|Erick Douglas III (#11) and the 'Cats offense left Pacific defense dazed and confused.|
|Photo courtesy from Brad Thompson: View Brad's photos here|
I had a few people poke some fun at me for only picking the ‘Cats by 7 points in this past week’s game preview. Yeah, instead of 7 point spread it was closer to 70 but Pacific is a solid team it would have been disrespectful to roll out a 40 point victory predictions. I truly thought Pacific would give the ‘Cats more of a run with their Senior laden offense and experience but I was about as far off a score pick that is about humanly possible.
Linfield was superior in just about every possible way that you could imagine in the ‘Catdome this past weekend. Saying the ‘Cats blew the doors off of Pacific might be a bit of an understatement. The Boxers did have a few shots to make the game a little more competitive but if you make mistakes against the ‘Cats when Linfield is rolling, it’s going to get ugly real quick.
In being around the team before the game, I knew the ‘Cats were dialed in. The mood in the locker room was right. Last week up at L&C, it was more loose and guys were cutting it up a little more before the game but not this week. You could see it in the players’ demeanor that they were ready for what they thought was going to be a challenger and I had zero doubts that Linfield was looking past the Boxers.
For Pacific, that has to hurt even more than last year’s skunking at the end of last season. The Boxers had all of last season to mull over what went wrong and devise a game plan with a veteran group of players to only see themselves run into a bigger buzz saw again. Coach Buckley (who has done a good job building the Boxer program) said in the pregame interview on the Boxer radio broadcast that some Pacific faithful were complaining that the Boxers had to come back to McMinnville this year but he stated that he wouldn’t want it any other way. Buckley stated he want to measure up his program against Linfield at the ‘Catdome. Well, Linfield was more than happy to provide the Boxers with the measuring stick that turned out to, once again, be a whooping stick.
The Good, The Bad, The Ugly
Total Team Effort: We’ve been waiting for all three phases of this Linfield team to put it together and they did just that this past weekend. You could feel it in the locker room before the game. It was a group that was locked in and focused on the task in front of them and Linfield delivered. Very proud of the team approach and how guys rally around each other on this Linfield team. That was the Linfield team that we all knew was there. Now, let’s see if the ‘Cats can keep it rolling.
Offensive Production: 698 total yards of offense (243 yards rushing, 455 yards passing), 0 turnovers, 9 touchdowns scored in 11 times touching the ball. That was so much better than anyone could have expected. Such a crisp and sharp performance for the Wildcat offense. They did what they wanted, when they wanted and I’m sure defensive coordinators in the Northwest Conference are going to watch this game and start to sweat.
Defense putting the clamps on the Boxers: Warner Shaw came into this game completing 70% of his passes for 320 yards passing a game and Linfield held Shaw to 11 of 21 yards for only 68 yards of passing before exiting the game at half. If it was the coverage getting Shaw to pull it down, it was the Wildcat pressure he was feeling. Shaw just didn’t look comfortable against the Linfield defense once again. Outstanding effort by Linfield in only allowing 200 total yards and 10 points against a very competent offensive football team.
|Alex Hoff (#55) came up with a huge early 1st quarter sack and forced fumble against Pacific.|
|Photo courtesy from Brad Thompson: View Brad's photos here|
Special Teams are once again special: The ‘Cats special teams scored their 3rd and 4th touchdowns on the season off a tremendous misdirection punt return to open the game and then the head’s up play by punter Kevin McClean when the Boxers forgot to cover gunner Cory Stowell, as McClean took what should have been a punt and lofted pass to Stowell who made one Boxer miss and was off to the races for the 66-yard TD. Linfield special teams continue to shine as a major weapon and they made Pacific look silly once again.
Linfield owning 3rd down: I called this a key down in the game preview and Linfield proved me correct as the ‘Cats would go 10 of 12 on 3rd down, while holding Pacific to 6 of 16 on the day. Sam Riddle was 5 of 6 on 3rd down in the 1st half and his accuracy was a critical reason why the ‘Cats offense laid the hammer on the Boxers in the 1st half.
‘Cats Offensive Line: I think it’s safe to say this was the Linfield offensive line’s best game of the year. They’ve had to spend the first three games of the year working out some kinks and shuffling the deck a little bit but this group jelled for a top flight effort against the Boxers. If the O-Line can continue to provide the lanes for the run game and time for Riddle in the pocket, the ‘Cats offense will continue to be dangerous.
Linfield Defensive Backs: I’ve been singing our DB’s praises since camp opened and this group passed their first true test with flying colors. The Boxers have some very good receivers and a strong passing game and the ‘Cats blanked the Boxers receivers, made plays on the ball, and shut down the Pacific passing game. A strong effort by the Linfield defensive backs.
Looking….Looking…Looking…nope. Pretty darn good performance all around by Linfield.
Poor Boxer Cheerleaders: With the score about 64 – 7 late in the 3rd quarter I was filming on the visitor sideline (the turning trees is a great backdrop this time of the year) and all of the sudden I hear this top of the lungs screaming from a female Pacific student that was standing up in the visitor grandstand dressing down the Boxer cheerleading squad for not doing enough cheering on the team. She was all over these cheerleaders for not giving the Boxers enough encouragement and that you keep on cheering and supporting your team no matter what the situation. O.K., sure. But it’s not the cheer squads fault that the Boxers weren’t giving them anything to cheer about. I felt bad for those young women who had to stand there and take that type of garbage.
Bonus Ugly: To the adult Boxer fan on the sideline that started yelling at Linfield for showing “no class” when Kevin McClean hit Cory Stowell for the 66 yard pass during a punt attempt to make the score 43-7 late in the 1st half. 1) Pacific just scored and was doing all they could to get back in the game. 2) Not Linfield’s fault Pacific didn’t cover Stowell, that’s on the Boxers. 3) Is Linfield obligated to take the foot off the gas in the 1st half of a football game with Pacific still trying to get back in it? 4) Maybe if the Pacific cheerleaders yelled louder, the game would have been closer
Linfield Running Back Andy Nelson drops some serious bars in his hip-hop Linfield Football anthem "Catdome". You know I'll be rolling around with the windows down blasting this today on the way home from work.