Whitworth Stays Perfect With 24-7 Win Over UPS - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Whitworth Stays Perfect With 24-7 Win Over UPS

Whitworth controlled the clock and the field position to improve to 5-0 overall and 2-0 in the NWC this season. Whitworth controlled the clock and the field position to improve to 5-0 overall and 2-0 in the NWC this season.

Whitworth Athletics

TACOMA, Wash. – Whitworth University controlled the field position and the clock during a 24-7 Northwest Conference football win at Puget Sound on a windy, rainy day at Baker Stadium.

What had been expected to be an offensive shootout between two of the top-ten passing teams in Division III instead was dominated by the Pirate defense, rushing attack and special teams.  Whitworth controlled the clock and the field position to improve to 5-0 overall and 2-0 in the NWC this season.

The defensive domination was particularly stout in the second half, when the Pirates sacked UPS quarterbacks six times (for seven total sacks in the game) and only allowed the Loggers to reach as far as the Whitworth 49-yard line one time.  UPS had only three first downs and 40 yards of total offense after halftime. 

The Loggers (2-2 overall, 1-1 NWC) were unable to convert a single third down (0-14) or fourth down (0-2) in the game and the Pirates finished with a 3-2 edge in turnovers.

Whitworth's best offensive drive of the game came in the opening quarter while moving against the wind.  The Pirates went 95 yards in 11 plays, culminated by Duke DeGaetano's four-yard touchdown run. DeGaetano ran for 46 yards on that possession before scoring his eighth rushing touchdown of the season.

Whitworth increased the lead to 15-0 early in the second quarter when Ian Kolste passed to Kevin Thomas for a ten-yard touchdown in the back corner of the endzone.  DeGaetano ran in a two-point conversion.  That touchdown was set up by Alex Myrick's 26-yard run out of a fake punt.

UPS began its only scoring drive of the game at the Whitworth 37-yard line late in the second quarter after Kevin Miller returned a punt 14 yards and 15 more yards were added on following a flag for a late hit out of bounds.  Hans Fortune's 23-yard pass to running back Max McGuinn set up the Loggers with a first down inside the Whitworth five yard line.  One play later Fortune found Miller for a three-yard scoring pass that cut the margin to 15-7.

UPS had its best offensive possession of the second half after taking the third quarter kickoff.  Consecutive passes for first downs moved the Loggers to midfield.  But they would get no further than the Whitworth 49-yard line.  They would also only get one more first down the rest of the game.

A few minutes later Whitworth found itself deep inside Logger territory after a shanked punt.  Kolste carried in from 11 yards away for the Pirates' final touchdown with 10:06 left in the third quarter.

At that point head coach Rod Sandberg was happy to play the field position game as Whitworth attempted very few passes the rest of the way.

It worked to perfection as UPS never again reached Whitworth territory and the Pirates kept the ball for more than 19 minutes of the second half.

The final Whitworth points came when Jacob Elder sacked backup QB Tanner Diebold in the endzone with 2:39 left in the game.

Seven different Pirate players had sacks on Saturday, including one by Aaron Powe that gives him a team-high 3.5 this season.  Taylor Roelofs led the team with seven tackles and broke up three passes.  Dalin McDonnell intercepted his fourth pass over the last three games, while Daniel Portillo and Chad Wilburg each had a fumble recovery.

DeGaetano finished the game with 159 yards on 46 attempts as Whitworth ran the ball 61 times in the game – by far the highest rushing attempt total since Sandberg became head coach and Alan Stanfield became offensive coordinator before the 2014 season.

Kolste completed 14 of 34 passes for 137 yards with one touchdown and one interception.  Thomas caught four of those passes for 50 yards and a score, while Garrett McKay had four grabs for 22 yards. 

Robert Thullen punted seven times for an average of 30.6 yards.  But that last figure is deceiving as several of his second-half punts came deep in UPS territory and he pinned the Loggers inside the ten-yard line three times.  

Rehn Reiley missed his only field goal attempt, but he had three touchbacks on his four kickoffs.

Fortune, who came into the game as Division III's second-leading passer, completed 14 of 33 attempts for 162 yards with one touchdown.  He was sacked three times.  Diebold finished 5-10 for 60 yards with an interception.  Miller caught 12 passes for 121 yards.

Thanks in large part to the seven sacks, the Loggers finished the game with -37 yards rushing.  McGuinn ran eight times for a net of 16 yards.

Whitworth returns to action next Saturday at home against Pacific Lutheran.

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