Time of Poss.
GLASSBORO, N.J. – Wyatt Smith passed for 283 yards and four touchdowns, and linebacker Brian Pullman made 15 tackles to lead No. 12 Linfield past Rowan 35-14 Saturday afternoon at Richard Wackar Stadium.
Playing its season-opening game, Linfield (1-0) never trailed and refused to wilt even after Rowan (0-2) rallied from two touchdowns down to tie the game at 14 early in the third quarter.
From there, Linfield answered with Jacob Calo's 11-yard touchdown catch from Smith, capping a three-play, 47-yard drive that included runs of 21 and 15 yards by tailback Artie Johnson.
Less than four minutes later, Smith lofted a deep pass to Keaton Wood, who hauled in a touchdown to put the 'Cats back in front by two scores, 28-14, with 2:16 left in the third period.
Rowan advanced to the Linfield 4-yard line to begin the fourth quarter, but Chris Adamo picked off Mike Husni in the end zone.
The Wildcats salted the game away with Smith's fourth TD strike with 2:20 left to play, an 11-yarder to Keegan Weiss, his second of the game.
Rowan outgained Linfield 365-334, including a 214-51 disparity in rushing. But the opportunistic Wildcats forced four turnovers, three on interceptions by Adamo, Tyler Bergeron and Tyler Sitton. Twice, Rowan moved inside the Linfield 10, only to come away empty handed.
Smith passed 55 yards to Keegan Weiss for game's first points with 5:01 left in the first quarter. The extra point by Clifton Oliver capped a two-play drive that was aided by a 15-yard roughing-the-passer penalty.
Rowan knocked on the door in the first quarter, marching to the Linfield 6, but Jake Hurler's 23-yard field goal attempt hit the right upright and bounced away. That spoiled a 14-play, 82-yard effort.
The Wildcats extended their lead late in the second quarter. Rowan was forced to punt from its own end zone after a drive stalled, giving Linfield the ball at the Profs' 35-yard line. Tanner Earhart plowed over from the 1 on a fourth-and-goal play. Oliver's PAT kick made it 14-0 with 4:35 left before intermission.
Rowan put together its best drive of the half with under two minutes remaining, cutting the margin to 14-7. Husni led the Profs on a 49-yard drive to the Linfield 2, where he found Elijah Rehm wide open in the end zone as time expired in the half.
Statistics at intermission were fairly even. Rowan outgained Linfield 185-179. Smith completed 11 of 16 first-half throws, but he was intercepted twice to thwart two promising drives.
Pullman was credited with seven unassisted. Kyell Davis added 13, including seven solo. Sitton recorded three tackles, two pass breakups and to go with his interception.
Weiss pulled in five catches for 104 yards and two TDs. Wood had three receptions for 63 yards and one score. Calo totaled four catches for 40 and one TD. Johnson ended with 56 rushing on 14 carries.
Messiah Divine led all rushers with 95 yards on 22 carries and one TD. Husni gained 86 yards on 22 rushes, in addition to 151 passing yards.
Saturday's game was the second meeting between the two programs with a long history of football success. The first matchup came in the 2004 NCAA Division III semifinals, a game which Linfield also won, 52-0 in McMinnville.
Linfield ramps up for another distant road game on Saturday when the 'Cats head to Southern California for a night game at Redlands. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.