Bluffton at Mount St. Joseph football preview
When: Saturday, November 4, 2006 at 1:30 p.m.
Where: Cincinnati, Ohio - Schueler Field
On the Radio: Listen live to Bluffton University football on WDOH 107.1 FM.
Bluffton University travels to Cincinnati to meet up with Heartland Conference foe Mount St. Joseph. Bluffton is looking to get back to .500 in the conference with a victory over the Lions. The Beavers lost a heartbreaker, 7-6, to Hanover last week which dropped Bluffton to 3-5 overall and 2-3 in HCAC play. Mount St. Joseph defeated Defiance, 20-6, as the Lions' defense forced five Defiance turnovers to help MSJ overcome only 104 yards of total offense. Mount St. Joseph enters the game ranked 15th in the nation with an 8-0 overall record, 6-0 in league play.
The Head Coaches
Greg Brooks is in his fourth year at the helm of the Bluffton University football team. The Beavers have accumulated a 13-25 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.
Rod Huber is in his seventh season as head coach at Mount St. Joseph. He has led the Lions to two consecutive HCAC titles as well as four straight winning seasons. Huber has accumulated a 40-30 record during his stay at Mount, including a 38-12 record over the past five seasons. Prior to being named head coach of the Lions, Huber served as defensive coordinator for four seasons and was a defensive position coach since the program's inception in 1990. Huber also directed the wrestling program at the Mount for four seasons.
Bluffton-MSJ Series History
Bluffton and Mount St. Joseph will meet for the 16th time this season. Mount St. Joseph holds a 9-6 series advantage over Bluffton. The Lions have won the last four contests, including a 56-14 victory last season at Salzman Stadium.
Last Season's Contest
The Bluffton University football team (3-5, 2-2) fell, 56-14, to Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference foe Mount St. Joseph (7-1, 4-1) on Saturday, October 29, 2005.
Senior tailback Ben Dodds (West Liberty/Bellefontaine) put the Beavers on top less than four minutes into the game when he found a seam and went 35 yards to give Bluffton a 7-0 lead. The Lions wasted little time erasing that deficit as they scored six consecutive touchdowns to open up a 42-7 advantage at the half.
Two first-half Bluffton fumbles were scooped up by the Mount and both times the Lion
offense never entered the field as the defense racked up back-to-back touchdowns.
The Mount St. Joseph offensive line created numerous openings for standout running
back Mike Lovell as he rushed for 143 yards and three touchdowns on 22 carries, most of them coming
in the first half.
Bluffton put together a nine-play, 79-yard drive early in the fourth quarter that was capped by a 20-yard Dodds scamper into the end zone. Mount St. Joseph tacked on a final score midway through the fourth quarter giving the Lions a 56-14 victory over the Beavers.
Ben Dodds carried the ball 20 times for 146 yards to lead the Bluffton offense which finished with 314 total yards. Quarterback Jared Owens (Van Wert/Crestview) completed eight passes for 145 yards, including a 46-yarder to sophomore wide receiver Anthony Bryant (Reynoldsburg/Reynoldsburg). Freshman tight end Joel Sienicki (Goshen, In./Northridge) caught three passes for 72 yards to lead the Bluffton receivers.
Sophomore linebacker Sam McCullough (Bluffton/Bluffton) led the Beavers' defense with 16 tackles (5 solos) while sophomore safety Taylor Iceman (Lucas/Lucas) contributed with 11 tackles.
The Lions controlled the game from both sides of the ball. They amassed 434 total yards, including 256 yards on the ground. In addition to the impressive numbers that the offense put up, the Lions were aided by excellent field position. Returner David Sanders brought back three kicks for 108 yards putting the Lion offense near mid-field each time. Three turnovers deep in Bluffton territory, caused by the aggressive Lion pass rush, and multiple long-yardage completions led to the end result, a 56-14 Mount St. Joseph victory at Salzman Stadium.
Leading the Beavers
Senior Jared Owens leads the Beavers' rushing attack as he amassed 418 yards (146 carries) on the ground, including three touchdowns. Owens has also completed 55 percent (100-181) of his passes, throwing for 989 yards with 7 touchdowns. Freshman running back Andrew Ramthun (Springfield/Southeastern) comes into the game with 391 yards on 103 carries and one touchdown. Junior wide receiver Anthony Bryant has 25 receptions for 325 yards with two touchdowns. Fellow junior Aaron Whitlock (Grove City/Central Crossing) has 28 catches for 201 yards and a touchdown, including a 10-reception performance against Manchester College on Homecoming.
Junior linebacker Sam McCullough leads Bluffton with 97 tackles (29 solo). He was named the HCAC player of the week after picking up 17 tackles, an interception, and forcing a fumble in last week's loss to Hanover. Kyle Rode (Delphos/Jefferson) has 35 tackles (7 for loss) on the season including five sacks. Taylor Iceman is second on the Beavers' defense with 65 tackles and three timely interceptions.
Next up for the Beavers and Lions
Bluffton will host rival Defiance College in the season finale for both teams on Saturday, November 11. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. Mount St. Joseph will travel to Crestview Hills, Kentucky, for the Bridge Bowl against Thomas More College on Nov. 11.