Bluffton looking for upset of undefeated, 10th ranked HanoverBy Tim Stried, SID
October 15, 2002
Setting the scene
Bluffton College (2-3, 0-1 HCAC) and 10th-ranked Hanover College (5-0, 2-0 HCAC) will do battle Saturday afternoon at 1:30 p.m. in BC's Salzman Stadium. These two teams shared the HCAC title in 2000 and both finished 5-5 overall last season and tied for third place in the HCAC with 4-2 league records.
Hanover leads the all-time series 21-4 against Bluffton since these two schools began competing in 1972 as members of the Hoosier-Buckeye Collegiate Conference. The Panthers have won the last seven meetings against BC dating back to 1991, but the Beavers have traditionally played Hanover tough at home. Since 1985 these two meets have played seven games in Bluffton, with Hanover winning five of them but narrowly leading in points scored, 234-211, which averages out to be a 33.4-30.1 final score per game. Hanover is 2-0 in Salzman Stadium but the Beavers have led in both those games. Last season BC held leads of 6-0 and 9-7 in the first half before Hanover eventually went on to take a 34-15 win. In 1999 a Bluffton win looked imminent as the Beavers led 38-34 with 40 seconds to go and possession of the football, but a turnover gave Hanover the ball in Bluffton territory and the Panthers threw a touchdown pass with 10 seconds remaining to take a 41-38 victory.
A combined 247 career head coaching wins will be pacing the sidelines Saturday as two of the winningest head coaches in all of NCAA football lead their respective teams. BC mentor Carlin Carpenter is 102-121-1 in his 24th season, while Hanover's Wayne Perry is 145-61-2 in his 21st season at the helm of the Panther program. Both men own an HCAC coach-of-the-year honor, with Perry earning his in 1999 and Carpenter taking home his in 2000. Carpenter owns the longest tenure among Ohio's active head football coaches, while Perry's 145-win total is the most among Indiana's active collegiate head football coaches. Family pride will also be on the line today, as one of Carpenter's daughters, Kelly, is married to Hanover assistant coach Dave Ebersbach, who coached at Bluffton in 1995 and 1996.
These two teams met last season on homecoming in Bluffton (Oct. 13) with Hanover taking a 34-15 win. BC held a 9-7 lead in the second quarter before the Panthers took a 21-9 lead at halftime and added two more scores in the second half. Hanover passed for 410 yards last season, which marks the most passing yards Bluffton has ever allowed in an HCAC game. Bluffton grounded out 232 yards rushing in the game and held the football for 13 more minutes than Hanover, but the Panthers were 9-for-12 on third down conversions (75%) in the game and blocked a punt to set up their first touchdown.
Bluffton and Hanover faced the defending league co-champions last Saturday, but with different results. Bluffton dropped a 41-17 decision at Anderson, while Hanover topped Defiance 57-35.
HCAC team rankings
Several key match-ups will be interesting to watch in this game. Hanover once again leads the HCAC in passing (390.6 ypg), but Bluffton ranks third against the pass, allowing 186.2 ypg. Bluffton once again leads the HCAC in rushing (197.4 ypg), but Hanover ranks second against the run, allowing 109.2 ypg. The Panthers also lead the conference in scoring offense (44.0 ppg) and scoring defense (16.0 ppg), while the Beavers ranks 4th in scoring offense (25.2 ppg) and 3rd in scoring defense (24.0 ppg). Hanover ranks first in total offense (491.0 ypg), but will face a Bluffton defense that ranks second in total defense (324.4 ypg allowed). Hanover ranks 7th in pass defense, allowing 226.4 ypg, but the Panthers have picked off 10 passes, third-best in the league.
Special teams will also play a huge factor in today's game. Bluffton leads the HCAC in kickoff return average (33.8 ypr) and punt return average (12.8 ypr), while Hanover ranks first in punting (33.8 ypp).
HCAC individual rankings
Bluffton junior running back Jovan Johnson leads the HCAC in all-purpose yards with 200.2 ypg. in the conference statistics he ranks 4th in rushing (70.8 ypg), 4th in receptions (5.4 rpg), 2nd in punt return average (11.7 ypr) and 2nd in kickoff return average (26.7 ypr). His backfield mate, freshman Ben Dodds, ranks 5th in rushing (66.4 ypg). Senior quarterback Brad Moore ranks 4th in pass efficiency, while junior linebacker Chris Sommers leads the HCAC in tackles with 11.0 tpg.
Hanover's quarterback duo of Brett Dietz and Justin Pelley rank 1st and 3rd, respectively, in the HCAC in pass efficiency. Dietz averages 229.8 ypg and has thrown 15 touchdowns, while Pelley averages 136.6 ypg and has 10 TD tosses. Wideout Jeffrey Jourdan leads the HCAC in receiving with 8.0 receptions per game for 106.4 yards per game and 10 touchdowns. Linebacker Zach Beeler ranks 7th in the HCAC in tackles (9.0 tpg).