Whitworth, bounced from the Northwest Conference football title race with last week’s loss, will try to keep Linfield from celebrating a championship today.
The Pirates (4-4, 2-2) are heavy underdogs against No. 12 Linfield (6-1, 4-0), which has defeated every conference foe by at least two touchdowns, at 1 at Maxwell Field in McMinnville, Ore. The Wildcats clinch at least a share of the conference championship and a berth into the NCAA Division III playoffs with a win today or next Saturday versus Lewis & Clark.
The Wildcats have won six straight after losing to Cal Lutheran 47-42 in their season opener. They’ve scored at least 30 points in every game. They lead the NWC in scoring offense (43.0 ppg) and defense (15.0). Quarterback Aaron Boehme, the NWC offensive player of the year in 2009, leads the conference in total offense (291.1 yards per game). Defensive lineman Eric Hedin has 15.5 sacks.
“They’re very deserving of being ranked in the top 15,” Whitworth coach John Tully said.
Sophomore Taylor Eglet, who opened the season as the starting quarterback, will get another shot at starting after directing Whitworth’s two scoring drives in last week’s 28-12 loss to Willamette. Tully said running back Adam Anderson will go through pre-game drills to test an injured ankle that kept him out of last week’s game. The coach said the stability of Linfield’s FieldTurf compared to Whitworth’s softer grass surface could improve Anderson’s chances of playing.
“Any loss is going to impact you but because he can change a game it really does,” Tully said. “We had opportunities (against Willamette) and we were able to move the ball but we just dropped a lot of passes and we haven’t seen that before.”