TACOMA, Washington – AJ Johnson finished with a career-high 16 receptions, and Murdock Rutledge threw for 354 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Puget Sound football team to a 28-24 victory over La Verne in Baker Stadium Saturday afternoon.
Johnson, Puget Sound's preseason All-American, eclipsed his career-high for catches in a game by two. His lone touchdown of the game was a 22-yard pass from Rutledge to the back of the end zone as time expired in the second quarter. As he has done many times in his career, Johnson beat double coverage for the score.
Johnson's only touchdown of the game gave the Loggers (2-1) a 21-17 lead over La Verne (1-2) at the break.
Puget Sound began the scoring when Rutledge connected with Collin Heimbach 15 yards through the air. Heimbach then sprinted 70 yards down the far sideline to give the Loggers a 7-0 lead five minutes into the game.
Puget Sound's lead grew to 14-3 when Rutledge hit Jewell Day for a 16-yard touchdown along the near sideline with 4:14 left in the first quarter.
The Loggers ultimately put the game out of reach when the Rutledge-Heimbach duo struck again for a 13-yard touchdown pass that gave Puget Sound a 28-17 lead midway through the third quarter.
La Verne threatened to answer with a touchdown in its ensuing possession. The Leopards reached the Loggers' one-yard line, but on third-and-goal Jordan Ubaldo broke up a running play for a loss of four yards. La Verne decided to throw on fourth down, and the ball fell incomplete.
Between the Loggers' two home games this season, Puget Sound has allowed a total of 10 second-half points.
Heimbach needed just five catches to total 133 yards, and Day finished with three receptions for 50 yards.
Puget Sound has a bye week before hosting George Fox for Homecoming Weekend Saturday, Oct. 5.