Rose-Hulman 21, Bluffton 12
Big plays cost Beavers in 21-12 loss to HCAC newcomer Rose-Hulman
October 14, 2006
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University football team suffered a devastating blow on the first play of the game when a special teams player for Rose-Hulman knocked kicker Justin Guy (Oregon/Clay) out of the ballgame with a vicious hit immediately after he kicked off. After Guy was removed from the field on a stretcher and taken by ambulance to the hospital, Bluffton tried to pick up the pieces but struggled to recover from the early loss. The Engineers used a blocked punt and two long scoring strikes as it improved to 4-3, 1-3 in the Heartland Conference with its 21-12 victory over the Beavers (2-4, 1-2 HCAC).
Bluffton put together a 12-play, 68-yard drive on its first possession before a delay of game penalty cost the Beavers and they turned it over on downs when Mike Alto sacked Jared Owens (Van Wert/Crestview) for an eight-yard loss at the Rose-Hulman 30-yard line. The Engineers were limited to a single first down on their ensuing possession and Bluffton took over on the home 27 with three minutes to play in the opening quarter. Anthony Bryant (Reynoldsburg/Reynoldsburg) picked up a 27-yard reception but the Bluffton offense stalled and when the snap to punter Kyle Coleman (Etna/Watkins Memorial) went awry, Adam Helmerich broke through the line and stuffed the punt while Kyle Stevens picked up the ball and darted to the end zone, giving Rose a 7-0 lead with just under a minute to play in the quarter.
When Bluffton stopped the Engineers on a fourth and one at the home 32 early in quarter two, the Beavers took advantage in quick fashion. Following an incomplete pass, Owens found a crease and took it to the house for a 55-yard touchdown at the 9:32 mark. The missed kick left the score at 7-6 in favor of the Engineers. Late in the first half, Rose-Hulman had a second and goal from the Bluffton three, but the stern Beaver defense held its ground and took over when it stopped quarterback Derek Eitel two times from the one-yard line. At the end of the first half, the Beavers trailed by only a single point, 7-6.
On the Engineers first possession of the third quarter, Rose picked up two consecutive first downs before Eitel connected with Nate Richter for a 51-yard scoring strike, giving the Engineers a 14-6 advantage. With Bluffton backpedaling on Rose's ensuing possession, Taylor Iceman (Lucas/Lucas) bailed out the Beavers with his interception at the home seven-yard line. Bluffton failed to capitalize when it went three and out setting up a 53-yard Coleman punt.
Owens took over late in the third quarter as he found Aaron Whitlock (Grove City/Central Crossing) and Drew Lovelace (Trumansburg, N.Y./Charles U. Dickerson) for completions and AJ Ramthun (Springfield/Southeastern) out of the backfield to keep the chains moving. Lovelace hauled in a 27-yard reception for a touchdown, cutting the Engineer margin to 14-12 following the Beavers' 13-play, 73-yard scoring march which burned seven minutes off the game clock.
Rose-Hulman iced the contest when Calvin Bueltel found the end zone from 60 yards out on only the second play from scrimmage following the Bluffton score. Down 21-12, Bluffton was attempting to put points on the board quickly when an illegal forward pass gave the ball back to the Engineers with less than three minutes in the contest. The Engineers picked up their first Heartland Conference victory when they moved the chains as they improved to 4-3 overall and 1-3 in the HCAC.
The Beavers picked up 15 first downs in the contest compared to 16 for Rose-Hulman. The Engineers' offense amassed 401 total yards as they were extremely balanced, 183 yards on the ground and 218 through the air. Bluffton picked up 315 yards but was susceptible to big plays on special teams and defense. Both teams committed seven penalties during the game.
Whitlock led the Beaver receivers for the second consecutive week, picking up 61 yards on six catches. Lovelace, Bryant and Mike Brown (N. Wales Pa./Calvary Christian) all snagged two receptions for Bluffton. Owens completed 14-of-31 passing attempts for 177 yards with one touchdown and one interception. He also picked up a touchdown on the ground.
Iceman stepped up with 14 tackles, including four solos. He picked off a Rose-Hulman offering and broke up two passes for the Beavers. Sam McCullough (Bluffton/Bluffton) continued his outstanding play with 12 stops, giving him a team-high 72 tackles on the season. Tyler Schwab (Medina/Medina) was in on 10 tackles while Ryan Christy (Snellville, Ga./South Gwinnet) chipped in with eight.
Bluffton goes back to the road on Saturday, Oct. 21, when it travels to face the Anderson University Ravens following back-to-back games in Salzman Stadium. Kickoff is slated for 1:30 p.m. at Anderson.