bc 21, defiance 16
Bluffton upsets playoff-bound Defiance 21-16November 10, 2001
Bluffton College collected three key second-half interceptions Saturday, the last of which came in their own endzone with just 29 seconds left in the game, as the Beavers upset playoff-bound Defiance College 21-16 in Salzman Stadium.
Bluffton (5-5, 4-2 Heartland Conference) built a 21-3 lead, but Defiance (8-2, 5-1) scored the final two touchdowns of the game and was driving for the potential game-winner when freshman Scott Steiner intercepted a tipped pass in the endzone with 29 ticks left on the clock.
Defiance will remain as the Heartland Conference representative in the NCAA Division III playoffs next weekend, but could now share the HCAC title with Anderson University if Anderson defeated Manchester this afternoon.
The win was the 100th in the 23-year career of BC head coach Carlin Carpenter, as the Beavers once again defeated Defiance in the final game of the season. Last season BC's 31-30 win in Defiance cost the Yellow Jackets the HCAC title and trip to the playoffs. Defiance's opponent in the playoffs for next weekend will be announced Sunday afternoon.
Bluffton sophomore tailback Jovan Johnson rushed for 156 yards and a touchdown to lead the BC ground attack, which churned out 248 yards in the ball game. Johnson outgained Defiance tailback Maurice Hooker by 74 yards to end the season as the 2001 Heartland Conference rushing champion. A Bluffton running back has now led the HCAC each of the last four seasons (Tyson Goings had the first three titles).
Defiance entered the game as the top-ranked rushing team in the conference, averaging over 212 yards per game on the ground. The Bluffton defense held the Yellow Jackets to 115 yards, however, and both DC backs (Hooker and Mike Moran) well below their season average.
The Defiance passing game totaled 262 yards, but interceptions by Ben Schwab, Darin Riffle and Steiner all halted Yellow Jacket scoring opportunities.
After a scoreless first quarter, Johnson scored Bluffton first TD of the game on a 14-yard pass from quarterback Brad Moore, who passed for 69 yards in the game and rushed for 58 more. After a Defiance field goal, Bluffton fullback T.J. Phlipot scored from one yard out as the Beavers took a 14-3 lead at halftime.
Another Johnson touchdown put Bluffton up 21-3 after freshman Scott Osborn's third straight PAT kick was good. Defiance made things interesting from that point on, however, scoring two more touchdowns as the Bluffton offense was finally slowed down.
Bluffton didn't commit a turnover and held the ball for 32:55 compared to just 27:05 for Defiance. Sophomores Pat Craun and Chris Sommers led the defense with 11 and 10 tackles, respectively.