By Sam Horn, Sports Editor
Insufficient offensive production won’t win games — it’s a proven fact. This past Saturday, the Lutes football team realized firsthand how posting 216 combined yards of offense wasn’t good enough to beat Linfield. The Lutes running attack has bowled over prior opponents, but against Linfield, the Lutes tallied a mere 40 yards on the ground.
Even though the Lutes couldn’t score a single point against the Linfield Wildcats, the Pacific Lutheran University football team does not need to worry. Everything will be fine.
It might sound crazy, but losing in shutout fashion against a nationally ranked team isn’t nightmarish. The great aspect about losing is everyone can learn about how to not repeat the same mistakes. The Lutes might have lost 29-0 to the second best team in the nation, but the PLU football can’t lose faith — not yet.
Through the first three quarters of the game, it seemed as if the Lutes would pounce on an opportunity to surge ahead. They were only down by seven points. Until the fourth quarter debacle in which Linfield scored 22 points, the Lutes were holding one the No. 2 team in the nation to seven points. That’s something to be proud of.
No other team Linfield has faced can say they held the Wildcats to seven points through three quarters. PLU surrendered the least amount of the points to Linfield so far this season. Before the Lutes squared off against the Wildcats, Linfield had been averaging 56 points per game. That average took a significant drop when PLU limited Linfield to 29 points.
The Wildcats have feasted on the three other teams they have faced this year, but the Lutes proved that they had the potential to upset Linfield. They were just several points away from doing so.
Linfield is a powerhouse. There’s no denying that fact. The Wildcats have cruised to four wins this season and don’t look to slow down soon. The Wildcats even have several players who have transferred from large football schools. Two players on Linfield’s roster are from Portland State University, a Division 1-AA university.
There’s no shame in saying the Lutes lost to a team with a high-caliber roster. All the Lutes can do is focus on the next game, which will be against Lewis and Clark. Don’t worry about PLU losing to Linfield — that game is in the past. Losing to Linfield might mean not having a perfect regular season record, but a record is not everything.
Obtaining a ticket to the big dance is all the Lutes need. If they can set aside this loss to Linfield, arguably the best Division III team in the nation, the Lutes might be able to secure a place in the national playoffs.
This season, and every other one, should be about making the most out of what you got. What matters is that every player sacrificed himself to be a part of the team. What matters is that each player has enough confidence to rise up on to fight another day.
If the Lutes can make the most out of this situation, they might just find themselves in the national playoff spotlight. From there, no one can say what lies in store for the mighty Lutes. Leave this past week at the bedside. The Lutes offense should be able to take advantage of a Lewis and Clark defense that has allowed about 436 yards per game.
If the Lutes focus on playing to their full potential next week, then the path to success will be visible once again.