Bluffton 30, Kalamazoo 28
Bluffton rallies in fourth quarter for 30-28 win at Kalamazoo
September 4, 2010
KALAMAZOO, Mich. - The Bluffton University football team used a 10-minute edge in time of possession to rally for a thrilling 30-28 win at Kalamazoo on Saturday, Sept. 4, 2010, when quarterback Tyler Wright (Troy) went in from four yards out with just 47 ticks remaining. The Beavers stand 1-0 on the season while the Hornets move on to week two with a 0-1 mark.
A 13-play, 54-drive by the visitors to start the season was a preview of things to come for the Beavers as freshman Austin Sweeney (Adrian, Mich./Whitmer) put Bluffton on the scoreboard first with a 32-yard field goal. Kalamazoo responded with a five-yard Sam Landry scoring run on the ensuing possession, making the score 7-3 with 4:26 to play in the first quarter.
Bluffton used great field position on its third series to find the end zone early in period two. Alex Carter (Troy) put the Beavers at the Hornet 29 when he took back a Kalamazoo punt 23 yards. Antwane Miller (Canton/Timken) picked up nine yards on the ground before Chris Byrd (Detroit, Mich./Detroit University Prep) found Ryan Sabin (Canal Winchester) with a 10-yard strike. Byrd capped the drive with an eight-yard scoring toss to Jason A. Johnson (Lansing, Mich./Lansing Eastern) for a 10-7 lead.
The home team added a pair of touchdowns in the second quarter, making it 21-10 at halftime. With 7:37 to play in the third stanza, Bluffton took possession for the second time in the half and the Beavers again capitalized on good field position thanks to a three-and-out by the Hornets. Staring at a fourth and 17, Tyler Wright hooked up with Ryan Sabin for a 30-yard touchdown pass.
The Beavers went ahead 24-21 early in the fourth quarter when Steve Sealscott (Van Wert) collected a K-zoo fumble and took it 36 yards to the house. Wright connected with Todd Trotter (Cincinnati/Aiken University) on the two-point conversion.
Kalamazoo answered with a nine-play, 60-yard scoring drive that made it 28-24, but the Beavers jumped on Tyler Wright's back and he carried them home with six runs which totaled 43 yards, including the game-winner from four yards out. Kalamazoo moved the ball to the Bluffton 33-yard line before missing a 50-yard field goal as time expired.
Tyler Wright completed 14-of-27 passes for 116 yards and one touchdown. He also led the Bluffton ground attack with 116 yards and one TD on 22 carries. Chris Byrd was 9-of-13 for 81 yards and a score. Antwane Miller went for 54 yards on 11 rushes. Todd Trotter hauled in nine catches for 80 yards, while Jason A. Johnson caught four passes for 30 yards. Ryan Sabin chipped in with 45 yards on three receptions.
Junior captain Jake Luthy (Ida, Mich/Ida) paced Bluffton with 6.5 tackles, including a sack and two forced fumbles. Josh Runda (Lima/Bath) added 4.5 tackles and a forced fumble. Junior defensive lineman Jerry Stone (Cardington/Cardington-Lincoln) finished with two sacks for 17 yards.
Bluffton (396) and Kalamazoo (440) combined for 836 total yards with the Beavers sporting an extremely balanced 199 yards rushing and 197 yards through the air. The visitors controlled the ball for over 35 minutes and they converted on 8-of-17 third down opportunities and 2-of-6 on fourth down. Bluffton was 3-of-4 on red zone chances and picked up seven more first downs (26-19) than their offensive-minded counterparts from Kalamazoo.
Bluffton will face its second MIAA opponent in as many weeks when the Beavers welcome nationally-ranked Trine University to Salzman Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 11, 2010. The contest is slated to kick off at 1:30 p.m.