The 24th-ranked Pacific Lutheran Lutes did their part Saturday. Now all they can do is sit back and wait.
Behind a career-high five touchdown passes from Dalton Ritchey, the Lutes defeated Menlo College, 38-21, in a non-conference game at Cartan Field in Atherton, Calif. on Saturday afternoon.
One of those scoring passes went to Tumwater High graduate Kyle Warner, who caught five passes for 95 yards – and became the seventh PLU receiver to eclipse the 1,000-yard receiving mark for a season (1,006).
All PLU (7-2), the Northwest Conference runner-up behind No. 3 Linfield College, can do is wait out its playoff fate by the NCAA Division III selection committee.
The playoffs start next Saturday. The Lutes have a solid chance of nabbing an at-large bid. Of the West Regional schools vying for at-large berths, PLU boasts the top strength of schedule. And ranked sixth in the West Region, the Lutes were helped by Coe College (10-0) and California Lutheran (8-1), two teams ahead of them vying for conference titles, who weren’t upset Saturday.
But the three schools trailing PLU in the regional rankings – No. 7 Bethel of Minnesota (8-2), No. 8 Concordia-Moorhead of Minnesota (7-2) and No. 9 Wisconsin-Platteville (8-2) – all won Saturday.
The NCAA has regularly chosen the top seven schools from each region to play in the national playoffs.
“It would seem a lot of positive pieces are in place,” PLU coach Scott Westering said.
NCAA brackets are revealed today at 3 p.m. PDT.
At Willamette 55, Puget Sound 0: Quarterback Josh Dean threw for four touchdowns and ran for another, and the Bearcats registered the season-ending shutout at McCullough Stadium in Salem, Ore.
It was the first time the Loggers were shut out since suffering a 37-0 defeat to Linfield in 2007.
The Bearcats rolled up 577 yards of offense, and became the sixth UPS opponent to score 50 or more points.
Entering the offseason, Loggers coach Jeff Thomas said his top priority is get his players “the same size (as) the people we play.”