Willamette Wins NWC Opener 42-13 over Whitworth

By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6110

SALEM, ORE. -- The Willamette University football team, ranked #18 in the D3Football.com Top 25, built a 21-0 halftime lead on its way to a 42-13 victory over Whitworth University in the Northwest Conference opener for both teams, on Saturday, Oct. 3 at McCulloch Stadium. Willamette improved to 4-1 on the season, 1-0 in the NWC. Whitworth fell to 2-3 overall, 0-1 in the NWC.

Deon Horne (Sr., TB, Issaquah, WA/Liberty HS), who rushed for 92 yards on 16 carries, opened the scoring with a 26-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. Ralph Pineda (Jr., ILB, Whittier, CA/Cathedral HS/San Jose State Univ.) scored on a 14-yard fumble recovery for a 14-0 lead in the second quarter.

Scott Schoettgen (Jr., WR, Columbia, CA/Sonora HS) scored two touchdowns for Willamette on catches of 20 yards and 14 yards. His first touchdown gave the Bearcats a 21-0 lead with 48 seconds left in the first half. His second score, with 0:41 remaining in the third quarter, provided Willamette with a 35-6 advantage.

The Bearcats rolled up 340 yards of total offense to go with 17 first downs. Willamette rushed for 180 yards on 44 carries and threw for 160 yards on a 12 completions.

Kevin Ramay (Fr., QB, Simi Valley, CA/Grace Brethren HS) connected on 9 of 11 passes for 124 yards and two touchdowns. He also carried the ball five times for 15 yards and another TD. Brian Widing (Fr., QB, Oregon City, OR/Canby Union HS) completed 3 of 5 passes for 36 yards and one touchdown.

Schoettgen caught five passes for 90 yards. He is Willamette's leading receiver this season with 20 catches for 412 yards. His performance against Whitworth sent his career statistics over the 1,000-yard mark. He has earned 51 receptions for 1,057 yards and 13 touchdowns in his three seasons with the 'Cats.

Horne's 92 rushing yards led all players on both teams. For Willamette, Terrell Malley (Fr., FL, Portland, OR/Roosevelt HS) added 35 yards on eight carries. Adam Anderson of Whitworth, who returned to action after missing nearly three full games due to injury, topped the Pirates with 32 yards on 11 carries.

Whitworth quarterback Andrew Durant was 12 of 19 in the air for 144 yards, one touchdown and one interception. The Pirates were 15 of 24 passing overall. Eric Entel led the Whitworth receivers with eight catches for 127 yards and a touchdown.

An interception by Willamette's Harmon Bruno (So., OLB, Danville, CA/San Ramon Valley HS) set up the game's first touchdown. Bruno hauled in the pass at the the Willamette 49 when Durant tried to convert on 3rd-and-14 from the Whitworth 43.

The Bearcats used just 1:07 to score, as Horne rushed for 16 yards, Schoettgen caught a 9-yard pass from Widing, and Horne completed the drive with his 26-yard scoring jaunt. Mitchell Rowan (So., PK/P, Cotati, CA/Rancho Cotate HS) converted the extra point for a 7-0 advantage.

On Whitworth's ensuing possession, the Pirates committed another turnover on 3rd-and-15 at their own 12-yard line. Anderson rushed for two yards on the play and was still battling for additional yardage when Pineda stole the ball. Pineda ran 14 yards into the end zone on the fumble return.

Whitworth responded with a 12-play, 54-yard drive that moved the ball to the Willamette 17-yard line. The drive ended without any points when Andy Largent missed on a 35-yard field goal attempt.

Two Willamette possessions later, the Bearcats put together a 98-yard drive that lasted 15 plays and used up 9:34 on the clock. The 'Cats converted five third downs on the drive, including three times at 3rd-and-10 or longer.

Key plays on third down included passes of 22, 25 and 20 yards from Ramay to Schoettgen and a 21-yard pass to Chad Pollard (So., WR, Bakersfield, CA/Liberty HS/Bakersfield College). Schoettgen's 20-yard catch brought the ball into the end zone.

The Bearcats increased their lead to 28-0 on the opening drive of the second half. Pollard grabbed a 24-yard pass from Widing for the touchdown with 10:20 left in the third quarter. Willamette drove 55 yards on eight plays.

After the kickoff, Durant led Whitworth on a 72-yard scoring drive. The key plays were a pair of lengthy passes to wide receiver Eric Entel. The first pass covered 33 yards on 3rd-and-21 from the Pirates' 17-yard line. Four plays later, Durant found Entel on a 35-yard pass for a touchown. The extra point attempt was blocked.

Willamette followed with a 15-play drive that included another lengthy pick-up on third down. The Bearcats faced 3rd-and-20 at their own 27 before Ramay completed a 21-yard pass to Pollard. An 11-yard run by Ramay and two pass interference penalties on Whitworth converted three more third downs. Shoettgen scored on yet another third down on a 14-yard pass for a 35-6 lead.

The Bearcats held Whitworth to 230 total yards on 50 offensive plays. The Pirates rushed for just 68 yards on 26 carries (2.6 avg.).

Pineda led Willamette's defensive efforts with 11 total tackles, including one sack, to go with his forced fumble and touchdown. Junior middle linebacker Layton Brown registered 13 tackles for the Pirates.

Willamette kept the ball for 34:39 despite having possession for only 2:18 in the first quarter due to Whitworth's pair of turnovers. The Bearcats were successful on 9 of 14 third down conversions and went 1 for 1 on fourth down. Whitworth converted 3 of 10 third downs during the game.

On Saturday, Oct. 10, the Bearcats will return to action at Lewis & Clark College. Game time in Portland, Ore., is scheduled for 1 p.m. (PDT).

BOX SCORE
Willamette University 42
Whitworth University 13
Scott Schoettgen caught five passes for 90 yards and two touchdowns. He now has 51 career catches for 1,057 yards and 13 TDs.

Scott Schoettgen caught five passes for 90 yards and two touchdowns. He now has 51 career catches for 1,057 yards and 13 TDs.

Kevin Ramay

Kevin Ramay

Ralph Pineda stripped the ball and scored on a 14-yard fumble return. He's shown here making a tackle against California Lutheran on Sept. 12.

Ralph Pineda stripped the ball and scored on a 14-yard fumble return. He's shown here making a tackle against California Lutheran on Sept. 12.