Memorable Senior Day comeback falls short against No. 23 Linfield

Memorable Senior Day comeback falls short against No. 23 Linfield

TACOMA, Washington – Jewell Day's 28-yard touchdown reception gave Puget Sound football team a 41-40 lead with 51 seconds remaining in regulation, but No. 23 Linfield dashed the Loggers' hopes of an epic comeback victory. The Wildcats scored the game-winning touchdown with 35 seconds left in the fourth quarter to beat the Loggers, 47-41, in Baker Stadium Saturday afternoon.

Linfield (6-2, 5-1 NWC) looked poised for a convincing win when it took a 37-13 lead with 10:36 on the clock in the fourth quarter. However, the Puget Sound (5-4, 3-3 NWC) offense put together several quick scoring drives, and the Logger defense made a handful of big stops. 

Less than two minutes after the Wildcats took a 24-point lead early in the fourth quarter, Puget Sound sophomore quarterback Murdock Rutledge scrambled five yards for his second rushing touchdown of the game. Rutledge then completed the two-point conversion to Ethan Goldizen.

Puget Sound maintained momentum, and possession, by recovering the ensuing onside kick (Vance Wood with the recovery). The drive started on Puget Sound's 45-yard line, but it looked destined to fail when the Loggers faced fourth and 17 from the Linfield 40-yard line.

From there, the Loggers did not just pick up an improbable first down – Rutledge connected with Day for a 40-yard touchdown pass over the middle of the field. The score made it a one-possession game, 37-29, with 7:00 on the lock (failed two-point possession).

Linfield's next drive ended in a three-and-out, as Keanu Songcuan and Ryan Hickey teamed up to make a big stop on third-and-short. A good punt pinned Puget Sound back at its five-yard line with 4:34 on the clock, but a 31-yard pass from Rutledge to Day gave the Loggers plenty of breathing room.

Two plays later, Rutledge scrambled to his right and connected with Collin Heimbach for a 64-yard touchdown down the sideline. The two-point conversion failed, but the Loggers trailed by only 37-35 with 3:39 to play.

Linfield's next drive garnered 21 yards, but the Puget Sound defense held the Wildcats to three points. The Loggers got the ball back, down 40-35, with 1:40 on the clock.

Rutledge and Day connected for consecutive completions totaling 19 yards, and then Rutledge scrambled for another 12 yards. After his first-down run, Rutledge found Day in the end zone for a 28-yard score that gave the Loggers a 41-40 lead with 51 seconds left.

However, Linfield needed just one play to reclaim the lead: a 59-yard touchdown pass down the middle of the field.

When all was said and done, Rutledge threw for 396 yards and four touchdowns. Rutledge also carried the ball 17 times for 63 rushing yards and two scores. Day had nine catches for 154 yards, and Heimbach totaled 143 yards on five catches.

Songcuan led all players with 11 tackles, and Zachary Meyer came away with a sack for Puget Sound.

Prior to kickoff, Puget Sound honored its nine seniors and loved ones competing in their final collegiate football game in Baker Stadium: Matt Ahnin, Nik Bernhardt, Todd Blakely, Collin Heimbach, Dwight Jackson, Zack Losack, Tristan Mosier, Keanu Songcuan, and Zackary Teats.

The 2018 season finale is set for Saturday, Nov. 10, at George Fox. Kickoff is at 1 p.m.