Pineda Chosen NWC Defensive Student-Athlete of the Week

Achieves 10 Tackles, Plus Fumble Recovery and Interception

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

SALEM, ORE. -- Willamette University senior inside linebacker Ralph Pineda (Los Angeles, CA/Cathedral HS/San Jose State Univ.) has been selected Northwest Conference Football Defensive Student-Athlete of the Week for his efforts in the Bearcats' road victory on Saturday, Sept. 4. Pineda led WU's defense, as the Bearcats defeated the the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, 33-14, in a battle of Top 25 teams.

Entering the game, UW-Stevens Point was ranked #16 in the Top 25 Preseason Poll, while Willamette was ranked #18. Following the win, the Bearcats moved up five spots to #13 in this week's poll. The Pointers fell out of the Top 25.

Pineda recorded a game-high 10 total tackles, including six solo tackles, against the Pointers. He also recovered a fumble and intercepted a pass, which he returned 44 yards. His fumble recovery at the UWSP 4-yard line with 7:38 in the fourth quarter led to Willamette's final touchdown on the next play.

Last year, Pineda received Third Team All-America and First Team All-West Region honors from He finished the season with 81 total tackles to rank second on the Willamette defense. He was chosen First Team All-NWC and was named NWC Defensive Player of the Year.

The Bearcats will play their second consecutive Top 25 opponent this weekend when they take on Hardin-Simmons University, ranked #14, on Saturday, Sept. 11. Game time is set for 4 p.m. Pacific/6 p.m. Central in Abilene, Texas.

Ralph Pineda led the WU defense in the Bearcats' 33-14 win over UW-Stevens Point.

Ralph Pineda led the WU defense in the Bearcats' 33-14 win over UW-Stevens Point.