Anderson 25, Bluffton 18 (OT)
Beavers fall to Anderson on Homecoming in overtime, 25-18
October 20, 2007
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University football team had Anderson University on the ropes late in the fourth quarter before a Chase Thurston sneak and two-point conversion by Denny Kimmel knotted the score at 18 with 3:58 to play in the contest. The teams traded interceptions before a missed 50-yard field goal attempt by the Ravens sent the game to overtime. Similar to the ending of the 2005 Homecoming game with Anderson, Kimmel put the Ravens up 25-18 when he followed his 21-yard gain with a four-yard spurt to paydirt. The Beavers lost six yards on their first two plays of overtime and following a Kyle Coleman (Etna/Watkins Memorial) incompletion, Luke Hurst came up with an interception in the end zone, sealing the 25-18 victory for the Ravens who picked up their first HCAC win of the year and improved to 2-5 overall. Bluffton fell to 0-7 overall and 0-4 in Heartland Conference play.
After two straight three-and-outs to open the game for the Beavers, Anderson picked up a Bluffton fumble at the home 22-yard line. Three plays later, Tristan Cork split the uprights with a 44-yard field goal to give Anderson a 3-0 lead with 28 seconds to play in quarter one.
The Beavers struggled to move the ball until Coleman hit tight end Joel Sienicki (Goshen, Ind./Northridge) over the middle for a 25-yard gain early in the second quarter. The drive stalled at the Anderson 35, but Coleman's pooch punt pinned the Ravens at their own 10-yard line. Two Anderson snaps sailed past the quarterback in three plays and when Kimmel landed on the second one in the end zone, Bluffton picked up two points on the safety.
A pair of first downs on their ensuing possession had the Beavers' fans on the edge of their seats before Hurst picked off Coleman at the Anderson 34 midway through the period.
The Ravens opened up their playbook with a 35-yard completion to Zach Duke and 10-yarder to Ryan Kell, putting the ball on the home 21-yard line. Kimmel was stopped just short of the goal line before Thurston went in from the one-yard line to give Anderson a 10-2 lead at the 6:25 mark of the first half.
Anthony Bryant (Reynoldsburg/Reynoldsburg) gave Bluffton great field position when he took the ensuing kickoff back to the Bluffton 40-yard line. Bluffton was methodical with the ball, going 60 yards on 13 plays as the Beavers capped the drive with a five-yard touchdown strike from Coleman to Drew Lovelace (Trumansburg, NY/Charles U. Dickerson). An unsuccessful two-point conversion left the score at 10-8 in favor of the Ravens at the break.
A missed handoff by the Ravens on the second half kickoff gave Bluffton the ball at the Anderson 15 to start period three. Three Cameron Campeau (Pfafftown, N.C.) rushes later and the Beavers found themselves with a 15-10 lead when he went in from seven yards out.
Late in the third quarter, sophomore cornerback Jordan Simmons (Lorain/Admiral King) jumped in front of an Anderson wideout and picked off the Ravens at the Bluffton 33-yard line. He found a seam and nearly went to the house before Kimmel knocked him out of bounds at the Anderson 12. A personal foul on the Ravens placed the ball at the six. Campeau appeared to find the end zone on the Beavers' second play from scrimmage, but an illegal shift by the Bluffton offense took the touchdown off the board. Two incomplete passes forced Bluffton to kick a field goal. Jonathan Thompson's (Carmel, Ind./Carmel) 30-yarder made the score 18-10 in favor of the Beavers as the third quarter came to a close.
An Anderson flea flicker which saw wide receiver Brady Church throwing down the field to Ryan Kell drew a 15-yard pass interference flag, giving Anderson the ball on the home 34-yard line. Thurston found Terry Perky for a 14-yard gain before Kimmel moved he chains to the one-yard line. Thurston jumped across the goal line and when Kimmel went around the right end for two points, Anderson found itself in an 18-18 tie with less than four minutes in regulation. Both teams traded interceptions late in the game, setting up another Bluffton-Anderson Homecoming overtime finish.
Kimmel need only two plays to give the Ravens a seven-point lead in overtime. The Anderson defense pushed Bluffton back to the 31-yard line after the Beavers' first two plays. Coleman's pass intended for Lovelace on third down was off the mark and Hurst ended the game with his fourth down pick in the end zone as Anderson won 25-18, knocking off the Beavers in their 2007 Homecoming contest.
Anderson picked up 241 yards for the game, including 122 on the ground and 119 through the air. The Beavers were held to just 130 yards and 10 first downs, six fewer than the Ravens. Neither team did well on third down as Anderson converted on 5-of-16 chances while the Beavers were successful on only 5-of-17 opportunities.
Mason led the Beavers with 70 yards on 18 carries. Coleman completed 10 passes for 71 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions. Sienicki hauled in four passes for 51 yards. Fifth-year senior Denny Kimmel, who has led the team in rushing each of his five years at Anderson despite playing only three games due to an injury in 2006, netted 155 yards on the ground for the Ravens and his touchdown in overtime proved to be the game-winner.
Sam McCullough (Bluffton/Bluffton) notched a game-high 15 tackles and a sack, giving him 100 stops for the season with three games to play. Senior Gordon Hagen (Toledo/Libbey) tallied 10 tackles for the Beavers. Junior defensive ends Kyle Rode (Delphos/Jefferson) and Mitch Agner (Leipsic/Leipsic) added eight stops apiece.
Bluffton returns to action on Saturday, Oct. 27, 2007, when it travels to Hanover College to face the Panthers. The contest is slated to start at 1:30 p.m.