Bluffton University 33, Centre College 24
BLUFFTON, OHIO - The Bluffton University football team (1-0) defeated Centre College (0-1) 33-24 in their 2004 season opener. The Beavers have now won their season openers for the past two years.
Bluffton posted 365 total yards on the day (169 rushing, 196 passing) to Centre's 358 total yards (83 rushing, 275 passing). Bluffton quarterback, junior Jared Owens (Van Wert/Crestview) posted a career high three touchdowns from the air for 196 total passing yards on the day (21-12-0). Owens also led the Beavers in rushing as he posted 76 yards on the ground and one rushing touchdown. Freshman Leon Payne (Springfield/Springfield South) led the Beaver receivers with four catches for 112 yards and one touchdown. Junior Mark Gable (Alvordton/Hilltop) had three receptions for 47 yards and two touchdowns. Defensively, the Beavers were led by senior Scott Steiner (Berne, Ind./South Adams) who posted 11 tackles (4 solo, 7 assisted), one interception and one pass break-up.
Both teams got off to a slow start Centre took the lead in the first quarter 3-0 off of a 25-yard field goal by Chris Thompson. The Beavers answered back in the second quarter when Mark Gable found a 15-yard pass from Jared Owens to take the lead 6-3 (PAT failed).
Centre would score at the 6:45 mark in the third quarter to take the lead once more 10-6. The Beavers answered right back three minutes later when Jared Owens scored on a quarterback keeper to help Bluffton go ahead again 13-10. Centre would score two more times as they would stretch their lead to 24-13 early in the fourth quarter
The Beavers then seemed to get a jump start as they would score three unanswered touchdowns to end the fourth quarter. The first touchdown found Jared Owens completing a 73-yard pass to Leon Payne. The second touchdown set Jared Owens completing another pass (20-yard) to Mark Gable. The third touchdown was a 1-yard run by junior Ben Dodds (West Liberty/Bellefontaine) for the final score of 33-24. Dodds would finish the day with 28 carries for 68 yards.
The Beavers will be back at home next Saturday at 1:30 p.m. as they face the Hiram College at Dwight Salzman Stadium.