Bluffton comeback falls short against Malone

By Tim Stried, SID
September 2, 2000

It almost went down as one of the greatest comebacks in Bluffton College football history. BC trailed Malone College on Saturday by scores of 21-0 in the first half and 28-14 in the second half, but came back to tie the score at 28-28 with 10:01 left in the game. The visiting Pioneer squad, however, scored two touchdowns late in the fourth quarter to take a 42-28 victory over the Beavers in Salzman Stadium.

Malone scored touchdowns on three of their first four possessions of the game to build a 21-0 lead in the hot sun and upper 80-degree temperatures. From that point on, however, it was Bluffton that was heating up, as the offense scored touchdowns on its next four possessions while the defense held Malone to a missed field goal and a punt and surrendered just one score.

BC sophomore quarterback Brad Moore's seven yard touchdown keeper with 10:01 left in the game knotted the score at 28-28, but Malone then put together a 12 play, 83 yard scoring drive that took 5:21 off the clock and gave the NAIA guests a 35-28 lead with 4:04 to play.

Bluffton then fumbled the ensuing kickoff, which Malone recovered on the Beavers' own 38-yard line. The Pioneers covered that yardage in six plays as freshman quarterback Eric Rector scampered the final 26 yards on a third down and 11 yard play with 1:15 left in the game to seal the victory for Malone.

BC senior tailback Tyson Goings rushed for 148 yards and a TD and Brad Moore passed for 203 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Beaver offense. Moore also rushed for 63 yards and a score. Junior wide receiver Jamie Stevens caught 11 passes for 118 yards, including a five-yard scoring grab. Freshman fullback TJ Phlipot caught two passes for 24 yards, including a 15-yard TD in the third quarter.

Senior middle linebacker Greg Ditz led the BC defense with 11 tackles, while racking up eight stops each were sophomore defensive tackle Matt Scholz, senior outside linebacker Cliff Willoughby and junior defensive back Ben Schwab. Sophomore outside linebacker Brian Steiner had six tackles and recovered a Malone fumble.

Malone's Eric Rector completed 19 of 26 passes for 238 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Pioneers.

The two teams combined for 886 yards in total offense, with the Pioneers leading the way with 467 compared to 419 for Bluffton. Both teams punted just once. Malone held a definite advantage in third and fourth down conversions, however. The Pioneers were 7 for 12 on third down conversions and 2 for 2 on fourth down, while the Beavers were 5 for 11 on third down and 2 for 4 on fourth down. Malone had possession of the football for 29:10, while Bluffton held the ball for 30:50.

Bluffton falls to 0-1 on the season and will host Hiram College next Saturday at home in Salzman Stadium. Malone moves to 1-0 and will host Campbellsville on Saturday.