|Should be a fantastic environment for football on Saturday!|
This is a very experienced Pacific football team. 10 out of 11 offensive starters are seniors, they have a savvy, mobile, and accurate QB in Warner Shaw (97 of 135, 71.9 completion percentage, 12 TDs, 2 picks, and 321 yards per game), a big and sound offensive line (average 6’2” and 280lbs), and the best group of receivers the ‘Cats have seen this season. Along with that, the Boxer defense is aggressive and physical as the Pacific defense is coming off their best performance of the year in holding PLU to 7 points, 181 yards of total offense, and sacked the Lutes 6 times this past Saturday.
For Linfield, this is going to be the ‘Cats first true test on the 2015 season as the previous three teams the Wildcats have played just haven’t been up to par as true challengers. The ‘Cats are finally going to line up across a team that’s going to offer a stiff physical, talent, and schematic challenge to this Wildcat team. No matter what Pacific has said about not thinking about Linfield until this week, you know the Boxer football program spent a significant amount of time this off-season scheming and preparing for the ‘Cats this season and are not going to get caught off-guard this time around.
We’re going to find out what this Linfield team is made of on Saturday as they get a team that’s going to punch back and will be very aggressive in their plan of attack. This is an all-hands on deck type of Saturday as Linfield is going to need their offense, defense, and special teams all clicking in order to starve off what I feel is a very worthy challenger.
Get To Know A Wildcat
#68 Stephen Nnabue, Offensive Guard, Junior
Hometown: Issaquah, Wash. High School: Mount Si High School
Favorite place to eat in Mac: Panda Express
Favorite Movie: Saving Private Ryan
Favorite Music: Rap but not what's been coming out recently
Favorite TV show: Sons of Anarchy
Favorite Book: Point Blank
Class I Most Look Forward to: Intermediate Accounting
Iphone or Android: Iphone 5
CPU Homepage: Google
Personal Mantra: You are what you do, not what you say you'll do.
Social Media of choice: Instagram
Car or Truck: Mom's Mini Van
Xbox, PS3, or Wii: Xbox
What first inspired you to play football: I got a GameCube in 6th grade and started playing Madden and thought it was pretty neat
Favorite Coach Smith Saying: "You don't know what you don't know"
Favorite part of playing at Linfield: Playing with such a close knit group of guys
Linfield O-lineman you would want to be in a Zombie Apocalypse with: Aaron Kokubun, because I feel like together we could put a serious dent in a crowd of zombies and if it got too serious I think I could outrun him.
Post Linfield aspirations: Become a CPA and see where it takes me
Wildcat11’s Keys to Victory
Start Fast and Finish Strong: Linfield cannot afford to have aspects of their game come out and sputter and takes a half to get going. No, this is the time to come out of the gates clicking and confident and being able to sustain that effort for a full four quarters. This Pacific team is a mature group and has shown an ability to improve as the games goes on so Linfield has to be in the mindset of a full four quarter effort. Anything less than that and the scoreboard could very well not be kind to the ‘Cats at the end of the game.
Limit the Pacific Rushing Attack: The Boxers have been very balanced in their attack this year in 134 rushing attempts against 137 passing attempts and while the passing attack has been the more explosive aspect of Pacific’s offense (92.5 rush yards per game/321.8 passing yards per game), the ‘Cats defense must neutralize the Boxer rushing game and try to make Pacific one dimensional. That will make the
Boxers’ play-action sets less effective and would increase the ‘Cats defensive effectiveness.
Get the Running Game Going: Linfield’s offensive attack has to find the balance this weekend, especially if the weather is going to be an issue (forecast calling for rain during game time) so the ‘Cats need to get it rolling on the ground with their talented offensive backfield. If Linfield can attack the Boxers on the ground consistently, it will only open up the aspects of the ‘Cats offensive attack.
Win 3rd down: Converting on 3rd down has been a calling card for the Boxer offense as they’ve been building their program the past few years and 2015 is no different. Right now, Pacific is converting on 49% of their 3rd down attempts (24 of 49) and this will be a critical down as Pacific will look to own the football and keep the number of opportunities for the Wildcat offense at a minimum. This will be a money play for both squads on just who controls the tempo and possibly the game.
Solid Special Teams: This is a type of game where special teams play is vital in flipping field position and pinning the opposition in unfavorable starting position. Linfield specials teams have been flipping fantastic in the first three games of the year and Linfield will need another big effort from this group.
DB’s up the challenge: This Boxer trio of receivers might be the best Linfield will face this season. Nathan Suyemastsu, Jason Smith, and James Berry have combined for 77 of the Boxers 98 completions through the first four games. All four are fantastic rout runners and can cause a lot damage after the catch and are going to challenge what I think is an exceptional group of Linfield defensive backs. This match-up is going to be a key in Saturday’s outcome.
Value the ball and limit mistakes: Turnovers and penalties can swing games like this out of your favor. It’s imperative that Linfield not only secure the football and make good decisions with it but also don’t kill offensive drives or extend their offense with silly infractions. I know that Linfield showed improvement last week with the yellow laundry and that will need to be the cast this weekend as well.
‘Cats by 7. This is what college football Saturday’s in the ‘Catdome are all about. Pacific is a tough and capable football program and Linfield is going to have to bring it to win this football game. If all three phases can fire off and execute for all four quarters, this will be the ‘Cats game to win. If Linfield stumbles around the field, the ‘Cats are going to get more than they bargained for. I’m putting my money on the ‘Cats to come out sharp and ready to perform. I can’t wait to see it go down.