Kalamazoo 37, Bluffton 19
Beavers fall at Kalamazoo College, 37-19
September 22, 2007
KALAMAZOO, Mich. - The Bluffton University football team took advantage of two early Kalamazoo turnovers to take the early 13-7 lead with 13:51 to play in the first half, but the Hornets were undaunted and they limited Bluffton to a 96-yard Taylor Iceman (Lucas/Lucas) interception return while racking up 30 points during the final three quarters for a 37-19 victory over the visitors on Saturday, Sept. 22, 2007.
After a quick three-and-out to start the contest, Bluffton recovered a fumbled punt by Kalamazoo at the 11-yard line. Three plays later, junior quarterback Kyle Coleman (Etna/Watkins Memorial) gave Bluffton its second touchdown of the 2007 campaign with his one-yard plunge.
The Hornets picked up a pair of first downs on their ensuing drive before two costly penalties slowed the drive. On fourth and 17, Jeremy Hanson (Oakwood/Paulding) broke through and blocked the punt at the Bluffton 48-yard line midway through the first quarter. A 16-yard Greg Mason (Cleveland/Collinwood) rush moved the chains, but the Beavers were forced to punt with 5:45 left in the quarter.
Bluffton had the Hornets pinned deep in their own territory until Jordan Tallman found Mike Benson over the middle for a 69-yard gain to the Bluffton eight-yard line. Two completions later, Kalamazoo knotted the game at seven on a S. Johnson touchdown reception.
Another three-and-out forced Bluffton to punt the ball with just over a minute to play in quarter one. On Kalamazoo's first play from scrimmage, Sam McCullough (Bluffton/Bluffton) came up with a huge interception at the home 28 and he returned it all the way to the five-yard line before he was pushed out of bounds. The Beavers appeared to have been stopped on fourth and inches when a defensive offside penalty gave them another chance. Freshman Cameron Campeau (Pfafftown, N.C.) was met in the backfield, but he bulled his way across the goal line, giving Bluffton a 13-7 lead early in the second quarter.
Kalamazoo wasted no time marching down the field on its next possession. The Hornets fashioned a 12-play 69-yard drive that took five minutes off the clock and culminated with another Johnston touchdown as Kalamazoo strung together six first downs.
Following a Bluffton possession that netted only one first down, the Hornets' Tallman completed five passes, including a seven-yard scoring strike to Mike Benson with just under five minutes to play in the half as Kalamazoo took a 21-13 lead to the break.
Jon Rea parted the uprights with a 22-yard field goal to cap another five-minute Hornet possession with 5:35 to play in the third quarter, making the score 24-13.
Bluffton's Kyle Coleman was intercepted to start the next drive, but with Kalamazoo knocking at the door, Iceman picked off Tallman at the Bluffton four-yard line and went the distance for a 96-yard interception return that cut the deficit to 24-19. Iceman's 96-yard return broke the previous Bluffton record of 90 yards set by Rod Eaton against Findlay in 1968.
The Hornets tacked on two quick touchdowns in a three-minute span to open the fourth quarter putting the game out of reach for a 37-19 victory over the Beavers while avenging their 17-14 loss at Salzman Stadium a year ago.
Kalamazoo piled up 27 first downs and 485 yards of offense, including 398 yards and 20 first downs through the air. Bluffton struggled offensively, picking up only 10 first downs and 140 yards, 118 of which were on the ground. The Beavers struggled to find any rhythm in their passing game, completing 4-of-21 attempts with two interceptions. The Kalamazoo offense was on the field for over 35 minutes and it took a toll on the Bluffton defense which saw 80 plays in the contest. The Hornets took advantage on third down, going 10-for-15 and limiting Bluffton to a 3-of-13 performance.
Sam McCullough led the Bluffton defense with a whopping 21 tackles, including 14 solos, two sacks and an interception which set up the Beavers' second touchdown. Iceman picked up eight stops to go along with his 96-yard interception return for a touchdown. Junior Kyle Rode (Delphos/Jefferson) chipped in with three sacks and sophomore Kyle Spence (Rushylvania/Benjamin Logan) finished with 2.5 tackles for loss.
A.J. Ramthun (Springfield/Southeastern) took back four kickoffs for 128 yards, including a 48-yarder to start the game. Sophomore Greg Mason led the Beavers on the ground with 54 yards on 15 carries.
The Beavers return to action on Saturday, Sept. 29, when they welcome HCAC foe Franklin College to Salzman Stadium. The contest is slated to start at 1:30 p.m.