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September 14, 2010

Football Home Opener Pits PLU Against CLU

THIS WEEKEND: Pacific Lutheran (1-0) hosts California Lutheran (1-0), Saturday, 12:30 p.m., at Sparks Stadium in Puyallup. Both are NCAA Division III members, PLU playing in the Northwest Conference and Cal Lutheran in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC).

FOLLOW THE LUTES: You can listen to PLU football action throughout the year in the Tacoma area on KLAY 1180 AM with Steve Thomas and Karl Hoseth calling the action. The broadcasts are also available online on the KLAY website (www.klay1180.com). Additionally, listeners can access the PLU football broadcasts on the PLU athletics website at www.golutes.com, then clicking on Listen Live and following the link.

THE SERIES: The Lutes are 8-7 in the overall series, but the Kingsmen have won two in a row, including a 49-7 thumping of the Lutes last year in Thousand Oaks, Calif. That 42-point victory margin tied the largest by either team in the series that began with a 20-8 Cal Lutheran win back in 1967. Pacific Lutheran defeated Cal Lutheran, 49-7, back in 2000. PLU’s last victory in the series came in 2007 when the Lutes rolled 48-17 in Thousand Oaks.

LAST YEAR: California Lutheran raced out to a 28-0 halftime lead and cruised from there in defeating visiting Pacific Lutheran, 49-7. The Kingsmen scored on offense, defense and special teams in rolling to their largest margin of victory ever against a PLU team. Cal Lutheran led 49-0 after three quarters before the Lutes got on the board at the 6:31 mark of the fourth quarter on a 21-yard pass from Jordan Rasmussen to Drew Griffin. Rasmussen finished the game with 272 passing yards, six passes going to Greg Ford for a total of 93 yards and five ending up in the hands of Kyle Whitford for 105 yards. Cal Lutheran ended up with a 367-274 advantage in total yards and held the ball for 35 minutes to just 25 for the Lutes.

ABOUT THE COACHES: Scott Westering is in his seventh year as head coach at Pacific Lutheran, where he has compiled a 27-28 overall record. Scott joined the PLU coaching staff in 1981 after playing tight end for the Lutes under his father, Frosty Westering. Scott served as the Lutes' offensive coordinator from 1983-2003, helping PLU to two NAIA Division II and one NCAA Division III national championships, as well as four runner-up finishes. He has coached 11 first-team All-Americans, including the 1999 NCAA Division III Player of the Year, Chad Johnson. Scott was a captain and All-American tight end on the 1980 PLU team that won the Lutes' first NAIA national championship. He was inducted into the PLU Hall of Fame in 1998. Ben McEnroe is in his fourth season as Cal Lutheran head coach. McEnroe, a 1993 Cal Lutheran alum, has a 21-8 overall record and has been a part of the CLU coaching staff for every SCIAC championship in program history. In McEnroe’s first season as head coach in 2007, the Kingsmen went 5-1 in SCIAC play to earn a co-title, and the 2009 team finished with a perfect record in SCIAC en route to the championship and the program’s first berth in the NCAA Division III playoffs. Since 2007, McEnroe’s teams are 16-2 against SCIAC competition with two championships in three years.

ABOUT CAL LUTHERAN: On offense, transfer Jake Laudenslayer will replace three-year starter Jericho Toilolo at quarterback. Laudenslayer comes to Cal Lutheran from Marshall University. CLU must also replace Brian Stuart, the 2009 SCIAC Offensive Player of the Year, and it seems to have done that in the person of Daniel Mosier, who rushed for 202 yards and three touchdowns in the team’s opening win against Linfield. At wide receiver, Eric Rogers and fellow sophomore Matt O'Brien combined for 53 receptions, 750 yards and eight touchdowns as freshmen. Senior Carlton Richard is a big-play receiver and also handles punt and kick return duties. Former offensive lineman J.J. Gallagher is a physical 275-pound presence at tight end. On the offensive line, Cal Lutheran emphasized getting bigger and more physical after last year’s NCAA Division III playoff loss to Linfield. The starting line has two players over 300 pounds, includes a Division I transfer, and averages 292 pounds per man, not including the tight end. The Cal Lutheran defense is led by senior team captain Jordan Barta and senior Jeff Miller, a transfer from UCLA. The front six or seven will be a key for the CLU defense in 2010 with linebackers Loren Powers and Erik Chavez rounding out this group. Senior captain Brett Lewis leads a solid secondary that includes transfer Luis Villavicencio and Patrick Knox at the corners. Punter Josh Oosterhof and placekicker Jackson Damron both earned all-conference honors a year ago.

KINGSMEN LAST WEEK: Facing the team that ended its season in 2009, the No. 25-ranked Cal Lutheran football team exacted revenge with a 47-42 victory over No. 4 Linfield last Saturday at Mt. Clef Stadium. The Kingsmen overcame a 21-point first half deficit, led by Daniel Mosier’s 202 rushing yards and three touchdowns. Cal Lutheran scored 24 points in the fourth quarter, including touchdown runs of 45 and 49 yards from Mosier to complete the comeback. At halftime, Mosier had just eight yards on eight carries. After Linfield scored 28 unanswered points during the first half, the Kingsmen responded by scoring the next 24 points, including a 17-point run in just over seven minutes. Late in the fourth, CLU posted 17 more unanswered points with just over five minutes ticking off the clock. The two teams combined for 932 total yards of offense with the Wildcats racking up 507 and the Kingsmen accounting for 425. CLU junior quarterback Jake Laudenslayer  completed 11-of-21 passes for 173 yards with one touchdown and one interception in his CLU debut.

LUTES LAST WEEK: Senior quarterback Jordan Rasmussen threw four touchdown passes, including the game winner in the third quarter, to lead Pacific Lutheran to a season-opening 27-20 win over the host Hamline Pipers last Saturday afternoon in St. Paul, Minn. Rasmussen connected with Kyle Whitford on a 9-yard scoring strike with 8:01 remaining in the third quarter for what proved to be the winning touchdown. The score broke a 20-20 halftime tie, and from there the PLU defense managed to hold off several fourth quarter drives by the Pipers. Trailing 27-20, Hamline drove 69 yards in 13 plays only to miss a 38-yard field goal. Later in the final quarter, the Pipers started a drive at their own 42-yard line. They marched down the field with Blake Cook carrying nine times, including seven in a row, and got to the 2-yard line where a fourth-down pass fell incomplete. The 15-play drive took 7:34 off the clock, but the Lutes got the ball and were able to run off the final nine second to secure the victory. Rasmussen hooked up with Isaac Moog for the game's first score, converting a four-down play with a 27-yard scoring pass. Hamline took a 14-7 lead on a pair of touchdown passes before the Lutes sandwiched a pair of Rasmussen-to-Greg Ford scoring aerials around a pair of Hamline field goals. First, Rasmussen connected with Ford on a 35-yard touchdown, capping a 74-yard drive, to make the score 14-14 with 12:39 left. After John Broback knocked through 25- and 42-yard field goals for the Pipers, Ford caught a 56-yard touchdown pass from Rasmussen to make the score 20-20 at the intermission. The last scored came at the end of a four-play, 91-yard drive. At the half, the Lutes had out-gained the Pipers, 280-238 in total yards. The second half, however, was much more of a defensive battle as the Lutes finished the game with 383 yards on 51 total plays compared to 365 yards on 88 plays for the hosts. Hamline dominated time of possession, nearly 38 minutes to just 22 for the Lutes. Rasmussen finished 19-for-29 for 278 yards with the four touchdowns and one interception. Ford caught 10 balls for 152 yards and Moog added four receptions for 89 yards. Alec Simmons paced the running attack with 65 net yards on nine carries. Defensively, linebacker Richard Isett finished with 13 tackles, followed by defensive lineman Mychael Tuiasosopo with 12, and safeties Sean McFadden and Jordan Davison with 11 and 10, respectively. Trevor Fox had a pair of interceptions for the Lutes.

RASMUSSEN EARNS NWC HONOR: PLU senior quarterback Jordan Rasmussen earned Northwest Conference Football Offensive Player of the Week honors after leading the Lutes to a 27-20 road win over Hamline. Rasmussen, a product of Curtis High School in University Place, was 19-for-29 for 278 yards with four touchdowns and one interception. He threw scoring passes of 27, 35, 56 and 9 yards in the win.

HIGH PERFORMANCE FORD: Greg Ford, the Lutes’ senior wide receiver from Steilacoom, continues his move up PLU’s all-time receiving lists. With 10 receptions last Saturday at Hamline, Ford now has 155 career catches, which moves him past Chad Barnett (1990-93) and into sixth on the all-time list. His 152 receiving yards gives him 2,745 for his career, moving him past Craig Chiado (2004-07) and into fifth on that list. With two touchdown catches, Ford has 28 in his career, tying him with Aaron Tang (1991-94) for fourth on the Lutes football list.

PLU PICKED THIRD IN NWC: Pacific Lutheran came out third in the NWC Coaches’ Preseason Poll released Aug. 3. “We don’t use it as a motivating tool,” head coach Scott Westering said. “We’re busy focusing on us and that’s our approach; focusing on the best that we can be. Our guys love to be together. When you enjoy being together you can take ordinary things and make something out of them.”

NEXT GAME: The Lutes have a week off before opening Northwest Conference action on Oct. 2 against Puget Sound at Baker Stadium. Kickoff for that game is slated for 1 p.m.

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