For the first time this season, the Buena Vista football team will play consecutive home game when it hosts Central College (2-3, 1-1 IIAC) in an Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (IIAC) match-up inside of J. Leslie Rollins Stadium.
Both teams will take the field on Saturday following a tough loss a week ago. The Beavers (0-5, 0-2 IIAC), who trailed just 27-21 last week to Wartburg, saw their bid to get into the win column for the first time this season come up a little short as the Knights hung on for the 42-21 victory. The Dutch, meanwhile, trailed 21-7 entering the fourth quarter at home to Simpson College before its comeback bid fell short in a 21-18 setback. They have not lost four games in a year since 2003 when they finished 5-5 (3-5 IIAC).
For BVU head coach Jay Anderson, he was pleased with the effort his team put forth against the Knights and the improvements it has made over the last few weeks.
“I thought we got better in every phase,” he said. “Our kick return game did some good things, we were pinned deep a few times, offensively, and were able to drive down the field, and I thought our defense was much more aggressive, especially in the third quarter.”
The Beavers will look to carry over its best offensive performance of the year into this week’s meeting with the Dutch.
“We’re going to see a variety of coverage looks from them (Central),” says Anderson. “We’ll need to be able to recognize those early and also continue to run the ball effectively.”
Senior running back John Hill (Webster City, Iowa/Webster City) rushed for a career-high 122 yards against the Knights, as BVU became the first team this season to rush for more than 60 yards against them (156). Hill’s 70-yard touchdown burst in the first quarter was a career-long and also gave the Beavers their first points in the first half of any game in 2012.
Anderson was also pleased with the career day of sophomore quarterback Bobby Brown (Storm Lake, Iowa/Storm Lake), who completed a career-high 20 passes for a career-best 214 yards. Nine of those completions went to senior wide-out Logan Lehrkamp (Carroll, Iowa/Carroll) for 110 yards. Lehrkamp entered the game with only nine catches on the year.
“Bobby got a lot better on Saturday,” he says. “He became a lot more patient and wasn’t forcing anything. He really stepped up and made some plays. We’ll look for more of the same come Saturday.”
They’ll look to do that against a Central defense that comes to town allowing just over 27 points per contest and ranks sixth in the conference in total defense. The Dutch are allowing 160 yards on the ground and a league-worst 243 yards per game through the air. In two conference games, they’re allowing an average of more than 300 yards per game passing.
Seth Carson and Mike Young are the team’s leading tacklers this season with 37 and 34 total stops, respectively. Young leads the charge with 7.5 of those tackles for a loss, including three sacks. He’s also registered two pass break-ups and two passes defended. Danny Samson has six tackles for a loss, including a team-high 3.5 for a loss, as Eric Larson has two of the team’s six interceptions.
As for BVU, it will be looking to slow down a Central offense that has had success running the ball all year. The Dutch enter Saturday’s game as one of three teams in the league averaging over 200 yards per game on the ground. Josh Osborn is third among the league leaders, averaging 84.6 yards per contest. Ross Doehrmann is ninth, chalking up an average of 43.8 more.
Along with slowing down Central’s running attack, the defense will also work to put pressure on freshman quarterback Brendon Boerm, who has become the starter the last two games. During that stretch, he has attempted only 23 passes, completing just 10.
“Defensively, we want to be able to slow down their running game, and force them into a lot of second and third and long situations,” Anderson adds. “We saw more of our success on that side of the ball against Wartburg last week when we were able to hold them to three yards or less on first down.”
For the year, Boerm has completed 11-of-26 attempts for 133 yards and one score. Jack Flaherty has completed a team-high 27 passes for 341 yards and four scores.
Ben Lechtenberg led the team with five receptions a week ago against the Storm and has hauled in a team-best 13 on the year for 211 yards and one touchdown. Boerm is second with 11 grabs for 106 yards.
“I saw a lot of improvement with our tackling last week, and hopefully that is a confidence-builder for our guys,” Anderson says. “We got better at producing some more minus-yardage plays which in turn stopped more drives.”
Nick Plueger (Le Mars, Iowa/ Le Mars) and Brady Randall (Storm Lake, Iowa/Alta) have continued to lead the charge in the middle of the field, ranking first and third in the conference, respectively, by averaging 14.6 and 12.0 tackles per game. TJ Bruch (Arcadia, Iowa/Kuemper Catholic) is tied for fifth with six stops for a loss.
The two teams meet up in Storm Lake this season after the Dutch overcame a 23-7 second quarter deficit in Pella a year ago to stun the Beavers, 33-30.
Kick-off is scheduled for 1:00pm. The game can be heard locally on 97.5FM KBVU with a local television broadcast also scheduled to air on campus channel 3. A web stream of both can also be found at http://www.bvu.edu/athletics/broadcast.
Check out photos of our student-athletes in action in the Beaver sports photo galleries.