TACOMA, Wash. – For a half, the Puget Sound football team looked to be upset-minded but Pacific Lutheran took over in the second half to win 41-14 over the Loggers on Homecoming Day. The Loggers and Lutes were locked in a defensive struggle and were tied 14-14 at the half.
Turnovers plagued both teams in the game and especially in the first half as both teams had two turnovers in the first quarter. The Lutes (5-2, 4-1 NWC) took over eight minutes on their opening drive to drive into the red zone but fumbled on the 16 yard line. Ryan Rogers pounced on the fumble to gain possession for the Loggers (0-7, 0-4 NWC).
After the teams traded punts, Braden Foley was intercepted by Ben Kaestner for the Loggers first turnover of the game. Two plays later, Matt Gilbert turned the tides back for the Loggers as he picked off Dalton Ritchey. However, Connor Cummings returned the favor for the Lutes as he hauled in a pass that appeared to slip out of Foley's hand in the wet conditions.
Despite the montage of turnovers, the Logger offense finally put together a scoring drive to break the silence on the scoreboard. Foley found Kevin Miller in the end zone on an 18-yard strike to give the Loggers a 7-0 lead.
Ritchey responded just over a minute later as he completed a 42-yard pass to Kyle Warner to tie up the game at 7-7. The Loggers marched right back down the field and Foley found Adam Kniffin this time from 18 yards out to reclaim the lead for the Loggers.
The Lutes had better ideas than going into the break down seven. Ritchey hit Brandon James in the flat for a four-yard score that tied things back up. With less than two minutes before the half, the Loggers called a couple of run plays with the score tied and time winding down.
However, Austin Wagner broke a 43-yard run as he bounced off tacklers and slipped down the sideline to the Lutes' 34. The Lutes defense stiffened and forced a 45-yard field goal attempt, which fell just short from Everett West.
Wagner had a breakout day on the ground with 105 yards on 17 carries. Adam Kniffin had five catches for 56 yards and a touchdown to lead the Loggers in the air.
The Lutes decided to throw a Hail Mary with 23 seconds left but it was Connor Savage who came down with the ball for the Loggers at midfield. He returned it all the way back to the Lutes' 22. However, West's field goal attempt from 39 yards this time sailed right and the teams remained tied at 14-14.
The defenses continued to battle in the early goings of the third quarter. The Lute's defense was the first to come up with the big play as Sean McFadden made a diving interception to swing momentum in the Lutes favor. Niko Madison cashed in the advantage on a four-yard run to give the Lutes a 21-14 lead.
On the next drive, Sam Lavis came up with a key sack for the Lutes and also forced Foley to fumble on the Loggers'10. The Lutes jumped on the ball and Cody Pohren scored one minute later for a 28-14 Lute lead.
On the first play of the fourth quarter Max Mirande picked off Ritchey for the Loggers third INT of the day with hopes the Loggers could swimg momentum back in their favor. They marched down to the Lutes' 31 but turned the ball over on downs. Madison scored on a 24-yard scamper two minutes later and Doug Sullivan returned a fumble for a touchdown shortly after that to put the game away for the Lutes.
The teams combined for 10 turnovers, which included a late pick from Joe Cerne for the Loggers fourth interception of the day, in a rain-soaked game. Cody Pohren rushed for 100 yards for the Lutes on 13 carries and Kyle Warner tallied seven of the lute's 12 catches for 115 yards. The Lutes had just 136 yards total through the air.
The Logger stay home next weekend as they welcome third-ranked Linfield for their final home game of 2012. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m.