BC hosts Defiance
Bluffton aiming to end season on positive note at home against rival Defiance
By Tim Stried, SID
November 11, 2002
Setting the scene
These two teams have met on the football field 77 times, which stands as the most in each schools' history and ranks as the sixth-longest running rivalry in Ohio small college football. And even though the HCAC title isn't at stake Saturday, as it was when these two teams met the previous two seasons, the pride factor makes this game huge regardless of the won-lost records. Bluffton is 3-1 at home this season, while Defiance in 1-3 on the road.
Positive note to end the season
Neither team has had the season they hoped for, so a win Saturday would end the season on a positive note. Bluffton was picked fourth in the HCAC pre-season poll and started out the season 2-2, but is now sixth in the league standings after dropping four of their last five games. Defiance, meanwhile was picked second in that poll and started out the season 2-1, but is now seventh in the HCAC after losing their last six games, including all five HCAC contests.
Bluffton seniors aim for final win
Bluffton's 14 seniors will be aiming for a win Saturday in their final collegiate football game. This group of seniors has compiled a 22-17 overall record so far in their four years at BC, including a 14-6 record in Salzman Stadium. See page five for a senior group picture.
Another close finish in 2002?
Don't be surprised if Saturday's game goes down to the final seconds as it has the last two years when Bluffton held significant leads but saw Defiance come back in the final minutes. In 2000 Bluffton held a 31-17 lead in the fourth quarter before two Defiance touchdowns nearly sent the game into overtime. However, the Jackets missed the extra point following the last score with 33 seconds left to give BC a 31-30 win. Last year Bluffton led 21-3 late in the third quarter before Defiance brought the score to 21-16 and drove to the BC 11-yard line with eight seconds left in the game before throwing an interception in the endzone. Bluffton's win in 2000 gave the Beavers a share of the HCAC title and denied Defiance an outright league title and trip to the NCAA playoffs, while the victory last season forced Defiance to share the HCAC championship with Anderson.
The series (DC leads 38-37-2)
These two teams first met back in 1914, with Defiance taking a 13-7 win. Since then the Beavers and Yellow Jackets have met 76 times with Defiance holding a slight edge in the all-time series 38-37-2. With a win Saturday, Bluffton can extend their winning streak against the Yellow Jackets to four games in a row.
Bluffton is led by head coach Carlin Carpenter, who owns a school-record 103 wins (103-124-1 overall). Carpenter collected his 100th win in the final game of the 2001 season as Bluffton defeated Defiance 21-16. Now in his 24th season at BC, Carpenter owns the longest tenure among Ohio's collegiate head football coaches. Defiance is led by head coach Greg Pscodna, who owns a 28-38 record at DC in his seventh season.
Bluffton is coming off a disappointing 18-6 loss last Saturday at Manchester that saw the Beavers fail to score a touchdown for the first time since the third game of the 1998 season, a streak that had reached 45 games. Two field goals by David Samsal gave BC their six points, which tied the score at 6-6 as the third quarter ended, but Manchester came up with two touchdowns in the final period to end Bluffton's four-game winning streak over the Spartans. Defiance, meanwhile, had a bye last week after losing 18-14 to Manchester on Nov. 2. The Yellow Jackets committed six turnovers in that game as both teams combined for 17 punts and just 355 yards in total offense.
BC, DC in HCAC team rankings
With 181.1 yards rushing per game, Bluffton is on pace to lead the HCAC in rushing for the third time in the last four years. The Beavers are averaging over 47 yards per game more than the second-ranked team in that category (Mt. St. Joseph, 133.8 ypg) and will be going up against a Defiance rush defense that ranks sixth in the HCAC (allowing 167.6 ypg). Bluffton also leads the HCAC in punt returns (10.9 ypr) and third down conversion efficiency (48.8%) and ranks third in total offense (368.8 ypg). Defiance leads the league in pass defense (allowing 190.8 ypg) and ranks second in turnover margin as the Yellow Jackets are +5 in that category (BC is even).
BC, DC in HCAC individual rankings
Three of the HCAC's top five running backs will be in Salzman Stadium Saturday. Bluffton's Jovan Johnson ranks fourth (64.4 ypg) and Ben Dodds ranks fifth (64.2 ypg), while Defiance's Mike Moran ranks second (86.9 ypg). Last season Moran was averaging 91.2 ypg going into the final game but was held to 40 yards by the Bluffton defense, while Johnson ended the game with 156 yards to claim the HCAC individual rushing title with 1,096 yards. In addition, this season, Johnson leads the HCAC in all-purpose yards (169.2 ypg) and kickoff return average (26.7 ypr) and ranks 4th in receptions (5.9 rpg), 5th in receiving yards (64.3 ypg) and 2nd in scoring (7.3 ppg).
Bluffton quarterback Brad Moore ranks 5th in the HCAC in passing yardage (185.0 ypg), while Defiance quarterback Corey Minnfield ranks 4th (202.8 ypg). BC middle linebacker Chris Sommers leads the HCAC in tackles (11.6 tpg), while Defiance linebacker Ryan Ditty ranks 4th with 9.7. Bluffton's David Samsal leads the HCAC in extra-point kicking percentage (90.5%, 19-for-21) and ranks 2nd in punting average (37.5 ypp).