bc falls at msj 37-35
14-point fourth quarter lead slips away as Bluffton falls at Mt. St. Joseph 37-35By Tim Stried, SID
October 26, 2002
Bluffton College let a 14-point fourth quarter lead slip away Saturday afternoon as Mount St. Joseph scored 16 unanswered points in less than three minutes to take a 37-35 win over the Beavers at Cincinnati Mariemont High School stadium.
Bluffton falls to 2-5 overall and 0-3 in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference, while the Mount improves to 5-2 overall and remains tied with Hanover for the HCAC lead with a perfect 4-0 conference record.
Bluffton senior quarterback Brad Moore's two-yard touchdown run on the first play of the fourth quarter gave the Beavers a 35-21 lead, and when the BC defense forced a MSJ punt on the ensuing possession it looked as if Bluffton was in control of the game.
But Bluffton's next two offensive possessions resulted in an interception and a punt and the Lions converted both opportunities into touchdowns to tie the game at 35-35 with 4:25 left to play.
The Mt. St. Joseph defense then came up with the game-winning play as MSJ defensive end Pat McAtee forced Moore to throw the ball out of bounds from within the BC endzone, which was ruled intentional grounding for a safety that gave the Mount their first lead of the game at 37-35 with 3:22 left in the game.
BC had one more possession but could not move the ball into Lion territory to allow MSJ's two-point lead to stand as the final margin of victory. The Beavers fall to 0-4 on the road this season and lose their first game to Mt. St. Joseph since 1996.
The loss spoiled several outstanding individual performances for Bluffton players on both sides of the ball. Defensively, sophomore defensive back Matt Chiles and junior middle linebacker Chris Sommers both collected 17 tackles in the game. Chiles also recovered a fumble and set a career high with his tackle total, which included 11 solo stops, while Sommers' nine solo tackles ties his career high. Junior defensive end Lucas Wilson added eight tackles, while sophomore outside linebacker Scott Steiner and senior defensive back Darin Riffle both had six tackles and an interception.
Offensively, Moore passed for 286 yards and three touchdowns, while senior wide receiver Tony Boenker and junior wide receiver Jimmy Dwenger both had outstanding games. Boenker caught three passes for 117 yards and touchdowns, one of which covered 76 yards, while Dwenger caught six passes for 97 yards and a touchdown.
Following Mt. St. Joseph's first touchdown, freshman Ben Dodds returned the ensuing kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown to give Bluffton an early 14-7 lead.
The Mount St. Joseph defense, which was ranked eighth in the country against the run going into the game, collected six tackles behind the line of scrimmage and four quarterback sacks for a combined total of 60 yards in lost yardage, which resulted in Bluffton only rushing for a net of 66 yards in the game on 24 carries. That yardage total is the second-lowest single-game output for BC in their four-year history in the HCAC, while the 24 attempts is an all-time low against an HCAC opponent.
Mt. St. Joseph held possession of the ball for 36:24 in the game compared to just 23:36 for Bluffton. Both numbers are the worst for the Beavers as members of the HCAC.
Bluffton will return home next Saturday at 1:30 to take on Franklin College, who will also enter the game with a 2-5 record after beating Defiance College 24-23 Saturday.