bc vs. urbana preview
Bluffton preps for homecoming showdown with UrbanaBy Tim Stried
September 30, 2002
With history on their side, Bluffton College will host Urbana University Saturday afternoon for a homecoming battle in Salzman Stadium. Since 1985 the Beavers own an impressive 13-4 record on homecoming, with two of those wins coming over Urbana (1993 and 1995), as the Beavers meet their final non-conference opponent this season before beginning their hunt for the 2002 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference championship.
Bluffton (1-2) used their off week last week to heal up several injuries and look ahead to Urbana and the upcoming HCAC season, which begins Oct. 12 at defending HCAC champion Anderson University and continues the following week at home against nationally ranked Hanover College.
Urbana (0-4) is a talented squad that will aim to give Bluffton problems, just as the Blue Knights did for their previous four opponents this season, which include Hanover and Wittenberg-two nationally ranked teams. Urbana, an NAIA scholarship squad, is under the direction of first-year head coach Todd Murgatroyd.
Saturday will be the eleventh meeting between these two schools, with Bluffton leading the all-time series 7-3. In all ten of the previous meetings, BC has been led by head coach Carlin Carpenter, who now owns 101 career wins at Bluffton.
These two teams last met in 1995 in a homecoming game that saw Bluffton come from behind for a 17-14 win.
Bluffton quarterback Brad Moore is listed as questionable for the game as he is recovering from a shoulder injury suffered in the Thiel game.
The Bluffton defense, which has yet to give up a point in the first half this season, ranks second in the HCAC in all three major categories, including pass defense (142.3 ypg), rush defense (108.7 ypg) and total defense (251.0 ypg).
The offense once again leads the league in rushing, averaging 248.0 yards per game, which is over 113 yards per game better than the number two-ranked team in that department. The Beavers rank third in total offense (383.0 ypg) and first in time of possession average (34:51).
The BC special teams are also ranked high, as BC leads the HCAC in kickoff return average (29.3 ypr) and punt return average (15.2 ypr) and ranks second in kickoff return coverage (14.2 ypr).
Running backs Ben Dodds (84.3 ypg) and Jovan Johnson (67.3 ypg) rank fourth and sixth in the HCAC, respectively, in rushing this season, while Johnson leads the conference in all-purpose yards per game (215.3). Defensively, junior linebacker Chris Sommers ranks sixth in tackles (9.0 tpg).