Bluffton vs. Anderson football preview
When: Saturday, October 21, 2006 at 1:30 p.m.
Where: Anderson, Indiana - Macholtz Stadium
On the Radio: Listen live to Bluffton University football on WDOH 107.1 FM and WBWH 99.3 FM
Bluffton University travels to Anderson University where it will attempt to improve to 2-2 in the HCAC with a victory over the Ravens. The Rose-Hulman Engineers picked up their first Heartland Conference victory a week ago at Salzman Stadium, 21-12, against the Beavers. Anderson suffered the loss of its top two quarterbacks to knee injuries against Defiance on Oct. 14 in the Yellow Jackets 45-13 victory over the Ravens.
The Head Coaches
Greg Brooks is in his fourth year at the helm of the Bluffton University football team. The Beavers have accumulated an 11-24 mark during Brooks' tenure as the head coach. Brooks previously served as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for Bluffton, leading the Beavers to their best offensive seasons in school history. Prior to taking over the reins of the football program, Brooks was the head baseball coach at Bluffton.
Entering his third season as the head coach for the Ravens, Jeff Judge led Anderson to an 8-4 mark in the Heartland Conference during his first two years. Judge served as the defensive coordinator at Wisconsin-Stevens Point prior to assuming his current role at Anderson. He was a member of the student staff at both Purdue and Iowa State.
Bluffton-Anderson Series History
The Beavers hold a 17-14 advantage in the all-time series with Anderson, however, the Ravens have been victorious in four of the last five contests, including a 13-10 double overtime win over the Beavers on Homecoming in 2005. Bluffton won nine consecutive meetings from 1985 through 2000.
Last Season's Contest
The Bluffton University football team (2-4, 1-1 HCAC) dropped a heartbreaker to rival Anderson (4-2, 2-1) in the 2005 Homecoming contest on October 15 by a final score of 13-10 in double overtime.
The Beavers jumped out to a 7-0 lead less than four minutes into the game when tailback Ben Dodds (West Liberty/Bellefontaine) took a short pass from quarterback Jared Owens (Van Wert/Crestview), changed direction and left the Anderson defense in the dust as he raced 66 yards for the touchdown. That advantage held up until the twelve minute mark of the final quarter when Klint Rupley capped an 11-play, 75-yard drive with a 12-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Chris McKee knotting the score at seven.
During the first overtime, Jeremy Anderson (South Rockwood Mi./Airport) recovered a Chris Mckee pitch to put the Beaver offense on the field with a chance to win, however, two Bluffton penalties took the team out of its rhythm and the Ravens picked off an Owens pass to bring the first overtime to a close.
Bluffton began the second overtime with a Jeremy Haselman (Leipsic/Leipsic) reception to quickly secure a first down at the Anderson 12. The Raven defense did not give in though and it forced Bluffton to settle for a 21-yard Seth Burkholder (Bluffton/Bluffton) field goal. On Anderson's ensuing possession Hyman Smith took the handoff on a reverse from Denny Kimmel and broke loose for a 21-yard gain setting up a four-yard touchdown run by Clifton Jones which gave the Ravens a 13-10 victory.
Owens completed 10 passes for 160 yards and one touchdown while picking up 74 yards on the ground. Ben Dodds led Bluffton with three receptions for 84 yards, including a 66-yard touchdown in the first quarter. He also finished with 70 yards rushing. Haselman and sophomore wide receiver Anthony Bryant (Reynoldsburg/Reynoldsburg) both hauled in three receptions for the Beavers.
Sophomore linebacker Sam McCullough (Bluffton/Bluffton) slowed the high-powered Raven offense as he picked up a team-high 16 tackles, including two for losses, while also forcing an Anderson fumble. Jon Mershman (Ottawa/Ottawa-Glandorf) picked off a McKee pass late in the fourth quarter halting a nine-play, 65-yard drive and helping send the Beavers to overtime. Senior Brett Cordy (Archbold/Archbold) also picked off a Raven pass in the third quarter and returned it 22 yards.
The balanced Beaver offense finished with 313 total yards, but it was outgained by an Anderson team that put up 435 yards, including another outstanding effort by all-purpose back Denny Kimmel who went for 207 yards on the ground.
Leading the Beavers
Freshman running back Andrew Ramthun (Springfield/Southeastern) leads the Beavers with 317 yards (83 carries) on the ground and one touchdown for an average of 3.8 yards per carry. Senior Jared Owens has completed 81-of-142 passes for 720 yards and five touchdowns while also picking up 220 yards and one touchdown rushing. Junior Aaron Whitlock (Grove City/Central Crossing) paces the receiving corps with 23 receptions for 177 yards, including 16 catches in Bluffton's last two games. Fellow junior wideout Anthony Bryant has 19 receptions for 181 yards through the first six games of the season.
Junior linebacker Sam McCullough currently ranks third in the Heartland Conference with 72 tackles (23 solo). He had a pass breakup in the Kalamazoo contest and a sack at Franklin on Sept. 30. Junior safety Taylor Iceman (Lucas/Lucas) has been patrolling the Bluffton secondary with 53 tackles to go along with his three interceptions, all in the last two games, and four pass breakups. On he defensive line, senior Tyler Schwab (Medina/Medina) leads the Beavers with 35 tackles, including a pair of sacks.
Next up for the Beavers and RavensThe Beavers return home to face Heartland Conference rival Hanover College on Saturday, October 28. Bluffton took down the Panthers 33-19 in 2005 for its first victory over Hanover since 1990. Anderson travels to Terre Haute, Ind., on Oct. 28 to face the Engineers from Rose-Hulman at 1:30 p.m.