Bluffton 17, Kalamazoo 14
Beavers crack the win column with 17-14 victory over visiting Kalamazoo
September 23, 2006
BLUFFTON, Ohio. - For the second straight week, the Bluffton University football team went up against a strong squad from the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association, however, the Beavers found the result more to their liking following a hard fought victory over Kalamazoo College on Saturday, September 23, 2006. The Hornets found themselves on the wrong end of a 17-14 score for the second consecutive week. Kalamazoo opened its 2006 season at Austin College in Texas a week ago and lost by an identical 17-14 score. In that contest, the Hornets lost their quarterback, Tim Kaselitz, a three-year starter, for the season when he went down with an elbow injury late in the first half. With the victory, the Beavers improve to 1-2 as they get ready for the Heartland Conference opener on Sept. 30 at Franklin.
On the Beavers' first possession, Bluffton used an array of running plays, including an Anthony Bryant (Reynoldsburg/Reynoldsburg) sweep for 12 yards, and short completions to march to the 11-yard line of Kalamazoo where freshman kicker Justin Guy (Oregon/Clay) gave the Beavers a 3-0 lead with a 28-yard field goal midway through the first quarter. Thanks to a three and out and 15-yard punt by the Hornets, Bluffton took over with great field position at the Kalamazoo 46-yard line. Completed passes to Rustin Pickett (Urbana/Urbana) and Michael Brown (North Wales, Penn./Calvary Christian Academy) along with scampers by Jared Owens (Van Wert/Crestview) set up a 10-yard scoring strike to Jeremy (Bud) Haselman (Leipsic/Leipsic) with 2:51 remaining in the quarter, giving the Beavers a 10-0 advantage.
After a three and out for the Beavers early in quarter two, Kalamazoo put together a 13-play, 57-yard drive which soaked 6:43 off the clock and culminated with a one-yard Stephen Johnston run for a Hornet touchdown. Jordan Tallman moved Kalamazoo with his pinpoint passing and kept the drive alive with his ability to evade the Bluffton defense as the Hornets pulled within three points with five minutes and change remaining in the opening half. The defenses did the job for the final five minutes as the Beavers took a 10-7 lead into halftime.
The Beavers emerged from the lockerroom with a stellar offensive series to open the second half. Anthony hauled in a couple quick receptions to start the drive. Andrew Ramthun (Springfield/Southeastern) and Owens then took over on the ground as they combined for 46 rushing yards on the drive which culminated with a 14-yard touchdown run by Ramthun. A botched snap to punter Kyle Coleman (Etna/Watkins Memorial) gave Kalamazoo possession of the football on the Bluffton 27 with six minutes remaining in the third quarter. The Hornets took advantage as Mike Leifeld picked up a two-yard touchdown reception, again cutting the Kalamazoo deficit to three points.
After stalled drives by both squads, Kalamazoo was knocking at the door midway through the fourth stanza until a false start and 15-yard loss by the Hornets took them out of field goal range. Following a short drive by the Beavers, Kalamazoo took over at their own 40-yard line with 2:31 remaining in the game. The Bluffton defense forced a fourth and 10, but Tallman hooked up with Randy Rzeznik for a 15-yard completion to keep the drive alive. With no receivers open, Tallmen then found daylight as he darted out of bounds for a 16-yard gain to the Bluffton 29 yard-line. A 25-yard strike to Rzeznik gave Kalamazoo a first down at the Bluffton four-yard line with time winding down. The Beavers' defense stuffed the Hornets and forced a 20-yard field goal attempt with 46 seconds remaining. As the kick sailed just outside the left crossbar, the Beaver faithful sensed that victory was imminent and serenaded the team with their kazoos. A pair of kneel downs by quarterback Jared Owens sealed the victory as the Beavers improved to 1-2 with the 17-14 win over a quality Kalamazoo College team on Bluffton University Community Day.
Ramthun led the Beavers on the ground with 16 rushes for 75 yards. Owens completed 14-of-22 passes for 140 yards and a touchdown. The Bluffton receiving corps was paced by Bryant who grabbed six receptions for 68 yards. Brown and Pickett both picked up two receptions while Haselman caught a 10-yard pass for a touchdown.
Sam McCullough (Bluffton/Bluffton) finished the afternoon with 10 tackles and a pass breakup while Erick Buddin (Ypsilanti, Mich./Ypsilanti) chipped in with seven tackles. Gordon Hagen (Toledo/Libbey) picked off a Tallman pass and Tyler Schwab (Medina/Medina) found his way into the backfield for a sack.
The Bluffton offense racked up 17 first downs and gained 214 yards compared to Kalamazoo's 270 yards. The Beavers controlled the clock, however, as their offense had the ball for over 35 minutes, 15 more minutes than they did at Adrian a week ago. On third down opportunities, Bluffton converted 7-of-16 chances while stopping the Hornets on 10-of-14 tries. It all added up to Bluffton's first victory of the season, while the Hornets fall to 0-2 following a pair of long road trips to start the season.
Bluffton travels to Franklin College on Saturday, Septamber 30, for the 2006 Heartland Conference opener against a 3-0 Grizzly team that knocked off the Beavers, 24-21, at Franklin a year ago. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:30.