PUYALLUP, Washington – Early self-inflicted wounds were too much for the Puget Sound football team to overcome as the Loggers lost at Pacific Lutheran, 23-13, in Sparks Stadium Saturday afternoon.
The Loggers (1-2, 0-1 NWC) trailed at halftime, 20-7, but righted the ship and outscored the Lutes (1-1, 1-0 NWC), 6-3, in the second half. Puget Sound has outscored its opposition in the second half of all three games this season.
Pacific Lutheran reached the end zone less than one minute into the game when quarterback Cole Chandler connected with Brady Winter for a 63-yard score. The Loggers' ensuing possession lasted just one snap, as a pass attempt by Tanner Diebold was deflect and intercepted.
Although Pacific Lutheran took over on the Loggers' 37-yard line, Puget Sound's defense stood strong and forced the Lutes into a turnover on downs.
The Loggers moved the ball with ease during their second possession. Early in the drive, Paul Thomas took a short toss from Diebold 34 yards up Puget Sound's sidelines and down to the Lutes' 42-yard line. From there, Thomas rushed three times for 20 yards, and Diebold's 13-yard touchdown scamper tied the game, 7-7.
In a daring move, the Loggers kept momentum by recovering an on-sides kick. Once again, Puget Sound appeared to move the ball with ease. Diebold completed an eight-yard pass to Collin Heimbach, an 11-yard pass to Jacob Smith, and the quarterback ran for another eight.
Duncan Varela carried the ball four consecutive times. The first rush went for eight yards, and the next two went for nine, each. His fourth, however, was fumbled inside the Lutes' five-yard line. Pacific Lutheran scooped up the lose ball and took it 100 yards the other way for a touchdown.
The Loggers were determined to put points on the board in the second quarter when they got down to the Lutes' five-yard line. Puget Sound lined up to go for it on fourth down, but a false start moved the ball back, and the subsequent field-goal attempt went wide.
The Loggers didn't get on the scoreboard again until late in the third quarter when Dustin Harrison hauled in a 16-yard touchdown pass from Diebold.
Puget Sound's offensive line had a hard time giving Diebold ample time, as the Lutes were able to break through for nine sacks in the game.
AJ Johnson led the Loggers with five receptions for 90 yards, and Thomas ran for 49 yards on 13 carries. On the defensive side, Jayson Clayton led the Loggers with eight tackles, while both Keanu Songcuan and Max Richman finished with seven.
Puget Sound hosts Lewis & Clark during Homecoming Weekend on Saturday, Oct. 7, at 1 p.m. The Loggers will honor the 1967 Puget Sound football team at halftime.