Whitworth offensive lineman Jeff Kintner called it the most fun he’s ever had playing football.
For good reason.
The Pirates overcame a two-touchdown deficit in the second half, and Andy Largent’s 30-yard field goal in the second overtime was the difference in a 24-21 victory over Pacific Lutheran in a Northwest Conference game at the Pine Bowl.
The Whits (4-5, 2-3 NWC) conclude their season next week at Lewis and Clark.
Whitworth knotted the score at 21-21 with 4 minutes remaining in regulation on Sean Scott’s 6-yard touchdown run, but the Pirates avoided an unfortunate result when PLU place-kicker Richard Isett banged a 37-yard field goal attempt off the left upright with 10 seconds left in the final quarter.
After both teams failed to score on their respective possessions in the first overtime, Largent gave Whitworth a three-point lead with his field goal. PLU (2-5, 2-2) moved the ball to the Pirate 6 on the ensuing possession, but Whitworth’s defense wrapped up Lutes running back Cody Pohren in the backfield on fourth-and-1 to seal the victory.
“Everybody just believed,” said Kintner, one of 10 seniors playing his final collegiate home game. “It’s that feeling: Never give up. We could’ve been down 30, but you’ve got that fire in you where you’ve got to believe. We definitely had that.”
Kintner and Michael Nahl formed the left side of the Pirates’ offensive line, and Whitworth coach John Tully said the duo was the impetus behind a resurgence in Whitworth’s rushing attack. Fifteen of the Pirates’ 21 carries in the first half gained 2 yards or fewer. After halftime, however, Whitworth gained 121 yards on the ground.
“I felt the guys on the offensive line picked it up from tight end to tight end,” Tully said.
Kintner added: “The entire offensive line knuckled down and came out with a passion and fire. We were going to move (the Lutes).”
PLU grabbed a 21-7 lead on Sean Snead’s 55-yard touchdown romp early in the third quarter, but the Whits pulled within seven on Milton Nelson’s 6-yard touchdown run with 1:06 left in the quarter.
Whitworth’s Derek Stottlemyer denied PLU’s attempt to stretch the lead when he came off the edge to block Isett’s 27-yard field goal attempt. The Pirates then took the ball 80 yards in eight plays to tie the game on Scott’s touchdown.
Nelson paced the Whitworth running game with 89 yards on 26 carries, and Anthony Lessier added 52 yards on six carries off the bench.
Freshman quarterback Taylor Eglet was 16 for 30 for 189 yards through the air.
PLU quarterback Jordan Rasmussen completed 25 of 45 passes for 281 yards, but he was just 13 for 28 in the second half and also threw two interceptions. Greg Ford caught six passes for 103 yards.
Rasmussen orchestrated a pair of scoring drives in the first half that sparked the Lutes to a 14-7 lead after two quarters. The PLU junior was 12 for 17 for 161 yards before halftime.
Rasmussen completed five passes for 73 yards on the Lutes’ first scoring drive, capped by Cody Pohren’s 1-yard touchdown plunge. The PLU quarterback then led his team for a touchdown 37 seconds before halftime, completing six passes on an 11-play, 70-yard drive before Pohren’s 2-yard touchdown run.
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