Monday, October 10, 2016

‘Cats Win!!! Linfield steamrolls Pacific in second half to put away the Boxers 48-10.

The 'Cats walked on passed their second NWC test of the 2016 season.
Heck yeah.  That was a good team win this past weekend up in Forest Grove. Linfield jumped out to a quick 13-0 lead in the first minutes of the football game and looked like might cruise to an easy victory but the ‘Cats left the door open for Pacific with four first half turnovers as the Boxers cut the ‘Cats lead to 13-10 late in the first half and off another turnover had a chance to tie the game up heading to half and facing a 4th and 1 from Linfield’s 23 yard line the Boxer’s lined up for a field goal attempt.  The ‘Cats called a timeout right before the snap and the Boxers place kicker sliced his meaningless kick almost into the Boxer’s sideline (looked like one of my golf shots).  After seeing that, the Boxer coaching staff thought twice and sent their offense back on the field to try to convert the first down and get a closer field goal attempt but Linfield safety Mikey Arkans made the play of the day by jumping an out route and raced up the Linfield sideline 84 yards to push the game to a 20-10 Linfield lead as the ‘Cats would never look back on their way to a 48-10 blowout.

While the ‘Cats did have their first half turnover struggles, this was the first true test Post-UMHB that the ‘Cats had and Linfield passed with flying colors. I thought that the ‘Cats defense was tremendously physical up front and the Linfield secondary was excellent (that group will only get better as we get back some key players from injury) and Linfield’s rushing attack wore out the Boxers up front as the game went on and set up the ‘Cats big play passing attack in that second half.  Was it perfect for Linfield?  Not even close and while it may have been a tad frustrating in that first half, the great news is this Linfield team still has tremendous room to grow in multiple areas.

I still believe that Linfield’s best football in 2016 is still in front of them. All of the components of a great football team are all there for Linfield but the ‘Cats have to start choking out the issues that have been holding this group back from playing at the highest possible level.  

The Good

Second Half Adjustments: Fantastic halftime adjustments by the Wildcat offense that had to make some adjustments to the Pacific defense and came out and salted the game away with that 21 point outburst in the 3rd quarter of play. There was zero panic or frustration in the locker-room at halftime from the ‘Cats coaching staff or players. In fact, Coach Smith seemed to relish in the fact that Linfield had some adversity that this team needed to respond to and they did just that. The Boxers came out at the break hyped up beyond belief to be only down 10 to Linfield but the ‘Cats quickly extinguished any hopes of it to be a four quarter ballgame quickly.

Overall Defensive Effort:  I thought the Wildcat defense played a hell of a game this past weekend.  The ‘Cat defense was put in tough position after tough position and responded by only allowing a single touchdown on the day and held the Boxer offense in check by only allowing 258 yards of total offense (3.4 yards per play) and only allowing Pacific to go 3 of 20 on 3rd down. I thought all three levels of the Wildcat defense played a strong football game.

The Rushing Attack: One of Linfield’s best rushing games of the season as the ‘Cats ran for 224 net yards off of 40 rushing attempts.  That is good for a 5.6 rushing average, and two rushing TDs. I thought the Linfield offensive line did a great job in matching the physical intensity of the Boxers and Wildcat running back stable did a fine job in getting more North/South and hitting the holes aggressively.  That running threat was the key in setting up the huge bombs the passing game was able to hit in that second half.

Rushing Defense: Loved it. The Boxer’s best rushing play was the quarterback scramble as Pacific’s QB led their team in rushing with 47 yards on seven scrambles. However, when it came to set rushing plays the Boxers could only manage 47 yards on 21 attempts.  The ‘Cats ate up the Boxer rushing attack and with blunt physical tackling.  Including this bone jarring tackle by Linebacker Jason Farlow in the 1st half of play.

Big Play Offense: The Boxers defense were determined to take away the timing passing game and the sidelines of the Linfield passing attack so Linfield adjusted by going over the top. Sam Riddle three long touchdowns of 44, 40, and 58 yards to three different targets (Erick Douglass III, Reed Peterson, and Bryan Cassill) to help put the Boxers to bed. Added to the mix was the backbreaker when running back Sutter Choisser broke free from 40 yards out, juked a Boxer defender clean, and cut backed from about 15 yards out to put the dagger in Pacific.

Blanket Coverage:  Linfield has a darn good secondary and that was in full display this Saturday. The Wildcat’s defense held Pacific to 17 of 48 passing for 164 yards (3.4 yards per attempt), 7 knockdowns, and two huge interceptions, including the game altering 84 yard pick six by safety Mikey Arkans with 15 seconds left in the first half when Linfield was holding onto a 13-10 lead. A huge day by the ‘Cats secondary.

The Bad

Four First Half Turnovers: The Wildcats might have pitched a shutout this past Saturday but turnovers reared their ugly head in that first half and allowed Pacific to stay in the ballgame and threaten to make it closer before the Arkin’s pick six.  The ‘Cats have yet to have a turnover free game and need to work on tightening up this area as the season continues.

Third-Down Conversion: The ‘Cats offense could manage a 2 out 12 performance on 3rd down this past Saturday vs Pacific. It was a combination of miscues that prevented the ‘Cats from extended multiple drives in that first half.  We had snaps on the wrong count, dropped passes, interceptions, etc. While the offense did get the big play going in the second half, I’m sure the offense won’t be pleased with their 3rd down performance.

Penalties: Ten yellow flags for 70 yards is just too much for my taste. There were just some silly flags that crippled promising drives or put the offense is terrible field positon.

The Ugly

Pacific’s Turf:  Wow, I remember walking on the Boxers turf back in 2013 and didn’t think it was in that great of shape and the past three years hasn’t been very kind to the surface.  I mean, Donald Trump has a better rug than the turf at Hanson Stadium. That has to be the worst surface in the NWC and that’s saying something considering Puget Sound’s grass field is hot garbage.

1 comment:

DS said...

Whoa! That must be bad if you sent UPS down a notch.