SALEM, Ore. – The Whitworth Pirates put an exclamation point on their undefeated regular season Saturday.
Leif Ericksen threw two touchdown passes and ran for another, and Mason Elms ran for two scores during a 28-point first quarter as the Pirates (9-0, 7-0 Northwest Conference) capped their regular season with a 52-0 victory against Willamette at McCulloch Stadium.
Whitworth’s other undefeated regular seasons came in 1954, 1955, 1960 and 2006.
The 12th-ranked Pirates are expected to receive a home game when they begin the NCAA Division III playoffs. The 32-team field will be announced Sunday afternoon.
Whitworth will carry a 14-game winning streak into the playoffs, the second-longest streak in school history.
Ericksen completed 13 of 15 passes for 198 yards, with no interceptions. He threw a 35-yard TD pass to Bryce Powers with 48 seconds left in the first quarter and a 33-yard TD pass to Brett Moser during the opening minute of the second quarter for a 35-0 lead.
Whitworth outrushed Willamette 226-58. Elms led the way with seven carries for 69 yards.
Powers finished with five receptions for 87 yards. Pirates senior Garrett McKay, with three receptions, became the school’s all-time leader with 250, surpassing the 248 of Wayne Ralph.
Chase Wilcutt had two of the Pirates’ five sacks. Weston Kroes led Whitworth with seven tackles.
Quarterback Mathew Castaneda rushed for 56 yards on six carries for the Bearcats (1-8, 0-7).
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