McMINNVILLE, Ore. – Third-ranked Linfield threw seven touchdown passes while rolling to a 54-14 win over visiting Whitworth on Saturday afternoon at Maxwell Field.
Two late Pirate touchdowns prevented one of the largest margins of defeat in Whitworth history as the Wildcats ran away with the game by scoring touchdowns on five straight possessions spanning the second and third quarters.
The early minutes did not portend such a rough day for the Bucs. After forcing a punt the first time Linfield had the ball, Whitworth's Kinoa Raguindin forced a fumble that was recovered by Kyle Davidson at the Pirate 18 yard line.
But Bryan Peterson's pass was intercepted by Linfield's Brandon Funk on the very next play. Funk returned the interception to the Pirates' 13-yard line. One play later Wildcat QB Mickey Inns hit Deidre Wiersma with a 13-yard TD pass, setting up three straight Linfield touchdowns.
Freshman RB John Shaffer ran in from eight yards and then Inns hit Charlie Poppen for a 31-yard touchdown pass on Linfield's next two possessions to build the lead to 21-0. Inns would hit Wiersma one more time just before halftime to give the Wildcats a 28-0 lead at the break.
The Wildcat defense was just as tough as its offense in the first half, holding Whitworth to a total of 30 net yards in the first two quarters.
Inns would pass for two more touchdowns on Linfield's first two possessions of the second half, the first 28 yards to David Sigler and the second eight yards to Zach Young. Back up QB Josh Yoder threw a pair of touchdowns the next two times the Wildcats had the ball in the third quarter. His first went for 52 yards to Evan Peterson and the second for six yards to Derek Priestley.
Whitworth got on the board with six minutes left in the game when back up QB Michael McCune lobbed a six-yard touchdown pass to Austin Ehlo. DJ Tripoli added a 20-yard touchdown run with 1:33 to play to give the Bucs their second touchdown.
Linfield outgained Whitworth 585-225 and had a 30-13 edge in first downs.
Peterson finished 9 of 21 for 88 yards yards with one interception. McCune completed four of five passes for 54 yards and his fourth touchdown of the season. Jake DeGooyer caught six of his passes for 69 yards, while Ehlo had two receptions for 20 yards. Tripoli led the Pirates in rushing with 67 yards on 13 carries. Ronnie Thomas, still banged up from previous injuries this season, finished with 20 yards on 16 carries.
Inns completed 23 of 32 passes for 261 yards with five touchdowns and no interceptions for Linfield. Yoder was 5-5 for 78 yards. Poppen caught five of the passes for 86 yards, while Evan Peterson had four catches for 86 yards. Shaffer ran for 108 yards on 15 carries.
Raguindin led the Whitworth defense with a career-high 15 tackles. Scott Carr added 11 stops.
Whitworth will return home to host Puget Sound next Saturday at 1:00 p.m. in the Pine Bowl.