Manchester 33, BC 25 3 OT
By Ben Risinger, SID
November 8, 2003
BLUFFTON, OHIO - The Bluffton College football team (2-7, 0-5 HCAC) lost a thriller to the conference foe Manchester (2-7, 1-4 HCAC) 33-25 in the third overtime on Saturday.
The Beavers seemed to have the game in their hands as they led 25-17 with less than two minutes left in regulation. A quick 17 yard pass from Spartan quarterback Michael Blosser to Cory Garver put the game 25-23. A two-point conversion later and the game was tied at 25, heading into overtime.
Both teams had a wild ride in the overtime period. In the first overtime, the Spartans were stopped and a 31 yard field goal by Eric Carrion failed to send the game into the second OT. Beaver quarterback Jared Owens found a pass intercepted in the second overtime, only for the Spartans to fumble the ball to be recovered by Bluffton only three plays later to let the game roll on.
Finally, in the third overtime Spartan quarterback Blosser threw a nine yard pass to Cory Garver for the touchdown. Another two-point conversion finished the scoring 33-25. The possession of the ball returned to the Beavers and four plays later Ben McCullough looked as if he had the touchdown, but fumbled the ball on the one yard line to be recovered by Manchester, ending the contest.
Going into halftime, the score was not reminiscent of what would become later as Manchester led only 7-6. The Spartans led the entire contest until 3:24 left in the third quarter when Ben Dodds posted a nine yard run to take the lead 13-10. At the end of the quarter, McCullough found the end zone one more time to widen the lead 19-10. At the 7:44 mark in the fourth, Manchester would score to make the score 19-17. Bluffton answered back four minutes later when Dodds posted a 19 yard run to widen the lead 25-17. That would end Bluffton's scoring effort and the rest was history.
Beaver quarterback Owens went 19-9-1 for 78 yards in the air. Dodds led the offensive effort with two rushing touchdowns (31 carries for 139 yards) and had five receptions for 41 yards. Fullback Ben McCullough had 20 carries for 85 yards and a single touchdown. Scott Steiner led the defense in the contest with 16 tackles (7 solo, 9 assisted), two pass deflections and 1.5 TFL's for 4 yards. Chris Sommers posted 11 tackles (2 solo, 9 assisted) for the game.
Both teams posted extremely similar statistics with Manchester showing 389 (69 rushing, 320 passing) total yards, compared to Bluffton's 354 (276 rushing, 78 passing). Each team had a total of 84 offensive plays. The Beavers led in first downs with 23, compared to Manchester's 19. The game was a sound one as only one penalty went to Bluffton with the Spartans not posting any at all. Manchester led in time of possession (42:56), compared to Bluffton (31:58).
The Beavers will travel to HCAC foe and rival Defiance next Saturday. Manchester will host Anderson. Both games will be the 2003 season finales for each school. Kickoff for both contests in scheduled for 1 p.m.