Bluffton vs. Manchester football preview
When: Saturday, October 7, 2006 at 1:30 p.m.
Where: Bluffton, Ohio - Dwight Salzman Stadium
On the Radio: Listen live to Bluffton University football on WDOH 107.1 FM.
Bluffton University welcomes Manchester College for the 2006 Homecoming contest. The Beavers were on the wrong end of a 31-7 score at Franklin a week ago while the Spartans fell to Defiance by a score of 19-7. Both Manchester and Bluffton enter the contest with identical 1-3 records, 0-1 in the HCAC.
The Head Coaches
Greg Brooks enters his fourth year at the helm of the Bluffton University football team. The Beavers have accumulated an 11-23 mark during Brooks' tenure as the head coach. Brooks previously served as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for Bluffton, leading the Beavers to their best offensive seasons in school history. Prior to taking over the reins of the football program, Brooks was the head baseball coach at Bluffton.
The Spartans are led by third-year head coach Shannon Griffith. Prior to assuming the reins at Manchester, Griffith was an assistant for eight years at Ball State University. He served as both the quarterbacks and wide receivers' coach for the Cardinals. During his stint as coach at Manchester, Griffith has shown a penchant for being an aggressive recruiter for the Spartans.
Bluffton-Manchester Series History
The Beavers hold a 29-22 advantage in the all-time series with Manchester, including six victories in the last eight contests. Bluffton won four straight games between 1998-2001 and they defeated the Spartans at Manchester a year ago by the score of 59-7.
Last Season's Contest
The Bluffton Beavers were clicking on all cylinders when they traveled to Manchester
to open Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference action for 2005. Bluffton took a
21-0 lead at the end of the first quarter and never looked back. The Beaver ground
game churned out 297 rushing yards as Bluffton backs went at, around and through the
Spartan defense. On the other side of the ball the Beavers were equally intimidating.
Bluffton gave up only 253 total yards of offense on the day and it picked off four
Manchester passes, one of which sophomore Taylor Iceman (Lucas/Lucas) returned 42 yards for the final Beaver score.
Bluffton took the early lead six minutes into the game after Manchester fumbled on the game's first possession. Senior quarterback Jared Owens (Van Wert/Crestview) went 11 yards to put Bluffton on top. The Beavers quickly tacked on another touchdown after they held Manchester to one yard on three plays. Junior fullback Ben McCullough (Bluffton/Bluffton) took the handoff from the one yard-line and found the end zone, increasing the advantage to 14 points. Sophomore Sam McCullough (Bluffton/Bluffton), who led the Beavers with 11 tackles, capped the first quarter blitz of Manchester when he picked up a blocked punt and ran it back for a seven-yard touchdown.
The second quarter was much like the first as Bluffton outscored Manchester 24-7. Junior Jeremy Haselman (Leipsic/Leipsic) took a 31-yard Jared Owens pass into the end zone to start the scoring spree, and junior Tim Berta (Ida, Mi./Ida) ended the half with a 12-yard scoring catch to put the Beavers up 45-7 at the break. The 45 first half points broke the previous record of 44 points scored against Wilmington in 1990.
Manchester continued to struggle in the second half as the Beavers picked off three more passes and put up two more scores for the final tally of 59-7. Sophomore Aaron Whitlock (Grove City/Central Crossing) went in from 12 yards before Iceman put the game out of reach with his interception return for a touchdown.
Senior Ben Dodds (West Liberty/Bellefontaine) led the ground attack with 158 yards and one touchdown on 22 carries. Owens threw for 80 yards and two touchdowns on the afternoon before taking a breather when the game was out of Manchester's reach. Senior kicker Seth Burkholder (Bluffton/Bluffton) connected on all eight extra-point tries and a 34-yard field goal to tally 11 points.
Leading the Beavers
Freshman running back Andrew Ramthun (Springfield/Southeastern) leads the Beavers with 195 yards (57 carries) on the ground with one touchdown. Senior Jared Owens has completed 47-of-80 passes for 408 yards and two touchdowns while also picking up 88 yards and one touchdown rushing. Junior Anthony Bryant (Reynoldsburg/Reynoldsburg) has 17 receptions for 151 yards through the first four games of the season.
Junior linebacker Sam McCullough leads Bluffton with 43 tackles (19 solo). He had a pass breakup in the Kalamazoo contest and a sack at Franklin on Sept. 30. Jeremy Anderson (South Rockwood/Airport High) has 23 tackles and three breakups and a sack from his cornerback position while junior safety Taylor Iceman is second on the Beavers' defense with 35 tackles, including a team-high 12 in the loss to the Grizzlies.
Next up for the Beavers and Spartans
The Beavers will host their second consecutive contest at Salzman Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 14, when they welcome Heartland Conference newcomer Rose-Hulman to Bluffton. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Manchester hosts Hanover College at 1:30 p.m. on Oct. 14.