Yoder Helps #2 Wildcats Defeat #25 Bearcats, 56-15

Linfield Quarterback Runs for Four TDs, Throws for Two Scores

By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6110

SALEM, ORE. -- Linfield College quarterback Josh Yoder rushed for four touchdowns and threw for two more, as the Wildcats pulled away from Willamette University for a 56-15 win in a Northwest Conference game at McCulloch Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 2. Linfield, ranked #2 in the D3football.com Top 25 remained undefeated at 7-0, including 4-0 in the NWC. Willamette, ranked #25, fell to 5-2 overall, 2-2 in the NWC.

Willamette scored first on a 19-yard touchdown catch by Taylor Wyman (Jr., RB/P, Bellevue, WA/Issaquah HS) with 5:49 left in the opening quarter. The pass from Josh Dean (Sr., QB, Dana Point, CA/Dana Hills HS) to Wyman concluded a quick 5-play, 88-yard drive. Kyle Derby (Sr., PK/P, Oakdale, CA/Oakdale HS) kicked the extra point to give WU a 7-0 lead.

Linfield tied the score with 1:26 left in the quarter when Yoder scampered into the end zone from eight yards out to cap off a 73-yard drive on 11 plays. Josh Repp put through the extra point.

The Wildcats moved in front, 14-7, with 11 seconds remaining in the first quarter on a 39-yard pass from Yoder to Brian Balsiger on the first play following a 12-yard punt return by Chad Coburn. Willamette was forced to punt from its own 16-yard line. Coburn received the kick at the Linfield 49 and brought it back to the WU 39.

Two touchdowns in the second quarter enabled Linfield to extend its lead to 28-7 at halftime. Yoder completed a 21-yard pass to Charlie Poppen for the first touchdown of the quarter with 8:52 on the clock. Yoder rushed for 19 yards to score the second touchdown on 3rd-and-1 with 5:17 remaining.

On Linfield's next possession, T.J. Matsumoto (Sr., ILB, Union City, CA/James Logan HS) intercepted Yoder at the WU 19-yard line and returned it 15 yards.

The interception provide Willamette with momentum that led to a solid drive by the Bearcats, who took over at their own 34 with 1:55 left in the half and moved the ball to the Linfield 13 despite heavy rain. The key play was a 36-yard run by Wyman that started on 1st-and-10 at the Wildcats' 49.

After an incomplete pass on first down, Dean was sacked for a 7-yard loss by Dominique Forrest at the 20-yard line. Willamette called timeout with 44 seconds to go. Dean's pass on third down was incomplete. With the rain still falling -- though not as heavy as earlier in the drive -- Derby attempted a 37-yard field goal that missed wide left.

The rain ended as Linfield took over for the final plays of the half and didn't return until very late in the game.

Linfield tacked on two scores in the third quarter for a 42-7 advantage. Yoder recorded both scores on a 3-yard run with 8:11 left in the quarter and a 4-yard run at the 3:14 mark.

Tyson Giza (Sr., CB, Salem, OR/Sprague HS) set the Willamette record for career kickoff return yards on a 33-yard return following Yoder's 4-yard run. The return put Giza at 1,378 yards, surpassing the old record of 1,348 yards set by Jose Green from 2007-10. Giza ended the game with 1,395 kickoff return yards.

Willamette scored its second touchdown on a 47-yard pass from Dean to Beau Smith (Jr., WR, Roseville, CA/Roseville HS) just 25 seconds later. Smith provided all 58 yards on the drive, which began with him catching an 11-yard pass from Dean. Wyman rushed to the right side on the conversion and crossed the goal line just in-bounds to reduce the lead to 42-15.

The Wildcats added a 5-yard touchdown run by Josh Hill with 10:56 remaining in the game and a 2-yard run by Matt Yarbrough with 4:35 left to attain the final score.

Linfield amassed 622 yards of offense, including 451 rushing yards on 69 attempts. Yoder led the way with 175 rushing yards on 26 carries, while Hill rushed 23 times for 164 yards. Yoder was 13 of 20 passing for 171 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.

Willamette finished with 256 yards. Dean was 12 of 25 passing for 167 yards, two scores and two interceptions. Wyman led the Bearcats on the ground with 12 rushes for 90 yards.  Smith topped the receiving chart with five catches for 75 yards.

Wyman averaged 41.4 yards on eight punts with a long of 54 yards. He placed two punts inside the Linfield 20, including one at the 4-yard line in the second quarter.

Jack Nelson (Jr., ILB, Portland, OR/Jesuit HS) led the Bearcats on defense with 15 tackles, as he earned 11 unassisted tackles and two tackles for losses. Giza provided 11 tackles (9 solo), while Tait Stephens (Sr., S, Sammamish, WA/Skyline HS) added 10 tackles, including nine solo stops.

For Linfield, Forrest registered seven tackles (6 solo) and had two sacks for 14 yards in losses. Coburn finished with six tackles -- all unassisted.

Willamette will host Pacific University on Saturday, Nov. 9 at McCulloch Stadium. Game time is set for 1:30 p.m. (PDT).


Linfield College 56
Willamette University 15

Post-game Interviews

Photo Gallery (Photos by Naomi Stukey, Photographer for Willamette Athletics)

Junior running back Taylor Wyman rushed 12 times for 90 yards and scored on a 19-yard pass reception. He also rushed for a two-point conversion.

Junior running back Taylor Wyman rushed 12 times for 90 yards and scored on a 19-yard pass reception. He also rushed for a two-point conversion.

Beau Smith scored on this 47-yard touchdown catch. He hauled in five passes for 75 yards during the game.

Beau Smith scored on this 47-yard touchdown catch. He hauled in five passes for 75 yards during the game.