BC, Wilmington square off Saturday for last time

By Tim Stried, SID

November 8, 1999

 

 

When Bluffton College and rival Wilmington College meet on the field Saturday at Wilmington, a lot more than pride and tradition will be on the line. Both the Beavers (7-2, 4-2 HCAC) and the Quakers (8-1, 5-1 HCAC) have hopes of tying Hanover for the top spot in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference and a possible at-large bid in the NCAA National Playoffs.

It's been many years since the 10th game on the schedule has had such implications for either team, and the fact that they meet each other for such an important contest only adds to the emotion that both squads will carry into Williams Stadium Saturday. And it will probably be many years until it happens again, as Wilmington will be joining the Ohio Athletic Conference after this season and the all-time series will rest in peace until the powers that be decide otherwise.

Game time is set for 1:30 Saturday afternoon, with live coverage on 107.1 FM WDOH beginning at 12:50.

The all-time series between BC and Wilmington is the only thing closer than where both teams now stand in HCAC statistics. The Beavers and the Quakers have met 48 times on the gridiron since 1932, with Bluffton holding a 24-23-1 lead. Bluffton has won six times in the 1990s, however, including the game last season in Bluffton by the final score of 27-24 that moved BC into a third place tie in the 1998 HCAC standings with Franklin College.

Wilmington and Bluffton rank 1-2 in several HCAC statistics, most notably total offense and total defense. Wilmington lead the conference and is fourth in the nation in total offense, averaging 506.0 yards per game, while Bluffton averages 448.4 yards per game, good for second in the HCAC and 12th in the country. Wilmington is averaging 40.3 points per game, ranked seventh in the nation, while Bluffton scores 32 points per game.

Equally impressive, however, are the defenses, which rank 1-2 in the HCAC. The Quakers also rank #1 in the HCAC in rushing defense, which will present quite a challenge to the BC offensive line and running backs Tyson Goings and Paul Risner. Goings will again lead the HCAC in rushing this season, as the junior has collected 1,069 yards thus far, over 200 yards better than the next rusher on the conference rushing list. He also leads the HCAC in scoring with 11.8 points per game.

One thing both teams also do well is take care of the football. Bluffton ranks first in the HCAC and 15th in the country in turnover margin, with 30 turnovers gained and 14 lost. Wilmington is equally as productive, having gained 33 turnovers and lost 18. BC defensive backs will be looking for a few more turnovers for themselves, however, as seniors Jarret Smotrila and Shawn Goetz have been the HCAC Defensive Player of the Week the past two weeks.

The Quakers are led on offense by sophomore quarterback Adam Ryan, who has passed for 3,146 yards and 31 touchdowns so far this season, both being second best in the country. BC quarterback Joel Parrett has a higher passing efficiency rating, however, and leads the country in completion percentage, as the senior is hitting on 69.3% of his passes for 2,149 yards and 15 TDs.

Receivers Jon Cain of Wilmington and Eric Metz of Bluffton are the top receiving threats. Cain has caught 64 passes for 1,056 yards this season and 12 scores, while Metz has caught 54 passes for 932 yards and six TDs. Wilmington safeties Wallace Morris and Antonio Broadnax rank 1-2 in the HCAC in interceptions, collecting nine picks between them.