Willamette to Face Rival Linfield in Critical Northwest Conference Match-up

By John Lind, Assistant Athletics Communications Director

SALEM, ORE. -- Willamette University, 6-1 on the season, including three wins on the road, will take on Linfield College, 6-0, in McMinnville, Ore., on Saturday, Oct. 27 in a key Northwest Conference game. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. (PDT). The Bearcats are 2-1 in the conference, while the Wildcats are 3-0 in NWC action.

Linfield will present the biggest challenge of any team the Bearcats have faced this season. The Wildcats are currently ranked #3 in the D3football.com Top 25 and are #4 in the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Poll.

After their first loss of the season against NWC competitor Pacific Lutheran University, Willamette dropped to #24 in the AFCA poll. The Bearcats fell out of the D3football.com Top 25, but still received votes.

You can follow all of the action between Willamette and Linfield through a Live Audio Webcast on the Bearcat Network. All of WU's football games in 2012 are being webcast, with road games featuring audio only. Audio and video is available during home games. Full Access Sports is the Bearcats' webcast provider.

Please note that when UStream runs an advertisement, you will not miss any of the webcast, which will pick up where it left off after the ad is finished.

A Live Video stream of the game will be provided by Linfield. Please note that Linfield charges a fee to view their video stream. Live Stats from the game will be available on the Linfield website.

Willamette leads NCAA Division III in passing offense with 38.04 yards per game. The Bearcats are second in the nation in total offense at 544 total yards per contest. In addition, Willamette is ranked ninth in scoring offense, as the Bearcats are averaging 42.3 points per game.

Quarterback Josh Dean (Jr., Dana Point, CA/Dana Hills HS) is ranked third in NCAA Division III with 367.0 passing yards per game. He has completed 204 of 299 passes (68.2%) for 2,569 yards and a school record 29 touchdowns.

Jake Knecht (Sr., WR, Issaquah, WA/Skyline HS/Illinois State Univ.) leads the Bearcats with 43 catches for 567 yards and 10 touchdowns. Jake Turner (Sr., WR, Ontario, Ore./Ontario HS) has also caught 36 passes for a team-high 635 yards and five touchdowns.

Running back Dylan Jones (So., Santa Maria, CA/Ernest Righetti HS) tops the WU rushing attack with 89.0 yards per game. He has carried the ball 131 times for 623 yards (4.8 avg.) and four touchdowns.

At the top of the WU tackle chart is Jack Nelson (So., ILB, Portland, OR/Jesuit HS) with 57 total tackles, including 35 unassisted tackles. Cullen Carroll (Sr., OLB, Petaluma, CA/St. Vincent de Paul HS) is second with 51 tackles, including team highs with 38 solo stops and 10.0 tackles for losses.

Linfield leads the Northwest Conference in rushing, points per game, and sacks. Linfield has averaged 176.2 yards per game running the ball this season. The Wildcats' conference high 43.3 points per game place Linfield fifth in all of NCAA Division III. The Wildcats have amassed 30 sacks this season.

Mickey Inns (Sr., QB) is the catalyst behind Linfield's offensive success. Inns has completed 119 of 204 passes for 1,513 yards and 17 touchdowns.

Following the loss of Josh Hill (Sr., RB) due to injury, the Wildcats have been led by John Shaffer (Fr., RB). Shaffer has gained 337 yards on 47 attempts, averaging 6.9 yards per carry and scoring five touchdowns.

Linfield is led at wide receiver by the trio of Deidre Wiersma (Sr.), Charlie Poppen (So.), and Lucas Jepson (Sr.. The three have combined for 73 receptions while gaining 929 yards and scoring nine touchdowns this season.

The Wildcats have experienced considerable success in the NWC in recent years, having won the last three conference titles. They are 26-1 in the the NWC since 2008, with the one loss coming at the hands of Willamette during the 2008 season. Willamette won the Northwest Conference championship that season after outscoring the Wildcats, 52-28, in McMinnville on Oct. 25, 2008.

Willamette tight end Benny Weischedel has caught 34 passes this season for 561 yards and 5 touchdowns.

Willamette tight end Benny Weischedel has caught 34 passes this season for 561 yards and 5 touchdowns.