Just like your hard-working mailman, Pacific Lutheran University delivered through rain, snow, sleet and hail Saturday afternoon at the Pine Bowl, where the Lutes put a 41-18 postmark on the Whitworth Pirates.
It was the kind of cold, miserable, wet afternoon which must have once put Dr. James Naismith in mind of an indoor sport with a round ball and a hoop. However, despite their seven turnovers, neither the weather nor Whitworth was much of an obstacle for the Lutes.
The victory, in their Northwest Conference of Independent Colleges opener, bumped the Lutes to 4-1 for the season, while Whitworth (0-5) dropped its 13th straight game.
PLU running back Peter Finstuen rushed for 185 yards and two touchdowns and caught five passes for 80. Quarterback Dak Jordan completed 14 of 23 passes for 249 yards, and Brian Van Valey scored two second-half TDs.
So one can see why the Lutes weren’t bothered much by their five lost fumbles - they recovered four others - and two interceptions. Almost 600 yards in total offense will do a lot to relieve a coach’s anxiety.
Whitworth’s Casey Doyle passed for two second-half touchdowns and Brion Williams caught five balls for 72 yards, but before the wet stuff hit at the beginning of the second half, the Pirates were down 21-0 as PLU scored on three quick first-half drives.
It was Pacific Lutheran’s defense, though, that had started the Lutes in the right direction. Whitworth drove to the PLU 26 on the Pirates’ first possession, but the Bucs fizzled there, and Jordan took his teammates 70 yards in seven plays and 2:38. Finstuen scored on a 3-yard sweep, but Jordan’s 36-yard pass to Karl Lerum on the preceding play did the most damage.
PLU went 63 yards in three plays - all Finstuen runs - barely 2 minutes later. He bounced 19 yards off the right side for the TD that made it 14-0 after Chris Macjiejewski kicked the extra point.
The Pirates persisted in trying to run against a PLU defense which presented nine- and 10-man fronts, and the Whitworth offense was unable to take advantage of two straight second-quarter PLU turnovers.
Finally, after a short punt, Jordan hit Van Valey for 31 yards and tight end Cale Piland for 15, and the Lutes led 21-0. They almost scored again in the last seconds of the first half, but the Pirates held on downs at their 6.
Whitworth threatened to make a game of it in the first minute of the second half after Andy Clark’s interception on the first play of the third quarter. It took Doyle only two plays to take the Pirates in, on a 23-yard pass to Dave Glenn.
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