bluffton vs. defiance
4-5, 3-2 HCAC
Bluffton, Ohio: 1:30 p.m.
Records out the window Saturday for annual Bluffton-Defiance battleNovember 5, 2001
Setting the scene
Emotions will be running high in Salzman Stadium Saturday afternoon as Bluffton College faces longtime rival Defiance College in the Beavers' final game of the 2001 season. Defiance, ranked 28th in the latest AFCA Division III Coaches' Poll, has already clinched the Heartland Conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III national playoffs, but the Yellow Jackets will be looking for a win to be the sole champions of the HCAC.
A Bluffton victory could deny Defiance the conference championship outright, however the Yellow Jackets would still advance to the playoffs thanks to their 27-7 win over second-place Anderson last Saturday. The Ravens host Manchester (2-7, 1-4) Saturday and will be listening intently on the score from Salzman Stadium, as a Bluffton win would vault the Ravens into a share of the conference championship along side Defiance.
Carpenter looking for 100th win
BC head coach Carlin Carpenter will be in search of his 100th career win as the Bluffton legend wraps up his 23rd season at the helm of the BC football program. Carpenter, who is a 1964 graduate of Defiance College and a member of the DC Athletic Hall of Fame, is an even 10-10 all-time against his alma mater. He owns the longest tenure among Ohio's collegiate head football coaches.
Bluffton has lined up against Defiance more than any other opponent in the 85-year history of BC football. The Beavers have met Defiance 76 times, with the Yellow Jackets narrowly leading the all-time series 37-36-3. Since 1985, however, Bluffton holds a 9-5 advantage and has won the last two meetings.
These two teams met on the football field at least once every season from 1923 to 1997 before Defiance joined the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in 1998, which caused a two-year hiatus in the series. Last season, with both teams members of the HCAC, the rivalry was renewed with Bluffton taking a 31-30 win in Defiance, which denied the Yellow Jackets a trip to the playoffs and a share of the HCAC title. Both teams finished with a 7-3 mark last season, but Bluffton shared the conference title with Hanover.
BC Head Coach Carlin Carpenter is 99-118-1 in his 23rd season at Bluffton College. Defiance Head Coach Greg Pscodna is 26-29 in his sixth season with the Yellow Jackets. These two men shared the 2000 HCAC Coach of the Year award.
November 11, 2000: Bluffton 31, Defiance 30: After falling behind 14-0, Bluffton went on a 31-3 scoring run to seemingly put the game away, but the Yellow Jackets scored two late fourth quarter touchdowns to get back into the game. Defiance's final TD came with just 33 seconds left in the game, but the extra point kick sailed wide left and Bluffton recovered the ensuing onside kick to clinch a one-point victory and a share of the HCAC title.
Senior running back Tyson Goings rushed for 136 yards and three touchdowns in the win, while quarterback Brad Moore passed for 208 yards, including a 24-yard TD strike to Jovan Johnson, who caught eight passes for 155 yards in the game.
A huge momentum swing just before halftime knocked the wind out of Bluffton's sails as the Beavers fell to 20th ranked Thomas More College 50-14 in Crestview Hills, Kentucky. Bluffton trailed 21-7 and appeared to be going in for a key touchdown with just six seconds left in the first half, but TMC picked off a BC pass and returned in 90 yards to go on top 28-7. The Saints then scored touchdowns on their first three possessions of the second half, while the Bluffton offense went three-and-out over the same span.
Defiance, meanwhile, collected a huge HCAC win over Anderson 27-7 to clinch at least a share of the conference title and an automatic berth into the national playoffs. The Yellow Jackets racked up 226 yards on the ground and forced five turnovers, which limited the high-powered Anderson passing game to 264 yards.
Strength vs. strength
In many ways these two teams are near mirror images of each other. Both teams own strong rushing attacks (DC #1, BC #2 in rushing offense), both take care of the football (DC #1, BC #2 in turnover margin and time of possession) and feature solid defenses (DC #1, BC #2 in pass defense and total defense). Neither team has had to rely heavily on throwing the football, as Defiance ranks sixth in the HCAC in passing yards per game and Bluffton ranks seventh.
Defiance, who returned 18 starters this season, holds in the edge in the scoring department, however, as the Yellow Jackets rank second in scoring offense (30.2 ppg, BC #5 with 22.2 ppg) and first in scoring defense (12.7 ppg, BC #3 with 24.3 ppg). Defiance also leads the league in quarterback sacks, but Bluffton has committed the fewest penalties and has the league's best fourth-down defense.
Bluffton moves the football primarily with sophomore running back Jovan Johnson (#2 in HCAC with 104.4 ypg, 6 TD) and junior quarterback Brad Moore (#4 in HCAC with 143.7 ypg, 10 TD). Defiance, meanwhile, uses two players at both those positions to get the job done. Running backs Maurice Hooker (#1 in HCAC with 108.7 ypg, 10 TD) and Mike Moran (#3 in HCAC, 91.2 ypg, 9 TD) lead the running game and rank 1-2 in the league in scoring, while quarterbacks Walker Graher (83.7 ypg) and Kevin Kelly (75.1 ypg) share the passing duties and share an identical pass efficiency rating, which is below that of Bluffton's Moore.
Bluffton's Johnson leads the HCAC in all-purpose yards (177.6 ypg), while Defiance's Kyle Acheson ranks first in interceptions (5). Both teams feature talented middle linebackers, as Bluffton's Chris Sommers ranks third in the HCAC in tackles (9.8 tpg) and Defiance's Nate Schaublin ranks sixth (9.6 tpg). Kickers Matt Daniel (DC) and Adam Burgess (BC) share the HCAC lead in field goals made (8).
Seniors hope to go out winners
Today is the final game in the career of 10 Bluffton College seniors, who own a 23-16 overall record in their four years at BC. This class includes Chris Clemens, Jeff Company, Tom Marshall, Rick Orr, Jon Richardson, Ben Schwab, Josh Slaughter, Jon Spradling, Jamie Stevens and James Wagner.