HCAC title hunt begins Saturday

September 26, 2000

Bluffton College kicks off their 2000 Heartland Conference schedule Saturday as the Anderson University Ravens visit Salzman Stadium.

The Beavers had a bye week last week and were afforded the luxury of two weeks to prepare for Anderson, which spent last Saturday getting beat by Olivet 39-8 to fall to 0-3 on the season. Both BC and AU hosted and lost to NAIA teams in September, as the Beavers lost to Malone 42-28 and the Ravens fell to Taylor 52-26.

BC and Anderson met in Bluffton last year with the Beavers claiming a 48-17 victory and establishing a new Salzman Stadium record for points scored. That record then fell this season when the Beaves put up 49 points against Hiram.

Anderson went 0-3 in their non-league schedule last year, as well, yet came on to win two HCAC games and finish seventh in the conference. This season the Ravens, under second-year head coach Steve Barrows, have selected "Expect The Best, Nothing Less" as their theme for the season.

And speaking of "the best," today�s game will pit Bluffton�s league-best passing offense, against Anderson�s league-best passing defense. BC quarterback Brad Moore�s 170.9 pass efficiency rating is best in the league and one of the best in the country, while the Raven defense has been holding opposing QBs to a 76.9 efficiency rating.

But pass efficiency isn�t the only thing at which BC leads the HCAC. The Beavers rank #1 in scoring offense (39.0 ppg), total offense (474.0 ypg) and first downs (66), and they rank second in scoring defense (25.0 ppg), rushing offense (188.3 ypg), total defense (309.7 ypg) and punt returns (5.6 ypr).

Of Anderson�s 75 players, 55 are freshmen, including two which share the quarterback position. Pat Murphy and Joel Steele are having impressive seasons, however, combining for 336.0 yards per game. Both have spent a significant amount of time on their back, though, as the AU offensive line allowed a league-high 18 sacks through the first two games.

The Raven veterans include All-HCAC wide receiver Todd McKinney and a pair of USA Football All-Americans in linebacker Mickey White and cornerback Willie Cobbert. White led the conference in tackles last season with 101, including 19 behind the line of scrimmage.

Two BC players have been honored on a National Team of the Week already this season, as Jamie Stevens (vs. Malone) and Greg Bruns (vs. Thiel) were selected by d3football.com for their efforts.

Saturday is the final day of the BC Community Sports Week, and next Saturday will be homecoming as the Lions from The College of Mount St. Joseph visit Salzman Stadium.