Linfield, Ranked #8 in NCAA Division III, Shuts Out Bearcats, 40-0

Nick Brickous (Sr./Jr., DB, Mesa, AZ/Perry HS)
Nick Brickous (Sr./Jr., DB, Mesa, AZ/Perry HS)

By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications

McMINNVILLE, Ore. -- Linfield, ranked #8 in the Top 25, rushed for 218 yards on 49 carries, and added 149 yards through the air, as the Wildcats shut out Willamette University, 40-0, in a Northwest Conference game on Saturday, Oct. 15. Linfield improved to 4-1 on the season, 3-0 in the NWC. Willamette fell to 2-4 overall, 1-2 in the NWC.

Four Linfield players rushed for more than 30 yards. Spencer Payne led the way with 14 carries for 56 yards and one touchdown, while Bryan Cassill gained 52 yards on eight carries. Quarterback Sam Riddle rushed six times for 45 yards and two scores. Sutter Choisser provided four carries for 31 yards.

Riddle was 12 of 21 passing for 149 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Reed Peterson topped the Wildcats with three catches for 28 yards. Johnny Carroll hauled in two passes for 31 yards and a touchdown.

Taylor Wyman (Sr., RB, Bellevue, WA/Issaquah HS) of Willamette ran 21 times for 65 yards. He was held below his season average of 118.2 yards per game, but he still has rushed for 656 yards this season.

WU quarterback Ryan Knowlton (Jr., QB, Puyallup, WA/Emerald Ridge HS) connected on 5 of 10 passes for 46 yards. He had no interceptions. Knowlton rushed six times for 21 yards.

Nick Brickous (Sr./Jr., SS, Mesa, AZ/Perry HS/U.S. Military Acad.) led the Willamette defense with seven total tackles -- all unassisted. He recorded one sack and one tackle for loss. Rayvon Owens (Sr., FS, El Cajon, CA/Christian HS) intercepted two passes. The top tackler for Linfield was Mitch Lewis with eight stops, including 3.5 tackles for loss. Jason Farlow and Skylor Elgarico each recorded six tackles.

Linfield owned a 14-0 lead at the end of the first quarter. The Wildcats extended the margin to 23-0 at halftime.

The Wildcats scored on the game's opening possession after driving 58 yards on eight plays. The key play of the drive was on 3rd-and-13 at the WU 40-yard line when Riddle threw a 23-yard pass to Carroll. Three plays later, on 3rd-and-1 at the 8-yard line, Riddle hit Carroll in the end zone. Cayman Conley kicked the extra point.

Willamette started its first possession at its own 30-yard line. The Bearcats moved the ball to the Linfield 21, but Wyman was stopped for a 4-yard loss on 4th-and-1. Prior to the fourth-down play, Wyman had rushed for 27 yards on five carries. The drive also included a 16-yard pass from Knowlton to Kevin Martz (Jr./So., WR, Salem, OR/South Salem HS/Claremont McKenna College).

Linfield took over and drove 75 yards on nine plays, with Payne reaching the goal line on a 3-yard run. Conley's kick gave the Wildcats a 14-0 lead.

In the second quarter, Linfield added nine points. Riddle rushed for 30 yards for a touchdown on 3rd-and-14 at the 10:55 mark, but Conley's two-point conversion run failed. Conley tacked on a 33-yard field goal with 57 seconds left in the half.

Willamette had to punt on the fourth play of the second half, and Linfield gained possession at the WU 42. The Wildcats advanced to the Willamette 19. On 3rd-and-7, Riddle was intercepted by Owens at the WU 14.

The Bearcats were forced to punt four plays later. Linfield took over at the WU 41, but the Willamette defense allowed just one first down. The drive ended with Conley kicking a 47-yard field goal, as Linfield claimed a 26-0 lead. Later in the quarter with 2:33 on the clock, Riddle carried the ball 11 yars for a touchdown. The extra point kick was good.

Elgarico scored the final touchdown of the game for Linfield on the first play of the fourth quarter. He reached the end zone on a 4-yard run. Conley kicked the PAT.

Willamette will play at home next weekend against Pacific University on Saturday, Oct. 22. Game time at McCulloch Stadium is scheduled for 1 p.m. (PDT).