SPOKANE, WA.. -- Jeff Erlenmeyer stopped Cody Pohren for no gain on fourth down in the second overtime to give Whitworth University a come-from-behind 24-21 win over visiting Pacific Lutheran University in a Northwest Conference football game on Saturday afternoon at the Whitworth Pine Bowl.
The Pirates came back from a 21-7 deficit in the second half to improve to 4-5 overall and 2-3 in the NWC. The Lutes fell to 2-5, 2-2.
PLU outgained Whitworth 413-361, but two costly interceptions and a blocked field goal attempt led directly to Pirate touchdowns.
Sean Scott ran for two touchdowns and Milton Nelson carried 26 times for 89 yards and a score. Nelson ran for 66 yards in the second half.
Taylor Eglet completed 16 of 30 passes for 189 yards with no interceptions or touchdowns. Four different receivers caught four passes apiece for the Pirates, with Andy Largent picking up 62 yards.
PLU came into the game with a highly regarded passing attack, but it was the Lutes' running game that almost carried the day for the visitors. Sean Snead ran only six times for 74 yards and a score. Pohren carried seven times for 37 yards and two scores. The pair led a ground game that picked up 132 yards and averaged 4.4 yards per carry.
Jordan Rasmussen passed 45 times and completed 25 of those for 281 yards. But he threw two interceptions and no touchdown passes. All-NWC wide receiver Greg Ford made several acrobatic receptions and finished with six catches for 103 yards. Isaac Moog added six grabs for 61 yards.
PLU opened the scoring when Pohren ran in from one yard. But Ford set up the score with a 32 catch over the middle to the Pirate one yard line. The score came with 2:25 to go in the first quarter and completed a 92-yard drive that took only eight plays.
The Lutes seemed to be driving for a two touchdown lead early in the second quarter when Derek Stottlemyer picked off his third pass in the last two games at the Whitworth 10 and returned it to the 19 yard line. Whitworth then methodically drove 81 yards in 17 plays and scored on Scott's one yard run to tie the game with 5:21 to play.
But PLU answered with a 70 yard drive that took most of the final five minutes. On fourth and four at the nine, Whitworth's Kyle Duncan broke up a pass, but was called for interference allowing the Lutes first and goal at the two.
PLU quickly made it a two touchdown lead in the third quarter. Kyle Burbridge returned the opening kick off 33 yards to the 44 yard line. Two plays later Snead broke clear through the middle for a 55 yard touchdown run.
Whitworth seemed to suffer a big setback late in the third quarter when a bad snap went by Eglet on fourth and goal for a 15 yard loss. However two plays later Robert Schaefer intercepted Rasmussen at the PLU 25 yard line and returned the ball to the six yard line. Nelson scored on the next play to pull the Pirates within 21-14 with 1:02 to play in the third quarter.
PLU had a chance to gain a ten-point lead with just under ten minutes to play in the game, but Richard Isett's field goal from 27 yards was blocked by Stottlemyer. The Pirates took over and drove 80 yards for a game-tying score. Scott ran in from six yards to tie the game with 5:50 to play.
Both teams had a chance to win in regulation. After forcing a quick three and out, Whitworth got the ball on its own 43 and got to the PLU 26 before stalling. A fourth down pass attempt failed with 2:17 to play. The Lutes then drove to the Whitworth eight yard line. But a seven yard sack and two incomplete passes moved the ball back to the 15. A field goal attempt on fourth down hit the left upright, but a false start was called on the Lutes, giving PLU another chance but from five yards further back. With ten seconds left the next attempt also hit the left upright from 37 yards away, sending the game into overtime.
Neither team was effective on its first possession. The Lutes threw three incomplete passes, including one on fourth down. Eglet was hit by Eric Rasmussen trying to scramble for yards on third down, forcing a fumble that PLU recovered.
Whitworth got one first down on its second possession, but then had to settle for Largent's 30 yard field goal, which split the uprights.
On PLU's first play, Ford appeared to have the corner on a double reverse, but Schaefer forced him out of bounds at the 15 for only a 10 yard gain. Four plays later PLU decided to go for a first down on fourth and one from the six, but Erlenmeyer made great penetration from his defensive end position and hit Pohren in the backfield.
Andy Sturza led PLU with 12 tackles, while Dalton Darmody added 11 stops and Bryan Neumiller had ten tackles and the overtime fumble recovery.
Cailen Thomason led Whitworth with nine tackles, while Paul Werhane and Schaefer had eight stops each.
Whitworth will finish its season on the road next weekend at
The Pirates have now won the last six meetings with the Lutes.