’ve sounded so excited about where this Linfield team might be headed. The Wildcats are developing a lethal multifaceted offensive attack and showcase an aggressive fast defense that may have started slow at Chapman but have swallowed up two worthy opponents in Redlands and PLU. This is a fun football team to watch and man….did they put on a show up in Puyallup.
It was not a happy homecoming for the Lutes as PLU’s experience and explosive offense was missing receiver Kellen Westering, but as Linfield is fully aware off, overcoming injuries are part of the deal with football. With or without one of the ‘Lutes receivers it wouldn’t have mattered much as Fred Astaire would have been impressed with PLU QB Dalton Ritche’s happy feet in the pocket as the Lutes QB never looked comfortable throwing against the ‘Cats. The pressure and coverage the ‘Cats defense applied led to PLU totaling less than 100 yards passing and 3 picks. I have a lot of typos on this blog but that last stat line wasn’t one of them.
The Lutes won the coin toss and thought it would be a good idea to give the ‘Cats the ball first. They might want to rethink that next time as the Linfield offense set the tone for the ballgame on the 1st drive as the ‘Cats used an 11 play, 75 yard drive to take the 7-0 lead. Nine of those plays were rushing attempts and that theme continued during the entire game as Linfield hammered away at the PLU defensive front and then went over the top as the Lutes started to get sucked up. It was great play calling and great execution by Linfield’s offense.
I have to say that win ranks up there with as year’s dismantling of Willamette in terms of Linfield dominating a quality football team. For the Wildcat defense, it isn’t just one person who carries the water as so many ‘Cat defenders make contributions and step up when the opportunity is presented. I’m not overstating that this is a fast defense that closes fast to the ball. The scary thing is this is a group that’s only going to improve as players get more comfortable with the defensive play calling and adjustments on the fly. Same goes to the offense as the pieces are coming together and this offense is going to make the remaining NWC teams scratch their head as they try to figure out which of the Wildcat poisons will do the least damage.
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
Team Performance: I can’t say it enough…that was about as a pure team win that you’ll find. Both sides of the ball making plays, special teams getting it done, vets and new faces making major contributions, teammates going to battle for each other. It was a joy to watch.
Rushing Attack: 51 rushes, 221 yards, at 4.3 per carry. That is flat getting after it as the ‘Cats effectively used the combination of a dominate offensive line with running backs Tavon Willis, Sam Robinson, and Spencer Payne to pound away at the PLU defensive front. Linfield wore the Lutes out and it set the table for Sam Riddle to kill PLU in the play action passing game.
Make that 15 in a row over PLU. 41-14 victory. This Linfield team is darn good. #Catdome #d3fbThe Linfield Wildcat Defense: Another great performance from this Linfield Wildcat defense. Seriously, that was a great effort against an experienced and effective offense. The ‘Cats made PLU into a one dimensional offense and left PLU trying to gash Linfield rushing the ball. At the end of it, PLU limped off the field with zero second half point, only 11 first downs, and 202 yards of total offense.
— Catdomealumni.com (@catdomealumni) October 4, 2014
Big plays in the passing attack: You have to love the rhythm that the Wildcat receiving corps are getting in with Sam Riddle. Charlie Poppen, Evan Peterson, and Brian Balsiger torched PLU’s secondary for long passing strikes, made plays in the open field, or dominated the football once it was in the air. That was fun to watch.
Pressure and pass coverage: PLU wanted nothing to do with a drop back passing game. And I don’t blame them as the ‘Cats were able to pressure and hit Ritchey at a consistent level. But even when the PLU QB had a clean pocket, the Linfield defensive backs and LB’s were blanketing the PLU route running. Only 87 yards of passing by PLU. That has to be up there as an all-time low water mark for PLU’s passing game.
Allowing PLU to go 3 for 3 on 4th down: The only sore spot for the Linfield defensive staff has to be the fact that PLU went Riverboat gambler three times on 4th down and managed to convert on all three attempts. PLU’s first two 4th down conversions led to their only scores of the game, including a tough 4th and 15 yard attempt.
Injuries: I hate seeing quality people get hurt on either side of the sideline. Football is a tough and violent game but seeing people who work so hard to play the game they love get hurt is tough to see. I wish nothing but the best and speedy recoveries for any Wildcat or Lute who had to leave the game on Saturday due to injury.
PLU’s cheerleading Public Address Announcer
“AND THAT’S ANOTHER P-L-U FIRST DOOOWWWNNN!!!!!”
Seriously, if you’re a PAA guy and reading this blog…don’t be this guy. The last PAA I’ve heard that was this bad was at Puget Sound so I’m not sure if he just transferred over to PLU. I just want the PAA to call it in the middle and give me the details. If you want to give a little extra when the home team scores a touchdown, that’s cool, but leave the cheerleading pom-pom’s outside of the booth. If this went on at Linfield, I would feel the same darn way and would be embarrassed. The good news is that he was only able to do his “First Down” screech 11 times on Saturday.
$8 to park across the street from Sparks: This isn’t on PLU because they don’t own the stadium or parking lot but paying $8 to attend a division III football game is ridiculous. Yeah, $8 isn’t the $140.00 that some moronic Seahawk fans shell out but there is only one other time I’ve ever seen anyone have to pay to park and that was at Menlo.....in the Bay Area…and it was only $4. So Boo on you City of Puyallup. Booooooo!!!!!!