Defiance 27, Bluffton 13
Bluffton drops Senior Day contest to Defiance, 27-13
November 15, 2008
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University football team wrapped up its 2008 campaign with a 27-13 loss to Defiance College on Saturday, November 15, 2008. With yard-lines unrecognizable due to a surprise downfall of snowfall, the Yellow Jackets took advantage of a 51-yard touchdown run on the second play of the game and never looked back in picking up their fourth consecutive win to finish the season 4-6 overall and 4-3 in the Heartland Conference. Bluffton ended the season 1-9 overall with a 0-7 mark in the HCAC.
Lewis Caralla went 51 yards on his second rush of the game following a nine-yard gain that moved the ball near midfield. The extra point made it 7-0 less than a minute into the contest.
A Derek Dunlap (St. Mary's) pass that found its way to Josh Wade of the Yellow Jackets on Bluffton's first possession gave Defiance the ball at the home 25-yard line with 11:45 to play in the first quarter. Caralla and Drew Kuesel combined for 25 yards rushing on six runs as Caralla capped the short drive with an eight-yard touchdown.
The Beavers only move of the chains in the first stanza came as a result of a face mask penalty late in the quarter. Both team struggled to hold on to the ball during quarter two until a botched punt by the Yellow Jackets gave Bluffton the ball at the Defiance 39-yard line.
Jason Johnson (Cleveland/Collinwood) and Dunlap picked up a pair of first downs on the ground before a Dunlap toss fell short of its target and landed in Drew Lovelace's (Trumansburg/Charles O. Dickerson) welcoming hands in the end zone to cut the deficit to 14-6 with just 15 seconds left in the half.
Bluffton moved the ball 34 yards on its opening drive of the second half before a Defiance sack on fourth down gave the ball to the Jackets.
Defiance went 31 yards on seven plays before a Tom Foos punt pinned the Beavers at their own four-yard line. An eight-yard drive and a 22-yard punt gave the visitors great field position at the Bluffton 34-yard line.
Rick Powell connected with Nick Wiedenhoft for am amazing 25-yard reception down the left sideline and Kuesel followed with a one-yard run to paydirt, making it 21-6 with 2:56 left in the quarter.
Less than two minutes later, standout Keith Snyder picked off Dunlap at the Bluffton 40 and went to the house to put the game on ice late in the third quarter.
Early in the fourth quarter, Curtis Griffin (Lima/Senior) blocked a Defiance punt and Shane Swisher (Findlay/McComb) landed on it at the Defiance one-yard line.
On his second attempt, four-year starting defensive end Kyle Rode (Delphos/Jefferson) pushed the pile into the end zone for his first career offensive touchdown in his final game as a Beaver.
Neither team was able to generate any offense during the fourth until Defiance put together an 8-play, 24-yard drive with time winding down on the 2008 season to avenge Bluffton's 22-21 victory at Corressel Stadium a year ago.
The two teams combined for just 311 yards of total offense, with Defiance picking up 154 of those on the ground. Bluffton churned out 105 yards rushing, but the Beavers were limited to two receptions for a paltry 16 yards, 20 less than the Jackets threw for. Defiance controlled the ball for nearly 34 minutes and moved the chains 10 times compared to seven for the home team. The Yellow Jackets converted on 4-of-15 third downs and they held Bluffton to just 1-of-14 on third down opportunities.
Johnson paced the Bluffton rushers with 46 yards on 13 carries and Lovelace hauled in a 15-yard touchdown pass from Derek Dunlap. Brandon Herr (Bluffton) led the Beavers with 12 tackles, a breakup and a blocked kick. Justin Crosier (Columbus/Hamilton Township) and Aaron Jenkins (St. Paris/Graham) chipped in with eight stops apiece.