Nov 09, 2017

Game Preview: Bruins Travel To Puget Sound For Final Game Of The Season

A Winning Tradition

  • One post-season appearance (1960 Crusader Bowl)
  • One AFCA Division III Coaches' All-American (Nolan Schuler, 2017)
  • One CoSIDA Academic All-American (Caleb Dalzell, 2017)
  • Two CoSIDA Academic All-District (Caleb Dalzell, 2017; Grant Schroeder, 2017)
  • Three All-Americans
  • Four All-Region Honorees
  • 37 All-NWC Athletes 
  • Five Team of the Week
  • Nine NWC Student-Athlete of the Week Awards 
  • One Cliff Harris Award Finalist (Charles Riga, 2017)
  • Two NSCA All-American (Justin Kruse, 2015; Dane Jensen, 2017)
  • Two NFL Draft Picks 

By: Alex Plusquellec

NEWBERG, Ore. --- After a bit of a hiccup at home against Pacific Lutheran, the Bruins (6-3, 4-2 NWC) will get one final shot to put the finishing touches on what has been a season to remember as they travel to take on the Puget Sound Loggers (3-5, 2-4 NWC) Saturday, Nov. 11.

A season ago, the Bruins welcomed the Loggers' high powered offense to Stoffer Family Stadium and put the clamps on what was one of best offensive attacks in the NWC, handling Puget Sound 44-10. The win a year ago helped kick start a strong finish for the Bruins. This time around, both squads are looking to bounce back after a tough last week. The Bruins weren't able to find the rhythm they were used to against the Lutes, while the Loggers were shut out by Linfield.

Despite the shutout loss to the Wildcats, the Loggers still rank third in the NWC in total offense, averaging 357.5 yards per game. Senior Tanner Diebold ranks second among conference quarterbacks with 246.5 passing yards per game and has tossed 11 touchdowns on the season. The Loggers' pass-heavy offense does give defenses the opportunity to create turnovers as Diebold has thrown 13 interceptions on the year. As for the Bruins' defense, they've remained dominant. Charles Riga and company haven't given up more than 15 points in any of the previous four games and have totaled 13 sacks and 13 turnovers during that stretch.

Given its ability to move the ball through the air, Puget Sound has the ability to mix in the run in the red zone. The sophomore running back combination of Paul Thomas and Vance Thomas has produced 10 rushing touchdowns so far this season despite averaging just over 100 team rushing yards per game.

In order for the Bruins to be successful on the road, their offense must be more efficient, particularly on third down. Against Pacific Lutheran, the Bruins converted just once on third down, allowing the Lutes to dominate time of possession. The Bruins' offense has always found a way to bounce back after a tough offensive game. In fact, when the Bruins had a tough game against Linfield they came back with over 400 yards of total offense against Lewis & Clark.

The Bruins will turn to Grant Schroeder and Wesley Riddell on the offensive side of things, as Schroeder is averaging a sixth-best 178.4 yards per game. Both Schroeder and Riddell are in the top-10 in the conference for rushing, as Schroeder sits in seventh (46.9ypg) and Riddell sits in eighth (45.8ypg).  

The Bruins and Loggers will square off at 1 p.m. for the final game of the regular season.