Wildcats are 6-0 and Bearcats are 4-2
SALEM, ORE. -- Willamette University and Linfield College, archrivals in many sports, will renew their football rivalry on Saturday, Nov. 1 in McMinnville, Ore. Kickoff for the Northwest Conference game is set for 1 p.m. (PDT). Linfield, ranked #5 in the D3Football.com Top 25, is 6-0 overall, 4-0 in the NWC. The Bearcats are 4-2 on the season, 2-2 in the NWC.
You can listen to Willamette's Live Audio and follow Live Stats provided by Linfield during the game. The webcast will feature play-by-play from Mike Allegre and commentary from Brandon Chinn starting at approximately 12:45 p.m. You can pay to watch Live Video supplied by Linfield.
Willamette running back Dylan Jones (Sr., RB, Santa Maria, CA/Ernest Righetti HS) has been a featured athlete in the Bearcats' offense this season. He has carried the ball 147 times for 1,044 yards and 12 touchdowns. He has now rushed for 2,302 yards and 28 touchdowns in his career.
Jones is within 196 yards of the Willamette single season rushing record of 1,240 yards, set by Drew Ecklund in 2002. In addition, Jones needs 557 yards in the Bearcats' final three games to reach the school record of 2,859 career rushing yards, set by Stan Solomon from 1957-60.
This year, Jones ranks second in NCAA Division III with 174.0 rushing yards per game. He is sixth in rushing touchdowns and is eighth in scoring with 12.0 points per game.
Jimmy Sharpe (So., RB, Walnut Creek, CA/Northgate HS) has contributed 140 yards to the rushing attack on 31 carries, while Ryan Foote (Jr., WR, Sherwood, OR/Valley Catholic HS/Allan Hancock JC) has rushed for 132 yards and one touchdown on 20 carries.
Derek Traeger (Sr., WR, Mount Angel, OR/John F. Kennedy HS) leads Willamette in receptions with 27 catches for 263 yards and one touchdown. Foote leads the team with 345 receiving yards and five scores. He has caught 18 passes overall. Beau Smith (Sr., WR, Roseville, CA/Roseville HS) has hauled in 17 passes for 191 yards and two touchdowns.
Willamette quarterback Trent Spallas (So., Elk Grove, CA/Franklin HS) has completed 53.3% of his passes for 812 yards, seven touchdowns and six interceptions. He has connected on 66 of 124 passes.
The Bearcats rank 13th in NCAA Division III in red zone offense with scores on 22 of 24 red-zone possessions. Willamette has scored 19 touchdowns and three field goals after moving the ball inside the opponents' 20-yard line.
Willamette's defense continues to be led by Jack Nelson (Sr., ILB, Portland, OR/Jesuit HS). He has registered 35 unassisted stops plus 29 assists for 64 total tackles. He also ranks first on the team with 6.0 tackles for loss. Jimmy Roberts (Jr., ILB, Galt, CA/Galt HS) has earned 32 tackles for the Bearcats.
Mark Mulligan (So., DL, San Francisco, CA/Archbishop Riordan HS) ranks third on the team with 27 total tackles, while Benjamin Jahn (Fr., OLB, Juneau, AK/Thunder Mountain HS) has earned 26 tackles, including a team-high 3.0 quarterback sacks.
As a team, the Bearcats have intercepted eight passes and broken up 42 passes. Wendell Galvan (Sr., CB, Bothell, WA/Bothell HS) leads the way with three interceptions and 10 pass break-ups. He ranks third in Division III with 2.2 passes defended per game.
Bryan Toles (So., DB, Clovis, CA/Clovis North HS) has gained a solid 9.9 yards per punt return and Beau Smith has gained 21.6 yards per kickoff return. David Cheng (Jr., P/DB, Dublin CA/Dublin HS) has averaged 35.3 yards per punt. Conner Mertens (Fr., PK/P, Kennewick, WA/Southridge HS) is 29 of 30 on extra points and 3 for 3 on field goals.
Linfield ranks third in NCAA Division III in total defense and 18th in total offense. The Wildcats have limited their opponents to 201.3 yards per game, while the Linfield offense has averaged 494.2 yards per game.
With opponents held to just 8.5 points per game, the Wildcats are ranked fourth in the nation in scoring defense. Linfield is eighth in scoring offense with 46.8 points per game.
Quarterback Sam Riddle (So.) is in charge of the Linfield offense. He has completed 91 of 134 passes for an impressive 67.9%. His passes have covered 1,400 yards and resulted in 16 touchdowns. He is passing for 233.3 yards per game. He has scored six rushing touchdowns.
Key receivers for the Wildcats are Charlie Poppen (Sr., WR) and Evan Peterson (Sr., WR). Poppen has grabbed 33 passes for 543 yards and eight touchdowns. Peterson has caught 20 passes for 348 yards and four touchdowns. In addition, Brian Balsinger (Jr., WR) has achieved 17 catches for 178 yards and one score.
The Wildcats have rushed for a total of 214.3 yards per game. Tavon Willis (Jr., RB) has gained 240 yards and four touchdowns on 50 carries. Bryan Cassil (So., RB) follows with 236 yards and three touchdowns on 31 carries, while Samuel Robinson (So., RB) has produced 221 yards on 44 carries. Robinson has scored two touchdowns.
Place-kicker Michael Metter (So.) has converted 33 of 35 extra points. He is 7 of 10 on field goals, including a long of 49 yards against George Fox University. Punter Kevin McClean (So.) has averaged 41.6 yards per punt with 15 of 23 punts inside the 20-yard line. He ranks ninth in Division III in punting average.
Kennedy Johnson (So., CB) leads the Wildcats with 9.3 yards per punt return. Jordan Giza, brother of former WU player Tyson Giza ('14), is averaging 8.9 yards per punt return. Cassil has provided an average of 20.6 yards on seven kickoff returns.
Willamette will be on the road for the third consecutive week next Saturday, when the Bearcats take on Pacific University in Forest Grove, Ore. Kickoff on Nov. 8 is set for 1 p.m. (PDT).