Pacific Lutheran’s early offense proved to be enough as their defense kept Pacific in check enough for a 27-16 victory on Saturday at Sparks Stadium.
The PLU defense was able to effectively stifle Pacific running back Kamana Pimental. Pimental, averaging 109.6 yards per game, was held to just 51 yards on 20 carries. Junior safety Travis McMillion led the Lutes’ defensive effort with 8 tackles and an interception.
“The guys are playing great,” PLU defensive coordinator Craig McCord said. “If you play smart, play hard and play together, good things happen. They’ve bought into that, and we have a great group of guys who are doing all three of those things.”
Quarterback Jon Schaub threw two quick touchdowns in the first quarter, first finding tight end DJ Winter for a 10-yard touchdown to cap a seven-play, 82-yard drive and then hitting Kellen Westering in the back of the end zone for an 8-yard touchdown pass.
“It’s a huge momentum booster,” Schaub said. “We kept that momentum for the whole game. Offensively we were able to get things clicking. It’s exciting for these next couple weeks.”
Pacific was able to put pressure on the PLU offense. The Boxers had five sacks on the day. PLU countered by bringing Cole Chandler in at quarterback. Chandler was able to escape pressure, rushing seven times for 62 yards.
The Lutes also leaned heavily on their run game, with 205 of their 351 total yards of offense coming on the ground. Tailback Darin Hardgrove found a seam and scored a game-clinching 52-yard touchdown, putting the Lutes up 27-10 with 1:41 remaining.
Campbell Summerfield had a nice day for Pacific. The senior quarterback went 24 for 37 with 224 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Austin Cardoza caught the touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter. Kobe Williams made four catches for the Boxers, totaling 44 yards.
PLU advances to 2-1, opening conference play with the win. The Lutes travel to Salem, Oregon, to take on Willamette next Saturday.