TACOMA, Wash.—The Puget Sound football team saw their best defensive performance of the season, but the Logger offense committed six turnovers en route to a 33-14 loss to Whitworth on Homecoming day Saturday at Baker Stadium in Tacoma, Wash.
The Loggers' problems holding onto the ball started on the very first play of the game when Connor Savage returned the opening kickoff for 29 yards, but then fumbled. Whitworth's Casey Monahan fell on the loose ball, giving the Pirates an unexpected possession to begin the game in Logger territory. They turned that fumble into seven points when Whitworth quarterback Bryan Peterson ran it into the end zone from 11 yards out, putting the Loggers down seven points just over three minutes into the game.
On the first Loggers possession, they picked up a first down on a two-yard pass from Braden Foley to Kevin Miller, but couldn't go any further and punted. On the 2nd play of the Pirates' 2nd drive, Peterson found Wade Miller open deep, completing a 72-yard pass play that set Whitworth up at Puget Sound's 2-yard line. Two plays later, Griffin Hare took it into the end zone and the Pirates had themselves a 14-0 lead.
The Loggers cut the lead in half three minutes later. After taking over at their own 45-yard line, they marched down the field with a 10-play, 55-yard drive for a touchdown. Foley put a cap on the drive with a 17-yard scamper into the end zone.
There were no touchdowns in the second quarter, as the period's only points came on a 38-yard field goal from Whitworth. In the second, running back Kupono Park gained 26 of his 45 rushing yards including a 13-yard run in the quarter's final drive, but two Logger turnovers held back the Puget Sound offense. Foley fumbled five minutes into the quarter after being sacked by Whitworth's Aaron Cochran and then threw an interception near midfield with just 28 seconds remaining in the half. The Pirates tried to turn the mistake into another field goal, but Pirates kicker Kyler Gracey missed from 32 yards out. The teams entered halftime with a 17-7 score in favor or Whitworth.
Still in the contest, the Logger defense forced a Whitworth punt to open the second half. Foley and the rest of the offense put together a 13-play drive that started on their own 7-yardline, including one huge fourth-down conversion on a pass from Jeff Walton to Max McGuinn. The Whitworth defense held tough, however, and forced a field-goal attempt by Sawyer Petre from 44 yards out. While the kick had the necessary distance, it wasn't accurate enough and Whitworth escaped unscathed.
Three straight punts gave the Loggers the ball early in the fourth quarter, still trailing by just 10. Despite a 17-yard catch by receiver Dustin Harrison, the Loggers couldn't gain 10 more yards and opted to send the punting team on the field. On the punt, however, the snap sailed over Walton's head and rolled into the endzone. Walton was able to recover the loose ball but couldn't get a kick off, opting instead to run out of the back of the endzone for a safety.
After the two-point play, the Loggers kicked it back to the Pirates. Drew Clausen tallied a 22-yard return, but fumbled on the 42-yard line. McGuinn hopped on the loose ball to give the Loggers possession in Whitworth territory. Unfortunately for the Loggers, however, Foley's first pass of the drive was picked off by Casey Monohan of the Pirates. Whitworth then drove down the field in five plays, scoring on a 29-yard pass from Peterson to Dustin Martin.
There was still fight in the Loggers, however, as Foley led a five-play scoring drive that ended with a 13-yard TD pass to Brennan Schon. The pass was Foley's 40th touchdown pass of his career, tying Ivy Iverson for most career TD passes in Logger history. Iverson played for Puget Sound from 1977 to 1979.
After Foley's historical throw, the Pirates embarked on a 12-play, 75 yard drive that ate up 6 minutes of clock. The Pirates put away the game on the drive, scoring and a 23-yard Tripoli run and 33-14. The Loggers had less than a minute of clock to play with, and both the drive and the game ended on an Foley interception.
Puget Sound gave Whitworth the ball six times, throwing four picks and fumbling twice. Peterson threw for 284 yards and a touchdown for Whitworth, while Tripoli led all rushers with 90 yards and a touchdown. Wade Meyer tallied 100 receptions yards for Whitworth also. Leading the Loggers, Park ran for 45 yards while Harrison went for 90 yards receiving. Kevin Miller, however, led all receivers in the game by catching 13 balls.
On the defensive side, Brent McCoy for the Loggers and Grant Livingston for the Pirates both tallied nine tackles. Mccoy added half a sack, and Hayden Keefe put up 2.5 sacks of the Whitworth quarterback on four tackles. Whitworth's Monohan recovered one fumble and picked off Foley twice, accounting for half of Whitworth's turnovers created.
Puget Sound (1-5, 0-3) hits the road next week but doesn't have to travel too far. They play cross-town rival Pacific Lutheran at Sparks Stadium in Puyallup, Wash., Saturday, Nov. 2. That contest will kick off at 12:30 p.m.