Buena Vista senior running back John Hill (Webster City, Iowa/Webster City) rushed for a game-high 131 yards, while sophomore Dylan Barrett (Harlan, Iowa/Harlan) tallied 102 more, and the Beavers wrapped up its home schedule on Saturday afternoon with a thrilling 29-27 Iowa Conference victory over visiting Simpson College (5-4, 3-3 IIAC) inside of J. Leslie Rollins Stadium.
Trailing 21-13 midway through the third quarter, the Beavers began their comeback trail when freshman placekicker Bryce Bintner (Indianola, Iowa/Indianola) nailed a career-long 30-yard field goal to cap a six-play, 52-yard drive with 3:53 to go in the quarter.
After the teams traded punts on each of the game’s next three possessions, BVU then regained the lead midway through the fourth quarter when sophomore quarterback Bobby Brown (Storm Lake, Iowa/Storm Lake) drilled a laser into the hands of Logan Lehrkamp (Carroll, Iowa/Carroll) on fourth-and-goal. Brown looked to put the Beavers up by three, but his pass for Adam Cave (Harlan, Iowa/Harlan) was broken up nicely by the Storm and the score remained 22-21 with 6:21 to go.
The Storm then took the ensuing kick-off and marched all the way down to the BVU 15 yard-line with under 2:30 to go before a pair of incomplete passes forced a 32-yard field goal attempt that missed wide right, giving the Beavers the football back at their own 20 yard-line with 2:26 to go.
On the first play from scrimmage, Barrett got a nice block around the outside and went up the BVU sideline 80 yards for the score, and Bintner’s PAT made it an eight-point game (29-21) with 2:13 to go.
Simpson was not about to go away quietly, taking the ensuing kick-off and going all the way down to the BVU 30. BVU nearly secured the win, but a pass interference penalty called against the Beavers in the end-zone on 4th-and-16 gave the Storm new life. Two plays later, quarterback Taylor Nelson, who completed 39-of-55 attempts for 369 yards and four touchdowns, connected with Taylor Rogers from eight yards out with only 56 seconds. Forced to go for the two-point conversion to try and tie the game, Nelson’s pass attempt into the end-zone was broken up, leaving BVU with the two-point lead.
Simpson, however, would get one final chance after recovering the onside kick at its own 46 yard-line and getting into field goal range at the Beaver 18 with just over 10 seconds left, but Bruian Schaaf’s 35-yard attempt missed wide left, and BVU was left to take one kneel down for the game’s final play.
Hill, who also went over the 2,000 career rushing mark, scored his sixth touchdown of the year to put BVU in front on the first play of the second quarter, while Barrett’s one-yard plunge midway through the period gave the Beavers their first lead before Simpson took the lead going into the half after a later TD pass on fourth-and-goal.
BVU chalked up 253 yards on the ground and it marked the first time this season and the first in any game since 2001 it had two running backs with over 100 yards rushing in the same game. The last duo to accomplish the feat was Craig Rowedder (116 yards) and Joe Pick (106 yards) against Upper Iowa.
Brown finished 13-of-21 through the air for 145 yards.
Lehrkamp hauled in a team-high four passes, including a big 32-yard catch on 3rd-and-12, which helped set up the team’s go-ahead score in the fourth. He finished with 57 yards and the one score. Fellow senior Bo Darrow (Glenwood, Iowa/Glenwood) grabbed three for 17 yards.
Brad Vogel hauled in a game-high 20 catches for 197 yards and two scores with Rogers right behind with 12 catches for 120 yards and a TD. Ethan Calvert’s 55 rushing yards on 12 carries led the team on the ground.
Junior Brady Randall (Storm Lake, Iowa/Alta) led all players with 15 total tackles for the Beavers on the day, including 1.5 sacks. Senior Nick Plueger (Le Mars, Iowa/Le Mars), the nation’s leader in tackles per game at 14.1, was right behind Randall with 14 stops. Junior Mack Snelling (Lynwood, Ill./Bloom) had a career-best 10 solo stops, including two for a loss, while senior Collin Mann (Logan, Iowa/Logan-Magnolia) also tallied a career-best 10 stops.
Ted Haag led the Storm with seven stops, as Brandon Abernat, Grant Focht and Mark Cronin all followed with five.
Buena Vista has now won four straight games overall this season, matching its longest such streak since winning its first four IIAC games to start the 2008 season. The win also secured the team of its first winning IIAC schedule since that same season. It will now wrap up its 2012 campaign next Saturday when it travels to the University of Dubuque (4-5, 3-3 IIAC) for a 12:00pm kick-off against the Spartans.
Check out photos of our student-athletes in action in the Beaver sports photo galleries.