by Joshua Omdal
The Whitworth Pirates were unable to stop the fifth-ranked and undefeated Linfield College Wildcats, losing 65-13. Whitworth struggled on the defensive end of the ball, giving up over 709 yards in total offense to Linfield.
In mid-season Northwest Conference play, Linfield picked up their fifth win improving to 5-0 overall and leading the conference with a record of 3-0.
The Linfield defense established dominance early in the game, slowing down Whitworth’s normally fast-paced and productive offense. Linfield sacked Whitworth senior quarterback Bryan Peterson five times and forced two interceptions. The Pirates were held to a season-low 264 yards.
“We are constantly trying to improve ourselves each week. We try to win the battles against ourselves and learn from our mistakes and successes,” Peterson said. “On Saturday we lost the battle against ourselves and it showed in the game.”
Linfield took an early lead over the Pirates, 20-0, early in the second quarter. Whitworth finally placed a score on the board thanks to a 29-yard passing touchdown from Peterson to senior wide receiver Drew Clausen.
Before the first half was over, Linfield tacked on two more scores to bring the lead to 35-7.
Whitworth’s defense was unable to stop Linfield’s aerial attack led by sophomore quarterback Sam Riddle. Riddle threw for three touchdowns in the second half by spreading the ball out to three different receivers.
“I’ve been in the Division III level of coaching for a while now, and Linfield is definitely the best team top to bottom,” Head Coach Rod Sandberg said. “We learned a lot about the big picture aspect of our program. This game was a great motivating factor for next season.”
With three more games left in the regular season, The Pirates currently stand at fifth place in the Northwest Conference, but are still in the running for the second place spot.
Whitworth plays at home against University of Puget Sound this Saturday, Oct. 25, in the Pine Bowl at 1 p.m.