By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
McMINNVILLE, Ore. -- Linfield College isn't used to having two losses this early in the season, but that's where the Wildcats sat after a 21-14 loss to Carroll College (Mont.) and a 19-14 loss to Whitworth University. The Wildcats, who were ranked #25 in the D3football.com Top 25 Poll at 1-2, took out their frustrations on Willamette University on Saturday, Oct. 6, as Linfield defeated the Bearcats, 59-0, at Maxwell Field. Linfield evened its record at 2-2 overall and 1-1 in the NWC. Willamette fell to 1-3 on the season, 0-2 in the NWC.
The Wildcats scored 17 points in the first quarter and held a 31-0 lead at halftime. Linfield finished with 564 yards of total offense and limited the Bearcats to 136 total yards. Artie Johnson rushed for 119 yards on 11 carries for Linfield, while teammate Chidubem Nnoli gained 118 rushing yards on 17 carries. Johnson scored three touchdowns, while Nnoli added one. Linfield quarterback Wyatt Smith completed 13 of 19 passes for 165 yards and one touchdown with no interceptions.
For Willamette, Mathew Castaneda (Jr., QB, Salinas, CA/Salinas HS) was 12 of 23 passing for 76 yards and one interception. Doug Jackson (Fr., QB, San Juan Capistrano, CA/San Juan Hills HS) saw his first significant action and went 3 of 4 for 17 yards.
Zach Eutsey (Fr., TE, Lincoln, CA/Lincoln HS) of Willamette caught six passes for 33 yards. Jeremiah James (Gr./Sr., WR, Salem, OR/South Salem HS/Chemeketa CC) grabbed two passes for 30 yards. Miles Bryant (So., QB, Pasadena, CA/Bishop Alemany HS) ran two times for 18 yards. Jackson Lewis (Sr., LB, Yakima, WA/A.C. Davis HS) led the Bearscats on defense with nine total tackles, including seven unassisted stops.
Castaneda's first pass of the day on 3rd-and-3 at the WU 37-yard line was intercepted by Tyler Bergeron, who returned the pick-off 40 yards to the end zone. Willy Warne kicked the extra point to give Linfielld a 7-0 lead. Later in the first quarter, Johnson scored on an 11-yard run at the 5:22 mark to end a 12-play, 75-yard drive by the Wildcats. Warne tacked on a 26-yard field goal with 53 seconds left in the quarter, as Linfield grabbed a 17-0 advantage.
Willamette's best chance to reach the end zone was on the possession for the Bearcats that followed Warne's field goal. WU took over at its own 25-yard line after the kickoff resulted in a touchback. The Bearcats eventually earned a first down at the Linfield 14-yard line. On 4th-and-14, Castaneda thrw an incomplete pass and the drive ended on downs. The drive covered 57 yards on 12 plays.
A 25-yard pass reception by J.D. Lasswell on a pass by Smith provided Linfield's next score with 6:04 left in the half. The touchdown completed an 11-play, 82-yard drive. Linfield increased its lead to 31-0 just eight seconds before halftime when Johnson scored on a 47-yard run and Warne converted the extra point.
The Wildcats added three scores in the third quarter, starting with a 4-yard run by Nnoli. Johnson added a 10-yard scamper to finish a 12-play, 79-yard possession. The third touchdown was scored by Tala Teaupa on a 5-yard running play with 1:38 to go in the quarter. Teaupa earned the game's final touchdown on a 13-yard run with 12:20 left in the fourth quarter.
Linfield rushed for 316 yards on 47 carries. The Wildcats completed 15 of 23 passes for 214 yards, with J.D. Lasswell leading the Linfield receivers with four catches for 60 yards and one touchdown. Willamettte was held to 34 rushing yards on 24 carries. Three WU quarterbacks were a combined 16 of 31 passing for 102 yards and two interceptions.
The nine tackles by Lewis of Willamette were three more than any other player in the game. For the Bearcats, Elijah Crockett (Jr., DB, Phoenix, AZ/Cesar Chavez HS) and Keaton Adams (Fr., LB, Colorado Springs, CO/Doherty HS) each registered six tackles, including five solo stops apiece. Duke Mackle topped Linfield's tackle chart with six stops -- all unassisted.
Willamette will take on George Fox University at McCulloch Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 13 in the Homecoming/Family Weekend Game. Kickoff is slated for 1:30 p.m. (PDT).