Bluffton 26, Earlham 7
Bluffton shuts down Earlham in 26-7 win over Quakers
October 2, 2010
RICHMOND, Ind. - The Bluffton University football team used its best rushing day since 2005 to steamroll Earlham College on Saturday, October 2, 2010. The Beavers pounded out 231 yards on the ground, compared to a paltry 30 for the Quakers who fell to 0-5 overall and 0-3 in the Heartland Conference. Bluffton improved to 2-3 on the season and 1-2 in the HCAC with their first conference win since the final game of the 2007 season.
A seven-play, 62-yard drive out of the gate gave Bluffton the early 7-0 lead less than four minutes into the contest. Sophomore quarterback Tyler Wright (Troy) picked up 35 yards on three runs before junior Antwane Miller (Canton/Timken) capped it with a 21-yard scoring run.
Following a three-and-out forced by the Bluffton defense, a 16-yard Earlham punt gave the Beavers the ball near midfield. A holding penalty and three plays for two yards forced the visitors to punt it back to Earlham. On Bluffton's next touch, a fumble gave the Quakers possession at the home six-yard line following a 39-yard run by Wright that had the Beavers knocking at the door.
With 5:15 to play in the half, Bluffton took over on its 46-yard line. Two Wright rushes set the stage for a 43-yard scoring strike to Jason A. Johnson (Lansing, Mich./Eastern) which put Bluffton up 13-0 less than two minutes later.
David Himmeger (Grove City/Central Crossing) set up Bluffton's third score of the half when he forced and recovered an Earlham fumble at the Bluffton 39-yard line. Following a pair of completions from Chris Byrd (Detroit, Mich./Detroit University Prep) to Todd Trotter (Cincinnati/Aiken University), Byrd took it in himself for a 17-yard scoring run that put the Beavers up by a comfortable 20-0 margin at the half.
The third quarter saw penalties slow both teams as the score remained 20-0 heading into the final stanza. Bluffton was moving the ball again when an Earlham interception stopped the Beavers early in the fourth quarter. It took the Quakers just one play from scrimmage to pull within 20-7 when James Mees found L.V. Plummer for a 61-yard touchdown pass.
The Bluffton offense stalled on its next two possessions before an eight-yard sack by junior Justin Crosier (Columbus/Hamilton Township) on fourth down gave the Beavers the ball at the Earlham 35-yard line. On Bluffton's third play, Byrd hit sophomore Alex Carter (Troy) with a 31-yard touchdown pass that sealed the deal for a 26-7 victory over the Quakers.
The Beavers racked up 231 yards on the ground to go along with 151 through the air for a total of 382 yards. Earlham threw for 334 yards, but tallied just 30 on the ground. Bluffton moved the chains 16 times, compared to 17 for the home team. Both teams converted on six third down opportunities as Bluffton posted a 32:31-27:29 time of possession advantage.
Tyler Wright went for 143 yards on 22 carries while completing 6-of-10 passes for 84 yards and a touchdown. Chris Byrd, who completed 4-of-7 tosses for 67 yards and a score, picked up 53 yards on the ground to go along with his rushing touchdown. Trotter hauled in three passes for 48 yards while Jason A. Johnson and Alex Carter both had touchdown receptions.
Justin Crosier spearheaded the Bluffton defense with eight tackles and three sacks for 24 yards. Stephen Miller (Logan) tallied seven tackles and an eight-yard sack, while Challen Stewart (Antwerp) finished with six tackles. Oscar Vazquez-Dyer (Findlay/Carey) added five tackles and Steve Sealscott (Van Wert) came up with an interception.
Bluffton returns to Salzman Stadium for its Homecoming contest with Manchester College on Saturday, Oct. 9, 2010. The game is slated for 1:30 p.m.