Records 17 Total Tackles against Hardin-Simmons
SALEM, ORE. -- For the second consecutive week, Willamette University inside linebacker Ralph Pineda (Sr., Los Angeles, CA/Cathedral HS/San Jose State Univ.) has been chosen Northwest Conference Football Defensive Student-Athlete of the Week. Pineda received his most recent award for leading Willamette's defensive efforts against Hardin-Simmons University on Saturday, Sept. 11.
During the game at Hardin-Simmons, Pineda topped all players with a game-high 17 total tackles. He earned 2.5 tackles for losses and also intercepted a pass. His interception at the Willamette 15-yard line thwarted a Hardin-Simmons drive in the second quarter. Led by Pineda, WU limited HSU to 99 rushing yards on 38 carries (2.6 avg.).
The Cowboys, ranked #14 at the time, held off the Bearcats, ranked #13, by a final score of 31-22. Hardin-Simmons moved up to #8 in this week's D3football.com Top 25, while Willamette remained #13.
Pineda also earned NWC Defensive Student-Athlete of the Week recognition for his performance in the Bearcats' season opener at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point on Sept. 4. Against UWSP, he registered 10 total tackles, intercepted a pass and recovered a fumble, helping the Bearcats win the battle of Top 25 teams, 33-14.
Last year, Pineda received Third Team All-America and First Team All-West Region honors from D3football.com. He finished the season with 81 total tackles to rank second on the Willamette defense. He was chosen First Team All-NWC and was named NWC Defensive Player of the Year.
The Bearcats will play their third straight Top 25 opponent when they take on Southern Oregon University, ranked #24 in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), on Saturday, Sept. 18. Game time at McCulloch Stadium is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. (PDT).