Kalamazoo 39, Bluffton 14
Kalamazoo takes advantage of turnovers in 39-14 win at Bluffton
September 3, 2011
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University football team rallied in the second half but turnovers proved to be the difference as Kalamazoo scored a 39-14 win over the Beavers on a hot and humid Saturday, Sept. 3, 2011. Bluffton starts the season 0-1, while the Hornets head into week two at 1-0.
Two turnovers by the home team in the first four minutes of the game set up a pair of Dimeko Price touchdowns for the Hornets. K-zoo jumped on top 12-0 at the 9:03 mark of the first quarter when Price went in from six yards out. The Bluffton offense moved the chains three times early in period two before the visitors came up big at their own 30-yard line on a fourth-and-four. Shawn Frost (Edison/Mt. Gilead) hauled in a 29-yard pass from Chris Byrd (Detroit, Mich./Detroit University Prep) and Airic Steagall (Hillsboro rambled for 11 and 18-yard gains before the offense bogged down.
The Hornets put together a 10-play, 67-yard scoring drive to open the second half, making the score 19-0. Quarterback Nick Jones capped it off with a five-yard run to the end zone. Two possessions later, Jones found Jimmy Frye for a 53-yard hookup and 26-0 advantage with less than three minutes to play in the period.
Byrd answered the call with a 54-yard bomb to Jason A. Johnson (Lansing, Mich./Lansing Eastern) down the right sideline with 54 ticks remaining in the third quarter, breathing life back into the Gameday crowd. Three minutes later Byrd found a seem and went 15 yards to the house, pulling the Beavers within two scores at 26-14.
With the momentum clearly on the side of the home team, Bluffton held the Hornets to a quick three-and-out, however, a five-yard penalty on the punt gave Kalamazoo new life. K-zoo took advantage, going 50 yards over the next eight plays to make the score 33-14 when Jones went in from eight yards out. Price capped the scoring with a 32-yard touchdown, his third of the afternoon, for a final margin of 39-14
Steagall went for 66 yards on 22 carries, while Byrd chipped in with 10 carries for 50 yards and a score. The senior signal-caller connected on 8-of-21 passes for 141 yards and a touchdown. Jason A. Johnson finished with four catches for 88 yards and a TD. Frost hauled in three balls for 56 yards.
Jerry Stone (Cardington/Cardington-Lincoln) led the Beaver defense with eight tackles, including 1.5 for a loss. Linebackers Jake Luthy (Ida, Mich./Ida), Shane Hubbard (Johnstown/Big Walnut) and Joe Maldonado (Dade City, Fla./Zephyrhills) all tallied six stops each.
Bluffton out-gained the Hornets 153 yards to 122 yards on the ground, while K-zoo had a 256-173 advantage through the air. Kalamazoo finished with 378 yards of total offense, compared to 326 for the home team. The visitors were 4-of-4 on red zone chances and the Beavers converted on 2-of-5 fourth downs.
The Beavers return to action when they travel to defending MIAA champion Trine University. The contest at Angola, Ind. is slated for 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 10.