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COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Linfield loses in quarterfinals

Wildcats lead 17-0 before falling 28-17 at Wisconsin-Whitewater in D-III quarterfinals


WHITEWATER, Wis. — Linfield's football season came to an end Saturday afternoon with a 28-17 playoff loss at Wisconsin-Whitewater.

The Wildcats scored the first 17 points in the NCAA Division III quarterfinal contest, but the home team cut its deficit to 17-14 by halftime, took the lead in the third quarter and scored early in the fourth quarter to gain their 11-point margin.

Linfield finished the season with a 11-1 record. The Wildcats went into the playoffs ranked No. 2 and No. 3 in the two D-III polls.

Wisconsin-Whitewater, which was No. 5 in both polls, improved to 13-1 and will move on to the national quarterfinals. The Warhawks will play next week against Mary Hardin-Baylor, a 45-23 winner Saturday at home over St. John Fisher.

Linfield QB Josh Yoder completed 28 of 37 passes Saturday for 374 yards and one touchdown, with one interception, but the Warhawks contained him on the ground, as he had 20 carries for minus-45 yards, including sacks.

Wisconsin-Whitewater ran 26 times for 103 yards and passed for 275 yards, giving them 378 total. Linfield had 24 yards rushing on 40 attempts and 374 yards passing for 398 total, 309 in the first half.

The Northwest Conference champion Wildcats started fast, scoring on their first drive on Yoder's 3-yard run. Then recovered a fumble at the W-W 21-yard line on the ensuing kickoff, but got stopped on downs at the Warhawks 1, picking up no yardage on third- and fourth-down runs from there.

Josh Repp kicked a 23-yard field goal late in the first quarter to give Linfield a 10-0 advantage.

Early in the second quarter, Yoder hooked up with Evan Peterson for a 60-yard touchdown pass.

The Warhawks' pass rush pressure on Yoder forced a fumble on a sack in the third quarter that led to W-W's go-ahead score on a 55-yard drive.

A 61-yard drive that began on the final play of the third quarter added to Wisconsin-Whitewater's lead.

Peterson caught six passes for 163 yards, and Brian Balsinger grabbed 11 receptions for 136 yards.

Wisconsin-Whitewater improved to 3-0 all-time against Linfield,

The Wildcats' 32 seniors leave a team that was a combined 41-4 over the past four seasons and won the NWC crown all four years.