Logger football set to bring high-octane offense in 2019

Photo by Kurt DeVoe
Photo by Kurt DeVoe

TACOMA, Washington – One of the nation's elite passing offenses makes its 2019 season debut in Baker Stadium when the Puget Sound football team hosts Claremont-M-S Saturday, Sept, 7, for a 12 p.m. kickoff.

The Loggers return 10 offensive starters from a 2018 squad that ranked No. 2 in all of NCAA D-III for passing yards per game (381.1). Puget Sound trailed only Shenandoah's 386.5 passing yards per game.

Among the Loggers' offensive returners are four All-Northwest Conference selections: Jewell Day, Collin Heimbach, AJ Johnson, and Murdock Rutledge. Johnson set Puget Sound's single-season record for receiving yards (1,096), and he became the first Logger in program history to receive an All-American honor from D3football.com. He enters 2019 with a Second Team Preseason All-American nod from the site.

Last fall, Johnson, Day, and Heimbach each ranked top three in the NWC for receiving yards per game and receiving touchdowns. Rutledge, a junior quarterback, will once again have an abundance of weapons at his disposal. As a sophomore, Rutledge averaged 261.3 passing yards per game – just 5.3 yards behind the league leader.

Day caught 61 passes for 1,016 yards last year, and Heimbach went for 984 yards on 64 receptions. Day led the NWC with 14 touchdown catches, while Johnson (12), and Heimbach (10) also finished with double-digit touchdown totals.

Last year wasn't all about the offense for the pass-happy Loggers. Puget Sound placed three All-NWC honorees on defense, including now senior Jason Clayton. Clayton's 2018 campaign also included a Team of the Week nod from D3football.com. In addition to Clayton, the 2019 Loggers also return Keanu Songcuan, who led the NWC in tackles (90) last year.

Senior Brody Pearman, who tied Clayton last year for the team lead in interceptions (3), will once again be a focal point for the defense. His 49 tackles in 2018 was the second-most for the Loggers.

Puget Sound opens the 2019 season with a tough opponent in Claremont-M-S. The Stags won the 2018 Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) title and an automatic bid for the NCAA Championships.

The Loggers' first NWC game is also the homecoming game, Oct. 5, against George Fox. Puget Sound hosts rival Pacific Lutheran, Oct. 19. The final regular-season home game is Nov. 9 against Willamette, and the regular season concludes on the road at Lewis & Clark (Nov. 16).