BC tops MSJ in fourth quarter 27-26, now 6-2

By Tim Stried, SID

October 31, 1999




It wasn't always pretty, but it was a win. And since it was a football game, not a beauty pageant, the results look just fine to the now 6-2 Bluffton College Beavers after a come-from-behind victory over the College of Mount St. Joseph Saturday at Cincinnati Elder High School.

Fitting that it was Halloween Eve, because the BC defense was already in character as Dr. Jekyll in the first half and Mr. Hyde in the second. The first 30 minutes of play saw BC give up three touchdowns and 280 yards in offense. In the second half, however, Bluffton forced four Lion turnovers and gave up just six points.

Leading the charge in the second half was senior defensive back Jarret Smotrila, who intercepted two MSJ passes on back-to-back Mount possessions. He recorded six tackles in the game and also blocked a Mount extra point attempt in the first half, a play which would prove to be the difference in the final score. Joining Smotrila in the big-play department were junior defensive back Jeff Company with an interception on Mount's first play of the second half, and by junior defensive linemen Greg Bruns and Rob Kitchen who both recovered MSJ fumbles in the game.

It was another 100+ yard game for junior running back Tyson Goings, who carried the ball 26 times for 112 yards and two touchdowns, including the game winner on a 30 yard run with just 4:11 left in the game. That final TD was the end of a seven play drive which gained 69 yards--all on the gounrd--including 37 by Goings, 10 by senior fullback Paul Risner and eight by senior quarterback Joel Parrett on a huge third and five conversion just one play before Goings' scoring jaunt. The drive was helped along by a Mount personal foul penalty as a MSJ defender took Goings down by the facemask on the drive's first play.

The game had a great start for Bluffton, as BC scored touchdowns on their first two possessions, first on a four yard run by Goings at the 9:45 mark and the other on a one yard sneak by Parrett with 5:58 left in the opening period. That second score was set up by an 82 yard hookup from Parrett to senior wide receiver Eric Metz, who hauled in a pass from a scrambling Parrett and then spun around and through Lion defenders all the way down to the MSJ three yard line.

Parrett, who was 11 of 19 passing for 169 yards on the afternoon, scored his second TD of the game with 4:09 remaining in the second quarter on a six yard run. Freshman Adam Burgess kicked all three extra points in the first half and Bluffton took a 21-20 lead into the intermission.

Both teams traded punts and interceptions most of the third quarter, however Mount St. Joseph capitalized on their take away as Lion quarterback Josh Ragon hit Greg Huster on a 15 yard touchdown pass at the 5:08 mark to put MSJ on top 26-21. The Lions attempted a fake extra point following the TD as holder Mark Schorsch took the snap and wheeled out on the two point try, but Smortila forced the play wide and sophomore Ben Schwab knocked Schorsch out of bounds before he could cross the goal line.

The next two Mount possessions were stopped by Smotrila interceptions. The first came on Mount's last possession of the third quarter as Jarret, ranked third on the BC career interceptions list with 15, picked off a pass in the BC endzone. The next came on Mount's first possession of the fourth quarter, as Smotrila stopped what was an eight play drive heading deep into BC territory with a pick off at the Bluffton 20 yard line that he returned up the BC sideline 60 yards. The return adds to Smotrila's own BC career interception return yardage record, as the four year starter from Crestview High School now has 251 return yards.

Senior Evan Ward led BC with five receptions for 58 yards, while Metz led in receiving yardage with 94 on three catches. Eric also added 80 yards in punt and kickoff returns. Risner ended the day with 31 yards rushing and caught one pass for four yards. Bruns and junior Cliff Willoughy both had nine tackles to lead the defense, as Bruns added one tackle for loss and a fumble recovery and Willoughy had two hits behind the line of scrimmage. Sophomore Toby Smith added seven tackles, including one for loss, while Kitchen had two tackles for loss to go with his fumble recovery.

For Head Coach Carlin Carpenter, it was his 87th career victory at Bluffton College, just one shy of the all-time record of 88 held by Ken Mast who coached the Beavers from 1950 through 1965. Joel Parrett is now just 24 yards shy of Cliff Hemmert '89 on the BC career total offense list with 5,590 yards. Tyson Goings moved into 11 place on that same list, moving past Darryl Gard '91 and Chris Etzler '93, and now has 2,689 yards.

Goings moved up to seventh place on the career rushing list, while Eric Metz is now just six catches from the career mark of 151 held by Tory Strock '97 and is 177 yards behind Andy Nowlin '91 on the all-time receiving yards list with 2,440 yards.

Mount St. Joseph falls to 2-7 on the season after losing to Hanover College last week despite leading by nine points with less than three minutes remaining in the game. Bluffton is now 6-2 overall and 3-2 in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference, good for fourth place behind Hanover (8-0, 5-0 HCAC), Wabash (5-3, 5-1 HCAC) and Wilmington (7-1, 4-1 HCAC).

Bluffton will host Franklin College Saturday in the last home game of the year. It will be Parent's Day in Salzman Stadium, with game time set for 1:30. The sixth win so far this season marks the most wins at BC since 1989 when the Beavers finished 6-3, which capped off a five year record of 38-10 that included two trips to the NAIA National Playoffs.