By Logan Brandon • Logan Brandon • 

Linfield secures perfect NWC season, vanquishes Pacific, 35-7

FOREST GROVE – With Saturday’s 35-7 victory over Pacific University, the Linfield Wildcats (8-1, 7-0 NWC) completed a perfect season against Northwest Conference opponents.

Facing one of the most prolific rushing attacks in the league, Linfield held the Boxers to 111 yards on 39 carries, a measly 1.9 per rush average.

Starting quarterback Wyatt Smith threw an early pick-six, but responded by completing 10-13 passes for 188 yards and three touchdowns. He hooked up with J.D. Lasswell on a 38-yard score in the first quarter to hand the ‘Cats a 7-0 lead, an advantage they would never relinquish.

While the Boxers’ running game struggled, Linfield’s got back on track. After producing under 50 yards last week against UPS, the Wildcats’ offensive line opened several running lanes for Chidubem Nnoli, allowing the senior tailback to record 114 yards on 19 carries and two touchdowns.

Nnoli handed the Wildcats a 14-0 edge in the second quarter with a one-yard dive. Smith extended the lead to 21-0 on another long TD pass to Lasswell, this time for 31 yards.

In the third quarter, Nnoli produced another score on a four-yard rush, padding the visitors’ advantage. Smith capped the ‘Cats’ offensive day with a one-yard fade to Kyle Kimball with 9:26 remaining in the third.

Pacific finally scored with 13:28 left in the contest, as Brandon Boyd plunged into the end zone from one yard out to trim the deficit to 35-7. Boyd, the conference’s leading rusher, was held to 72 yards on 24 carries.

Over the remaining 13-plus minutes, both squads rotated in their backups, resulting in zero scores the rest of the way.

Leading the defensive effort were Asa Schwartz (two sacks), Wade Ransom (eight tackles) and Anthony Guttadauro (one interception).

Linfield awaits postseason matchups, but will likely host its first round playoff contest as a result of the league title.

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