By Rusty Rae • Of the News-Register • 

'Cats throttle Willamette, 55-14

SALEM -- Linfield's number-seven rated football team (3-1, 2-1 NWC) had little trouble dispatching Willamette (0-4, 0-2 NWC) Saturday at McCulloch Stadium with a 55-14 victory.

The Wildcat's used the legs of Chidubem Nnoli who ran for three TDs and 197 yards on 13 carries along with QB Troy Fowler's best day as a Wildcat. Fowler was 11-18 for 170 yards and a pair of scores. Linfield's defense was up to its ornery self in the game, with a pair of interceptions  by Jason Farlow and Wade Ransom, with Farlow taking his 35 yards for a score.

The 'Cats wasted little time in setting the offensive tone of the game. Linfield offensive line sprung Noli for 43-yards at the 11:36 mark of the first quarter. Nnoli, a transfer from Southern Oregon University, rushed for 57-yards in the opening drive on five carries. Nnoli bolted for 58-yards at the 5:44 mark of the second quarter. pushing Linfield to a 21-7 lead. He went for 36-yards late in the third quarter.

Fowler showed improved confidence with his passing game, and should have had a couple of more touchdowns on the day, but receivers had an early case of the dropsies. After Willamette tied the game at seven, Fowler hit Tyler Torgeson with a 21-yard strike at the 1:33 mark of the first quarter. Fowler duplicated that task to open the third quarter, hitting J.D. Lassell for 20-yards. The strike pushed Linfield's lead to 38-14.

Fowler also had 53-yards of rushing, including a 40-yard romp in the second quarter.

Not to be outdown, Aidan Wilder also used his quick feet and speed for the last score of the afternoon, on a one-yard run.

Linfield also saw Willy Warne bang in a pair of field goals, a 33-yarder with six seconds left in the first half, and a 25-yarder midway through the third stanza. Warne also had a stellar day in kickoffs, averaging 60-yards.

While Linfield's defense was once again dominant, the Bearcats did find a couple of chinks in the 'Cats armor. They tied the score in the first quarter on a well-designed pass play. On a third and three, the 'Cats defense focused on stopping the run, but Willamette crossed them up, and threw a pass to the tight end, who was wide open. 

The Bearcats hit on a similar play in the second quarter, when the defense had a communication infarction. It led to Willamette's second score, but by that time Linfield had taken command of the game. 

The 'Cat defense pitched a shutout in the second half as the offense scored 24 points.

Linfield travels to Lewis and Clark next weekend for a 1 p.m. start.

Scoring Summary:

1st 11:36 LIN - Nnoli, Chidubem 43 yd run (Warne, Willy kick ), 8 plays, 76 yards, TOP 3:24 7 0
1st 09:19 WU - Keizur 34 yd pass from Knowlton (Jahn kick ) 4 plays, 42 yards, TOP 2:08 7 7
1st 01:33 LIN - Torgerson 21 yd pass from Fowler, Troy (Warne, Willy kick ) 8 plays, 72 yards, TOP 3:42 14 7
2nd 05:44 LIN - Nnoli, Chidubem 58 yd run (Warne, Willy kick ), 1 plays, 58 yards, TOP 0:17 21 7
2nd 04:31 LIN - Farlow, Jason 35 yd interception (Warne, Willy kick ) 28 7
2nd 01:14 WU - Fickas 3 yd pass from Knowlton (Jahn kick ) 7 plays, 75 yards, TOP 3:17 28 14
2nd 00:06 LIN - Warne, Willy 33 yd field goal 7 plays, 70 yards, TOP 1:05 31 14
3rd 11:11 LIN - Lasswell, J.D. 20 yd pass from Fowler, Troy (Warne, Willy kick ) 3 plays, 32 yards, TOP 1:09 38 14
3rd 08:01 LIN - Warne, Willy 25 yd field goal 4 plays, 7 yards, TOP 1:04 41 14
3rd 04:44 LIN - Nnoli, Chidubem 36 yd run (Warne, Willy kick ), 3 plays, 59 yards, TOP 1:36 48 14
3rd 00:31 LIN - Wilder, Aiden 1 yd run (Warne, Willy kick ), 6 plays, 49 yards, TOP 2:25 55 14



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