Bluffton vs. Defiance football preview
When: Saturday, November 11, 2006 at 1 p.m.
Where: Bluffton, Ohio - Dwight Salzman Stadium
On the Radio: Listen live to Bluffton University football on WDOH 107.1 FM and 99.3 WBWH.
Bluffton University welcomes long-time rival Defiance College to Salzman Stadium as the Beavers attempt to finish the 2006 season with a victory against the Yellow Jackets. Consecutive conference losses to Hanover and Mount St. Joseph have dropped Bluffton to 3-6 and 2-4 in the HCAC. After starting the season 6-1 and 4-0 in the HCAC, Defiance has lost its last two games to the top two teams in the conference, Mount St. Joseph and Franklin.
The Head Coaches
Greg Brooks is in his fourth year at the helm of the Bluffton University football team. The Beavers have put together a 13-26 mark during Brooks' tenure as the head coach. Brooks previously served as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for Bluffton, leading the Beavers to their best offensive seasons in school history. Prior to taking over the reins of the football program, Brooks was the head baseball coach at Bluffton.
Head coach Robert Taylor is finishing his fourth year at the helm of the Yellow Jackets' football program. He was named the 2005 Coach of the Year in the Heartland Conference after sparking a five-game improvement from 1-9 to 6-4, including a 4-2 mark in the HCAC last year. Taylor's penchant for tough defensive teams stems from his playing days at Albion College where he was a member of the NCAA Division III national champions in 1994 and the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association MVP as a defensive end in 1995.
Bluffton-Defiance Series History
Bluffton and Defiance will be on opposite sides of the field for the 82nd time this Saturday. The Yellow Jackets hold a slim 41-38 advantage with the teams also combining for two ties. Three out of the past four years Defiance has been victorious with the Yellow Jackets posting a convincing 41-14 win at Salzman Stadium in 2005.
Last Season's Contest
The Yellow Jackets jumped out to a 7-0 advantage less than one minute into the game when freshman tailback Scooter Curtis found a gap and sprinted 65 yards for the score.
Following a Bluffton punt, Defiance put together a seven-minute, 13-play drive that David Lamb capped with an eight-yard touchdown run.
The Beavers cut the difference to seven when wide receiver Anthony Bryant (Reynoldsburg/Reynoldsburg) hauled in a 26-yard touchdown reception from senior quarterback Jared Owens (Van Wert/Crestview) early in the second quarter.
Defiance took advantage of good field possession to end the first half with a two-touchdown
cushion when freshman quarterback Hans Vetter went into the end zone from 10 yards out with 26 seconds to play.
The Beavers again trimmed the Defiance lead to seven when junior fullback Ben McCullough (Bluffton/Bluffton) bulled his way across the goal line from the one-yard line late in the third quarter to trail by a score of 21-14.
On the first play of the fourth quarter, Vetter hit sophomore wideout Luke Dillon with a quick toss and the standout receiver and his blockers did the rest as he cut
through the Beavers' defense for a 59-yard touchdown to put the Yellow Jackets up
27-14. The Defiance defense continued to pressure the Beavers and it allowed the Yellow
Jacket offense to tack on two more touchdowns late in the game as Bluffton ended the
2005 season with a 41-14 loss.
Senior tailback Ben Dodds (West Liberty/Bellefontaine) missed the final game of his Bluffton career with a foot injury that he suffered in last week's game at Franklin. He ended his career with 3,692 yards on the ground, including 1,082 in 2005, and 36 touchdowns.
Owens completed eight passes for 110 yards and one touchdown to go over the 1,000 yard mark for the second time in his career. Sophomore tailback Terence Clayton (Napoleon/Napoleon) finished with 41 yards on 16 carries. Bryant caught three passes for 73 yards and one touchdown. Junior tight end Jeremy Haselman (Leipsic/Leipsic) picked up two receptions for 21 yards on the afternoon.
Sophomore linebacker Sam McCullough (Bluffton/Bluffton) once again led the Beaver defense with 10 tackles (4 solos) while senior linebacker Tim Koontz (Goshen, Ind./Concord) contributed with eight tackles.
Leading the Beavers
Senior quarterback Jared Owens, who leads the Beavers with 451 yards on the ground (three touchdowns) and 1,055 yards passing (seven touchdowns), will miss Bluffton's final game with a fractured rib suffered in the 17-0 loss at Mount St. Joseph a week ago. Freshman running back Andrew Ramthun (Springfield/Southeastern) has gained 421 yards (113 carries) on the ground with one touchdown. Junior wide receiver Anthony Bryant has 25 receptions for 325 yards, with a season-best five grabs for 119 yards and two touchdowns at Anderson. Fellow junior Aaron Whitlock (Grove City/Central Crossing) has 31 catches for 226 yards and a touchdown, including a 10-reception performance against Manchester College on Homecoming.
Junior linebacker Sam McCullough leads Bluffton with 105 tackles (32 solo). He has 6.5 tackles for a loss, one interception and two forced fumbles. McCullough's 105 tackles ranks him third in the HCAC with one game to play. Erick Buddin (Ypsilanti, Mich./Ypsilanti) has 47 tackles (29 solo), two interceptions for 58 yards and three breakups from his cornerback position while junior safety Taylor Iceman (Lucas/Lucas) is second on the Beavers' defense with 69 tackles and three timely interceptions. Sophomore defensive end Kyle Rode (Delphos/Jefferson) has 7.5 stops in the backfield for a total loss of 58 yards to go along with his four breakups, forced fumble and a blocked punt at Anderson.
Next up for the Beavers and Yellow JacketsThe 2006 season will come to close for both Defiance and Bluffton as a result of Mount St. Joseph's third consecutive Heartland Conference title. The Lions earned a bid to the NCAA Division III national playoffs thanks to a perfect 7-0 mark in the HCAC this year.