Posted by Eric Evenson
We have an intriguing matchup today pitting the Linfield Wildcats and the visiting Western Oregon Wolves. One thing we can expect from Western Oregon is a big, physical and talented team. The Wolves may be first team in 2008 that could overmatch the Wildcats with their athleticism. Linfield is coming off a less than impressive win last weekend at Puget Sound but a win is a win nonetheless, espcially with a few injuries and coming off a dissapointing loss to Willamette the week prior.
One storyline to look for today is the Linfield quarterback play. Both Cole Franklin and Cole Bixenmann saw time last weekend, with Franklin getting the start before being relieved Bixenmann. Expect both to see time again today, with Frankling expected to get the start again this Saturday. As is the case always, turnovers will be the factor to decide Linfield’s sucess today. Joe Smith thinks this is the stoutest of tests today and giving the Wolves extra possessions will be especially costly this afternoon.
Turnovers and quarterback play will be the deciding factors today.
20 minutes before the annual Hall of Fame game, the crowd is ushering into the stadium and we can expect a hotly contested matchup.
13:20 – Linfield holds WOU at midfield, forcing a punt to P.J Sequeira…the kick is fair caught at the Linfield 23
12:42 – Reggie Ford gets things going with an 11-yard run
10:44 – Ford with a huge second effort get the first down on third down and five. Ford is getting the bulk of the action early, it looks early that the ‘Cats are going to ride him.
9:28 – Trick-eration! Franklin goes 53 yards on a double reverse. Franklin hands it Ford…who flips it to Torsey… who flips it back to Franklin who goes the distance. A very unique play in the sense that a reverse or pitch back to the quarterback usually means pass… but when you have a guy like Franklin….might as well take it the distance!
8:35 – Josh Riddell shows he is fleet of foot as well, scrambling down to the Linfield 37 yard line
6:18 – 33-yard field goal missed… Linfield still leads 6-0… I previously did not mention that WOU blocked the Linfield extra point.
4:51 – The Wolves take over at the Linfield 43 yard line. Return converage has been a litle sloppy here early for the Wildcats.
3:38 – Riddell again makes something out of nothing. Scrambling to the Linfield 45 on a third and ten.
1:37 – Bubba Lemon breaks up the pass but was unable to come down with the interception.
END OF THE FIRST QUARTER: 6-0 LINFIELD
12:33 Linfield shanks a punt and once again the Wildcats have given the Wolves great field position at their own 45. You have to tip your cat to the Linfield defense thus far, they have played outstanding even when the special teams have not aided the cause.
11:00 – Linfield hold, Gus Morrisson on the stop, forcing another WOU punt.
10:32 – P.J. Sequeira takes a fair catch at the Linfield 2-yard line. The ‘Cats have a big field in front of them. You just have to get positive yards here and get your punter some space to get a quality punt off.
8:10 – First and 10 Wolves at the Linfield 41 after a short kick from the endzone.
6:26 – And the Wolves are on the scoreboard. Riddell finds Demario Ballard for a 35-yard strike. Ballard has about six inches on any Linfield member of the secondary. I think we just saw a glimpse of what the Wolves will do in future red zone opportunities… just huck it up to D.B.
6:00 – Bixenmann enters the game but is faced with brutal field position, now facing a second down and 12 from the Linfield 12
3:56 – Shaun Kauleinamoku takes a punt back to the Linfield 21 to start the drive.
2:54 – 36-yard field goal is good
WOU 10, LIN 6
2:49 – Linfield takes over at its own 23 yard-line. Screen to Ford out to the 41.
2:24 – Buddy Saxson down to the WOU 44.
1:50 – Ford can’t find space on a screen pass and the drive stalls. WOU calls a timeout.
1:18 – Personal foul keeps the drive clicking for the Wolves. WOU is now set up with a first and ten from the Linfield 41.
53 seconds – Linfield holds with a Tyler McCann interception. Linfield still have 75 yards to go for a score.
26 seconds – Buddy Saxon over the middle down to the WOU 41 yard line.
14 seconds – Frankling takes a sack and now Linfield is out of field-goal range back to the 48.
10-6 Wolves lead it at half.
You have to like where the Wildcats are right now. They were dominated in the field possession battle the entire half and come away righ there in the ballgame. It looked early on that Linfield was going to simply pound the rock with Ford, but went away from him consistantly after the first few drives. Look to see the same. You have to get Ford going a little more on the ground Franklin has run wild with 71 yards of rushing but has only completed six passes. Western Oregon needs to force Linfield into passing situations and keep Franklin in the pocket. This game is slowly shaping into quite a dandy with two teams really competing.
9:32 – Linfield has really put together a nice drive to start the half, all the way down to the Western Oregon 15 yard-line. A lot of balance in terms of passes and runs. Franklin is getting into a better rhythm through the air and Ford is providing a little more lightning.
7:32 – Linfield takes its second timeout of the drive. There seems to be a little confusion on what they are trying to do on this third and 14.
6:46 – Birkhofer’s field goal is block for 29 field goal… recovered by Russell Sells at the WOU 3-yard-line.
The play was reversed to WOU… now the officials are talking the play over. And WOU will take over at its own 20 yard line. This was really a break Linfield needed. This has a been a very clean game in terms of the fact that neither team has turned the ball over. In a contest like that, one turnover can really turn the tide.
1:11 Ford goes down with an injury, he is helped off the field. I assume Lamson will be getting the carries the rest of the way.
4:03 Linfield takes over at its own 27.
15 seconds: Birkhofer hits from 35 yards out. 10-9 WOU leads.
12:55 – Linfield forces Western to punt. The crowd has really gotten going. It has been a groggy day througout but with the lights coming on and the rain coming down… this place is turning into an action-packed finish.
9:17 – And Western breaks off a huge play. A misdirection pass to Kuenzi. From the Linfield 44 down to the three yard line. Western scores on the next play. 17-9 Western leads.
6:16 : Masters with the catch on third and 10 for a huge first down.
5:12 – Lamson fumbles the football on a screen pass…WOU takes over on the Linfield 29.
4:19 – Tyler McCann with the pick! The senior comes up with a huge play on what seemed to be a broken play.
3:09 – Franklin on a keeper out to the 31 for a first down.
1:57 – ‘Cats are really driving now inside WOU territory to the WOU 45.
30 seconds – Franklin’s pass on third and three falls short and the ‘Cats fall as well 17-9.