TACOMA, Washington – It was only a matter of time. The Puget Sound football team beat Whitworth, 34-23, in Baker Stadium Saturday afternoon, marking the program's first win over the Pirates since 1995.
Murdock Rutledge threw for 214 yards and two touchdowns, but it was his legs that stunned the Pirates. Rutledge ran for 96 yards on 16 carries. He wasn't the only Logger to eclipse 90 rush yards, as Duncan Varela totaled 92 yards on the ground.
Puget Sound's defense set the tone early. The Loggers (5-2, 3-1 NWC) forced Whitworth (4-2, 3-1 NWC) to punt in its opening drive, and the Pirates' next drive ended in a fumble forced by Michael Zabran and recovered by Zachary Meyer.
The Loggers got on the board first when Rutledge connected with Day for a 21-yard touchdown with six minutes left in the first quarter. The Rutledge-to-Day connection set up the Loggers' second touchdown midway through the second quarter. The duo connected for a 31-yard play down to the one-yard line, and Silas Washington punched in his fourth rushing touchdown of the season.
The Pirates managed to tie the game, 14-14, with two minutes left in the first half, but that's where things got really interesting. During the Loggers' ensuing drive, Rutledge needed to make just four completions (three to Day) to bring Puget Sound from its 34-yard line to the Whitworth three-yard line. From there, Nik Bernhardt connected with Johnson for six points
The point-after attempt, however, was blocked. Whitworth returned the block for two points, and the Loggers went into the locker room with a 20-16 lead.
The Logger defense was even more resilient in the second half, and surrendered only seven points in the game's final 30 minutes. Puget Sound kept Whitworth off the scoreboard for nearly 28 consecutive minutes, thanks in large part to forcing four turnovers in the game. One of those four turnovers was an interception by Jacob Biddle.
Johnson accounted for both of the Loggers' second-half touchdowns. As time was winding down in the third quarter, Bernhard and Johnson connected yet again for six points. That score was set up by a 46-yard run from Rutledge.
Midway through the fourth quarter, Rutledge hit Johnson for a 15-yard touchdown that gave the Loggers a 34-16 advantage.
Puget Sound is on the road next week at Pacific Saturday, Nov. 2, for a 1 p.m. kickoff.