Willamette Set to Take on Lutes in Northwest Conference Match-up

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

SALEM, ORE. -- Willamette University, 6-0 on the season including three wins on the road, will take on Pacific Lutheran University, 3-2, in Puyallup, Wash., on Saturday, Oct. 20 in a key Northwest Conference game. Kickoff is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. (PDT). The Bearcats are 2-0 in the conference, while the Lutes are 2-1 in NWC action.

This week, Willamette is ranked in both national polls for NCAA Division III. The Bearcats are #19 in the AFCA Coaches Poll and are #22 in the D3football.com Top 25.

You can follow all of the action between Willamette and Pacific Lutheran through a Live Audio Webcast on the Bearcat Network. All of WU's football games in 2012 are being webcast, with road games featuring audio only. Audio and video is available during home games. Full Access Sports is the Bearcats' webcast provider.

Please note that when UStream runs an advertisement, you will not miss any of the webcast, which will pick up where it left off after the ad is finished.

A Live Video stream of the game will be provided by Pacific Lutheran. Live Stats from the game will be available on the PLU website.

Willamette leads NCAA Division III in passing offense with 392.2 yards per game. The Bearcats are second in the nation in total offense at 561.3 total yards per contest. In addition, Willamette is ranked fifth in scoring offense, as the Bearcats are averaging 44.8 points per game.

Quarterback Josh Dean (Dana Point, CA/Dana Hills HS) is ranked second in NCAA Division III with 372.3 passing yards per game. He has completed 178 of 259 passes (68.7%) for 2,234 yards and a school record 27 touchdowns. Jake Knecht (Sr., WR, Issaquah, WA/Skyline HS/Illinois State Univ.) leads the Bearcats with 41 catches for 557 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Running back Dylan Jones (So., Santa Maria, CA/Ernest Righetti HS) tops the WU rushing attack with 100.5 yards per game. He has carried the ball 119 times for 603 yards (5.1 avg.) and four touchdowns.

On defense, the Bearcats lead the NWC by allowing just 240.7 passing yards per game. Willamette also ranks first in the NWC in passing efficiency defense after limiting opponents to a 111.09 efficiency rating.

At the top of the WU tackle chart is Jack Nelson (So., ILB, Portland, OR/Jesuit HS) with 47 total tackles, including 28 unassisted tackles. Cullen Carroll (Sr., OLB, Petaluma, CA/St. Vincent de Paul HS) is second with 46 tackles, including team highs with 33 solo stops and 9.0 tackles for losses.

Pacific Lutheran leads the Northwest Conference in rushing defense, total defense and turnover margin. The Lutes have allowed just 95.2 rushing yards per game and have limited opponents to 340.8 total yards per game. PLU has forced 20 turnovers, while the Lutes have lost the ball 10 times in five games (+2.0 takeaways per game).

Dalton Ritchey (So., QB) has completed 104 of 168 passes (61.9%) for 1,453 yards and nine touchdowns. He has been intercepted just four times. Wide receiver Kyle Warner (So.) has caught 34 passes for 607 yards and three touchdowns.

Brandon James (Sr., RB) is the Lutes' top rusher with 60 rushing attempts for 339 yards (5.7 avg.) and four touchcowns. He is averaging 67.8 rushing yards per game.

The Lutes are led on defense by Greg Hibbard (So., S), who has earned 32 total tackles. Jordan Batterson (Sr., LB) follows next with 30 tackles, including 4.5 tackles for losses.

Pacific Lutheran has only lost to two nationally ranked teams. The Lutes suffered a 37-23 setback against California Lutheran University (now ranked #8 by D3football.com) in the season opener on Sept. 8 and lost to Linfield College (now ranked #3 by D3football.com), 31-24, on Sept. 29.

Josh Dean has thrown for 2,234 yards and 27 touchdowns this season.

Josh Dean has thrown for 2,234 yards and 27 touchdowns this season.