Hanover 31, Bluffton 28
October 14, 2017
By: Colton Steiner, sports information assistant
HANOVER, Ind. - After a dominating Homecoming win over Anderson last week, the Bluffton University football team hit the road to face the Hanover College Panthers on Saturday, Oct. 14. After a slow start by the Beavers, they were able to come back from a 17-7 halftime deficit to lead 28-24 in the fourth quarter. However, a late touchdown by the Panthers gave the home team a 31-28 victory as Bluffton dropped to 2-4 (2-2 HCAC) on the season.
A 48-yard touchdown pass by Chase Lightfoot at the 4:11 mark of the first quarter put the Panthers up 7-0. Still unable to convert offensively, the Beavers would fall behind 14-0 after another Hanover score.
Bluffton finally got on the board with 1:38 left in the first half when BRANDON KOCH (West Harrison, Ind./East Central) connected with CAIDEN DICKE (Lima/Perry) for a 7-yard score to put the score at 14-7. As time expired in the first half, the Panthers converted a 23-yard field goal to lead 17-7 at the break.
Bluffton would come out and make it 17-14 after freshman DARIAN GREELEY (Mt. Clemens, Mich./Chippewa Valley) ran it in from 10-yards out with 4:11 left in the third quarter. The home team would then score with five ticks left in the quarter to go back up double digits, 24-14.
Senior MICAH ROBERSON (Ada) hauled in a 22-yard scoring strike from Koch to pull the Beavers within three. After Bluffton picked up a fumble in Hanover territory, they would score on a 6-yard touchdown pass from Koch to LUCAS ESPITIA (Lincoln Park, Mich./Lincoln Park) for their first lead of the ballgame, 28-24. The Panther offense was too much for Bluffton as they were able to score off a 2-yard pass for a 31-28 lead with 5:09 to play. The Beavers had two chances but were unable to score on their final two possessions of the game.
Bluffton racked up 416 yards of total offense to 448 for the Panthers. Brandon Koch completed 34-of-53 of his passes for 333 yards and three touchdowns. Darian Greeley led the charge on the ground with 11 carries for 98 yards and a score. Lucas Espitia had a game-high 10 receptions for 99 yards with a touchdown.
TYLER SHOWALTER (Haviland/Wayne Trace) racked up a team-high 10 tackles. DYLAN SHAFFER (Shelby) picked up nine stops on the afternoon, including a pass break-up. Freshman HUNTER EGNER (Shelby) forced a fumble, scooped up two fumble recoveries and recorded four tackles.
The Beavers will look to right the ship when they face Manchester on the road next Saturday, Oct. 21 at 1:30 p.m. before they come back home the following week to face Rose-Hulman. You can keep updated by live stats at bluffton.edu/athletics or on at Twitter at @Bluffton_Sports for all your Beaver athletics.