Hanover 42, Bluffton 19
Six turnovers cost Bluffton in 42-19 loss to Hanover
By: Brandy Bidlack, sports information assistant
November 8, 2008
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University football team fell to Heartland Conference rival Hanover College, 42-19, on Saturday, November 8, 2008. Six Bluffton turnovers proved too much to overcome as the Panthers improved to 2-6 overall and 2-4 in the HCAC while the Beavers dropped to 1-8, with a 0-6 mark in the conference.
Bluffton was the first to light up the scoreboard as Jonathan Thompson (Carmel, Ind./Carmel) drilled a 32-yard field goal with 3:25 to play in the opening quarter. With just less than two minutes left in the first quarter, Tyler Thiems went in from two yards out and the ensuing extra point conversion made it 7-3 after Hanover picked up a Bluffton fumble at the home 21-yard line.
Thompson opened the second quarter with his second field goal of the afternoon, a 25-yarder following a Panther fumble that was forced by junior Brandon Herr (Bluffton) deep in Hanover territory. Curtis Griffin (Lima/Senior) blocked Corry Stewart's punt after a Hanover three-and-out, but another Bluffton fumble gave the ball back to the visitors. Nick Sharp led the Panthers on a 12-play, 70-yard scoring drive that took just 3:59 off the clock and was capped by a five-yard Sharp run to paydirt.
The first Hanover drive of the second stanza resulted in 12-yard scoring run by Josh Juett as the Panthers needed just four plays to go 47 yards. With a fiery offense, the next Panther drive down the field added another seven points for Hanover as Josh Reintjes ran for a total of 31 yards on five rushes.
After Andrew Lovelace (Trumansburg, NY/Charles O. Dickerson) collected 20 yards on the ensuing kickoff return, freshman Antwane Miller (Canton/Timken) tore through the Panther defense for a 77-yard touchdown on a reverse, making the score 28-13 with 4:50 to play in the third quarter.
With a little over a minute left in the third, Nick Sharp failed to connect with his teammates as Kyle Coleman (Etna/Watkins Memorial) came up with the pick six and converted for a 45-yard sprint to the end zone, pulling the Beavers within nine points of the Panthers at 28-19.
Hanover retaliated in the fourth quarter with two touchdowns from Josh Juett to finish off Bluffton, 42-19, giving the Panthers their second win on the year and in the conference.
Hanover put up 428 yards of total offense, compared to only 244 for Bluffton. The Beavers held possession of the ball for 28:07, compared to 31:53 by the Panthers. Both teams threw costly interceptions during the game, four for Bluffton and three by Hanover.
Ben Ilnicki (Indianapolis, Ind./Brebeuf Preparatory) completed 12-of-26 passes for a total of 111 yards while Derek Dunlap (St. Marys/Memorial) went 4-of-11 for 36 yards. Dan Chipka (Waterville/Anthony Wayne) added five receptions for a team-high 37 yards. Leading the Beavers on the ground was Antwane Miller who gained 80 yards on three carries. Ross Shoup (Apple Creek/Waynedale) caught three balls for 34 yards.
Panthers' quarterback Nick Sharp completed 25-of-41 passes for a total of 196 yards in the contest while four Hanover teammates pounded out 232 yards rushing.
Mitch Agner (Leipsic/Leipsic) paced the Beavers' defense with 14 tackles and teammate Kyle Rode (Delphos/Delphos Jefferson) had the lone Bluffton sack for the day. Steven Sealscott (Van Wert/Van Wert), Kyle Rode, and Justin Croiser (Columbus/Hamilton Township) chipped in with nine stops each. Mitch Dunlap (St. Marys/Memorial) and Kyle Coleman had interception returns of 54 and 45 yards, respectively.
Bluffton finishes the 2008 season as the Beavers host long-time rival Defiance College in the final HCAC contest of the year on November 15. Kickoff is slated to start at 1:30 p.m. in Salzman Stadium.