BC looks for first ever win against Thomas More SaturdayOctober 30, 2000
Bluffton College hosts Thomas More College Saturday as the Beavers look for their first ever win over the Saints from Crestview Hills, Ky. For 15 BC seniors playing in what might be their last game in Salzman Stadium, a victory would be a lasting memory on their playing career for the Beavers.
Bluffton came from behind last Saturday to beat Franklin College 24-15 in Indiana as the Beavers scored 17 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to erase a 14-7 deficit heading into the final 15 minutes of play. BC is now 6-2 overall and 4-1 in the Heartland Conference, which puts them on top of the league standings as Defiance and Hanover are both 3-1 in the HCAC.
Thomas More, which is not in an athletic conference, is an impressive 8-1 overall and 4-0 against teams in the Heartland Conference. The Saints started out the season 3-0 that included a 38-37 win at home against Hanover, who beat Bluffton 24-15 on Oct. 14. However, a week after beating Hanover, Thomas More was dealt a 13-12 loss at Thiel College, where Bluffton took a 40-19 win on Sept. 16. Thomas More plays every school in the HCAC except for Mount St. Joseph.
A key match-up in Saturday’s game will pit the Thomas More defensive front against the Bluffton offensive line and running back Tyson Goings. The Saints rank 16th in the country in rushing defense, allowing just 71.9 yards per game. Goings, however, ranks 8th in the country and first in the HCAC in rushing, as he averages 161.7 yards rushing per game and ranks third on the Bluffton career rushing list with 4,086 yards.
Bluffton’s win last week at Franklin was predicted to be a hard-fought contest as the Grizzlies upset unbeaten Defiance College the week before. Last Saturday Thomas More handed Defiance their second loss of the season by the final score of 17-7 in Defiance. Bluffton travels to Defiance in the last regular season game of the season.
Even though Saturday’s game doesn’t count in the HCAC standings, there is still a lot on the line for both teams. Bluffton hopes to keep on the winning track for a good overall record and gain momentum for their showdown at Defiance next Saturday. Thomas More, however, hopes to close out the season 9-1 and keep their hopes alive for an at-large berth in the post-season party.
Against Franklin last week, BC defensive back Shawn Goetz recorded another excellent game with two interceptions, a blocked field goal and five tackles. Quarterback Brad Moore also had a fine game as he ran for two touchdowns and threw for another. His current pass efficiency rating of 157.3 is the third best single-season rating of all time. Thomas More has a very talented offensive backfield, as well. Quarterback Jesse Lowry and running back Will Castleberry are both ranked in many national statistics (see page 32 for details).
Bluffton and Thomas More have not met on the football field since 1997 but were both members of the old Association of Mideast Colleges for six seasons in the 1990s. Thomas More won or shared the AMC title each season and have a 76-33 overall record in the ten seasons that the Sainst have been playing football. They have won all seven meetings against the Beavers and the average score of their victories has been 27 points.
Bluffton travels to Defiance next Saturday for a chance at winning the 2000 Heartland Conference title. If Bluffton wins at Defiance and Hanover loses one of their last two league games, Bluffton would get the Heartland Conference automatic bid to the playoffs. Hanover hosts Manchester this Saturday and travels to Franklin on November 11. Should the Beavers enter the playoffs it would be Bluffton’s first-ever appearance in the NCAA playoffs (BC appeared in the NAIA national playoffs in 1987 and 1988).