bc at thiel preview
Bluffton preps for road trip to face talented but 0-2 Thiel squadBy Tim Stried, SID
September 19, 2002
Bluffton College departs Friday for Greenville, Pa. to face a talented Thiel College squad that is much better than their 0-2 record might indicate.
Consider that both of Thiel's losses this season came against NAIA scholarship teams that the Tomcats proved they were certainly capable of beating. Thiel suffered a 13-9 loss at Malone College in the first week of the season and hosted Geneva College last Saturday and held a 26-10 lead in the third quarter before falling behind and eventually losing 41-26.
Bluffton brings a 1-1 record into Saturday's 1:30 kickoff (live on WDOH 107.1 FM) but will arguably be seeing their toughest opponent of the season so far when Thiel lines up across the ball from them. However, the Beavers are riding high after last week's 45-0 win over Hiram College in which the offense rolled up 549 total yards and the defense set three Salzman Stadium records for fewest yards allowed.
Last season Bluffton needed a 42-yard field goal by Adam Burgess as the clock expired to give Bluffton a 23-20 win over Thiel in Salzman Stadium. The Tomcats scored two fourth quarter touchdowns to tie the game before Bluffton mounted their game-winning drive with two minutes to go.
Saturday will mark the second start at tailback for Bluffton freshman Ben Dodds, who leads the squad with 234 yards rushing this season. The Thiel game last season marked the coming-out party for BC running back Jovan Johnson, who rushed for 168 yards and a touchdown in his first start at tailback. He has rushed for 161 yards and three touchdowns so far this season.
Injuries could once again have an impact on the game as starting wide receiver Jimmy Dwenger is questionable with a strained hamstring and quarterback Brad Moore will be playing with a deep leg bruise. Despite the injury, Moore was 13-for-18 passing for 136 yards last week against Hiram and on the season is completing 65.2% of his passes for 330 yards and no interceptions.
The Bluffton defense certainly got well last week against an undermanned Hiram squad, which could muster just 67 yards in total offense. This week the Beavers will be facing a Thiel offense that has a brand new backfield in 2002 but returns their starting tight end and three wide receivers.
Defensively, Thiel returns two linebackers and three defensive backs, including free safety Kennard Davis, who was a first team All-America selection by Don Hansen's Football Gazette last season.
Saturday will be Bluffton's first look at Thiel's new Alumni Stadium, which opened last season. It will be the Beavers' first game on an artificial surface since BC traveled to Wittenberg University in 1997.
Following the Thiel game, Bluffton will have a bye week before hosting Urbana University on October 5 for homecoming.