THIS WEEK: The Pacific Lutheran University football team travels to Thousand Oaks, Calif. this week to take on the nationally ranked California Lutheran Kingsmen. Coming off a 27-0 win over visiting Hamline University, the Lutes will face their first real test of the season this weekend. Kick off in Thousand Oaks is scheduled for 1 p.m.
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.
VENUE CHANGE: Cal Lutheran was hoping to show off its new football stadium when it hosts the Lutes on Saturday, but the game has been moved to nearby Moorpark College. According to a Cal Lutheran press release, "Nearly 60 days of rain have caused delays in the construction of William Rolland Stadium. The sidewalks may not be complete until Thursday, Sept. 15, at the earliest, and that may not allow enough time for building officials to determine whether the field and grounds could be used for the game against Pacific Lutheran University. In order to give Pacific Lutheran sufficient notice as to where the game will be held, CLU officials have decided to hold the game at Moorpark College instead."
SERIES HISTORY: The Lutes and Kingsmen have met 16 times in the two team's previous history, which dates back to 1967. This non-conference match up has become a yearly occurrence as the two teams have met every year since 2004. Overall, the Lutes hold a 9-7 edge over the 16 game series. Last season, at Sparks Stadium, PLU won a 35-21 decision over the then-No. 15 Kingsmen.
A LOOK AT CAL LUTHERAN: The California Lutheran Kinsmen come into this week's game with a 0-1 record on the season. Last week, in McMinnville, Ore., the Kingsmen dropped a 24-14 decision to No. 7 Linfield College. However, Cal Lutheran remains in the d3football.com Top 25 poll, sitting this week at No. 19. The Kingsmen look to have a strong squad in 2011, returning 18 of 22 starters from a 2010 team who won the SCIAC crown. Quarterback Jake Laudenslayer leads the offense for the Kingsmen. The senior passed for 220 yards last week against Linfield. Junior wide receiver Eric Rogers provides a big play threat for Cal Lutheran. Last week, Rogers caught four balls for 91 yards. In last season's playoff loss to Linfield, Rogers caught 11 balls for 216 yards and two touchdowns.
ABOUT THE COACHES: Scott Westering is in his eighth year as head coach at Pacific Lutheran, where he has compiled a 35-29 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 has led Cal Lutheran to three conference titles in four previous seasons, including back-to-back SCIAC championships in 2009 and 2010. Now in his fifth year at his alma mater, McEnroe has a 28-11 overall record. McEnroe has been a part of the Cal Lutheran coaching staff for every SCIAC championship in program history. He was an assistant coach for the Kingsmen offensive line in 1997 which featured three all-SCIAC selections. McEnroe brings 19 years of coaching experience including stints as the Offensive Line coach at his Alma mater CLU from 1993-98 and at Division II Humboldt State from 1999-2002.
LUTES LAST YEAR: Pacific Lutheran finished with an 8-1 overall record in 2010. The Lutes were 5-1 in the Northwest Conference, good for second place behind Linfield, but were not extended an at-large bid to the NCAA Division III national playoffs.
CAL LUTHERAN LAST YEAR: The Kingsmen were 8-2 overall in 2010, including a 6-0 conference record and a Division III first-round playoff loss at Linfield.
LAST YEAR: Pacific Lutheran made lots of big plays on both sides of the football last season on the way to a convincing 35-21 non-conference football victory over the then No. 15-ranked Cal Lutheran Kingsmen at Sparks Stadium. One year after getting drubbed by the Kingsmen, 49-7, the Lutes took control early and never let up in winning their second game in a row to start the season. Pacific Lutheran used a balanced offense attack to rack up 489 yards of total offense. Senior running back Alec Simmons surpassed his PLU career rushing total in one game, piling up 225 yards on just 18 carries. His 67-yard touchdown run, in which he bounced off of a couple of would-be tacklers, came less than a minute in the second half. It took away any momentum the Kingsmen may have had after they cut their deficit to 14-7 on the first play of the second half, a 72-yard touchdown run by Daniel Mosier. The PLU defense, which gave up more than 45 pounds per man on the line, used quickness and aggressiveness to wreak some havoc against Cal Lutheran. The Lutes shut out the Kingsmen in the first half and finished the game with five takeaways. Cornerback Trevor Fox recording his second consecutive two-interception game and also forced a fumble, one of two recovered by the Lutes in the game. Mike Wickens had an interception and Cameron McMillan and Erik Magnussen both had fumble recoveries. PLU scored on its opening drive, going 88 yards on nine plays with Kyle Whitford sweeping right on a 1-yard scoring run. Wide receiver Greg Ford caught three passes on the drive, all for first downs, including taking the ball away from two defenders on a 48-yard reception to open the game. The Lutes made it 14-0 in the second half, capping an 11-play, 80-yard drive on Jordan Rasmussen's 3-yard pass to Blake Gorle, who hung onto the ball in a crowd. The scoring play came on a fourth-and-goal situation. At the half, the Lutes had out-gained the visitors, 261-109 in total yards. Cal Lutheran got untracked on the opening play of the second half when Mosier, who rushed for 202 yards and three touchdowns against Linfield, bulled through some arm tackles on his way to a 72-yard score. No sooner had the crowd settled back down then Simmons, on PLU's first play from scrimmage, went around the left on the way to his 67-yard score. The Kingsmen made it 21-14 on their next possession, driving 57 yards on nine plays to score on Jake Laudenslayer's 1-yard quarterback sneak. The next score came on a fake field goal by the Lutes, and was the result of a lucky bounce. The fake didn't fool the Kingsmen, who forced holder Tyler Bowen to put up a hopeful pass to Jordan Davison at the goal line. J.D. Austin and Broc Galbreth collided with Davison, knocking the ball away, and it floated into the arms of PLU running back Brandon James, who grabbed it on the 2-yard line and then stepped into the end zone, culminating the 14-yard scoring play. On Cal Lutheran's next play from scrimmage, Wickens intercepted Laudenslayer's pass and returned it to the CLU 32-yard line. One play later, Rasmussen lofted a pass into the right corner where Ford leaped high to make the catch for the touchdown, their third scoring connection in two games. The Kingsmen scored the game's final points on Lee Mondol's 8-yard pass to Eric Rogers with 2:56 left. In compiling 225 rushing yards, Simmons became the first PLU running back to gain more than 200 yards in a game since Aaron Binger gained 212 yards on 31 carries against Whitworth on Nov. 17, 2001. Rasmussen completed 13-of-27 passes for 189 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions, and Ford led the receivers with five catches for 116 yards. Mychael Tuiasosopo had a pair of sacks for the PLU defense. Cal Lutheran finished with 380 total yards, 153 on the ground and 188 through the air.
DEFENSE STANDING STRONG: Returning six starters from a season ago, the Pacific Lutheran defense began the 2011 season with a bang last Saturday afternoon against Hamline. The Lutes held the Pipers to 144 total yards in the victory. Sophomore Sean McFadden and senior Jordan Davison led a Lutes secondary that only allowed 47 passing yards. Davison also added a first quarter interception, one of two PLU takeaways on the day. Sophomore linebacker Jordan Patterson led the Lutes with six total tackles, while senior linebacker Adam Schwander had five tackles, including two for loss and a quarterback sack, and a fumble recovery.
ZACK ATTACK: Quarterback Zack Halverson performed well in his first collegiate start for PLU. The senior from Bellingham, Wash. led a balanced Lutes attack, completing 15 passes for 163 yards. The quarterback linked up with nine different receivers on the day including senior Tyler Christianson, who caught a game-opening 34 yard strike. Halverson also threw for two touchdown passes without turning the ball over in his debut.
PLU 27, HAMLINE 0: Pacific Lutheran used a stingy defense and a solid performance from a young offense to defeat Hamline, 27-0, in the football season opener for both teams played on a warm Saturday afternoon at Sparks Stadium. The Lutes shut out an opponent for the first time since October 27, 2007, when Lewis & Clark was a 39-0 victim. Perhaps the highlight of the game for the defense was a late goal-line stand by second and third team players, who kept the Pipers out of the end zone despite a first-and-goal situation from the 2-yard line. On the other side of the ball, the PLU offense played with poise despite returning only three offensive starters from last season's 8-1 team. Senior quarterback Zack Halverson, making his first collegiate start, did not turn the ball over in guiding his offense to 289 yards of total offense. Halverson, who threw an incompletion on his only previous collegiate pass, was 15-for-26 for 163 yards with two touchdowns. Halverson completed his first pass for 34 yards to Tyler Christianson, and he culminated PLU's game-opening eight-play, 72-yard drive with a 4-yard touchdown toss to Tim Orr. The defense got the ball right back for the offense when it stopped Hamline on a surprising fourth-and-five play from the Hamline 35-yard line. Adam Schwander sacked Connor Sathre for a 10-yard loss. After a five-yard Hamline penalty, Brandon James carried 20 yards for a touchdown, and his two-point conversion run made it 14-0 in PLU's favor with 9:18 left in the first period. Pacific Lutheran added a touchdown just before the half, Halverson hitting Lucas Sontra with a 3-yard pass to cap a nine-play, 60-yard drive. The Lutes, using the clock by mostly keeping the ball on the ground, capped the scoring with second half field goals measuring 37 and 22 yards by Nick Kaylor. While those field goals may not seem remarkable, it marked the first time since Nov. 9, 1996, that Pacific Lutheran had successfully kicked two field goals in one game. That day, Chris Maciejewski kicked 33- and 42-yard field goals in a 28-27 overtime loss to Willamette. After that, it was up to the PLU defensive reserves to maintain the shutout, which they did in the waning seconds of the contest. A total of 29 different PLU defensive players were credited with a tackle, led by linebacker Jordan Patterson with six, including two for losses totaling six yards. Linebacker Adam Schwander had five tackles, including two for losses of 12 yards, and he also recovered a fumble. Jordan Davison had a tackle for loss and an interception for the Lutes. The Pacific Lutheran defense had two takeaways. James led the PLU ground game with 77 yards on 16 carries, while Christianson and Alex McDiarmid both had three catches to lead PLU in that category. Blake Cook had 47 yards on 13 carries for the Pipers, who netted 97 yards on 46 carries in the game. A pair of quarterbacks completed 5-of-18 passes for 47 yards as the visitors from St. Paul, Minn., managed just 144 net yards on 64 plays. Hamline's Josh Bain led all defensive players with 10 tackles, including one for loss, while Marc McDoanld had seven tackles.