By Robert Husseman • Sports Editor • 

Leaving the field blank

No one is exempt from early sloppiness -- even the nation's No. 5 team in NCAA Division III.

Through the first five minutes of Linfield's Northwest Conference game against George Fox Saturday afternoon at Maxwell Field, the Wildcats and Bruins combined for minus-34 yards of offensive. Linfield racked up 35 points in the next nine minutes in response and cruised the rest of the way to a 59-0 victory over George Fox.

Sam Riddle threw for 124 yards and two touchdown passes and Mike Nardoni and Skylor Elgarico each returned interceptions for touchdowns. Even defensive tackle Jeremy Girod got in on the scoring -- he caught one of Riddle's passes, lined up as a fullback, for a nine-yard touchdown.

The Wildcats (4-0, 2-0 NWC) outgained the Bruins (0-4, 0-2 NWC) 431-82 and forced four turnovers in total. Linfield defensive linemen consistently accompanied GFU quarterback Grant Schroeder in the backfield; Schroeder finished with 58 yards passing (7-of-15) and three interceptions. Running back John Shaffer, a Linfield transfer, had similarly rough goings on the ground, finishing with 21 yards on 21 carries. In all, 39 rushing attempts by George Fox resulted in 14 yards.

George Fox came closest to scoring late in the second quarter, driving all the way to the Linfield 1-yard line. The Bruins lost 12 yards on the next two plays, and Uriel Gonzalez's 30-yard field goal attempt was blocked by Mitch Lewis as time expired in the half.

Linfield returns to Maxwell Field Oct. 18 at 1 p.m. for its Homecoming game against Whitworth. George Fox takes on Puget Sound at 1 p.m. at Stoffer Family Stadium in Newberg.