Fresh off its big Homecoming win this past Saturday over Central College, the Buena Vista football team now looks to even its conference record this weekend when it goes back on the road to face Loras College (2-4, 1-2 IIAC) on Saturday afternoon in Dubuque.
The Beavers (1-5, 1-2 IIAC) carry a large load of momentum and confidence into Saturday’s match-up after knocking off the Dutch for just the second time since 1979 and the first time in Storm Lake since 1959. The Duhawks, meanwhile, will be back at home for the first time in October, guarding their home turf and looking to end a two-game losing skid which includes a 28-7 setback at Simpson College on Saturday.
“What I was probably the most proud of from Saturday is the fact that the guys got off to a fast start and were still able to respond after Central made its run to get back in it,” says head coach Jay Anderson. “They fought through both the highs and lows of the game and were able to finish things off in the end.”
Offensively, the Beavers had their best passing day in nearly three years. Sophomore quarterback Bobby Brown (Storm Lake, Iowa/Storm Lake), this week’s Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (IIAC) Male Athlete of the Week, completed 16-of-26 attempts through the air for a career-high 318 yards and three touchdowns. That was the highest single-game passing yardage total for any BVU quarterback since Brandon Phelan chalked up 333 in the season finale against the University of Dubuque to end the 2009 campaign.
“I’m happy for the unit as a whole, as they’ve been working their tails off all year,” Anderson adds.” “It’s certainly a nice confidence boost for all of them, and they’re looking forward to keeping it going.”
BVU, which had averaged just over 200 yards of total offense through its first four games of the year, has chalked up an average of 361 over the last two. Brown has been right in the mix of that, throwing for an average of 266 yards the last two weeks after posting 121 per game at the start. Senior Logan Lehrkamp (Carroll, Iowa/Carroll) has been one of his favorite targets too, grabbing 25 pass attempts for 372 yards. He’s currently ranked third in the league during conference play, averaging right at six catches and 89 yards per game. That duo will be looking to chip apart a Loras defense which is surrendering 222 yards per game through the air.
Saturday’s match-up, however, could come down to who can limit the damage in the run game. BVU senior running back John Hill (Webster City, Iowa/Webster City) is averaging more than 62 yards per game for the year and is third during league play, averaging nearly 93. Sophomore Dylan Barrett (Harlan, Iowa/Harlan) is adding an average of 33 more overall, and the duo has combined for five of the team’s six touchdowns this season, including a pair of TD runs of more than 50 yards. As a defense, Loras is allowing over 220 yards per game in conference play – the worst average in the league.
Nate Carrier leads both the Duhawks and the IIAC in rushing during conference play, chalking up more than 116 yards per game. For the year, he’s averaged 122 yards and has scored five of the team’s six rushing touchdowns. BVU, as a defensive unit, is allowing just more than 200 yards on the ground and 252 yards through the air.
“They’re going to come out wanting to run the ball, and we’re going to need to run it to have success,” says Anderson. “I expect it to be a very physical game.”
Quarterback Dylan Jones is completing fewer than 45 percent of his attempts on the year (60-of-134) for 844 yards and five touchdowns, while also throwing five interceptions. Nate Even is the only player on the team with double-digit catches on the year, hauling in 20 for 305 yards and one score. Joe Walker has nine overall, including two for touchdowns, while also averaging over 30 yards receiving per game.
The Beavers have been able to come through with the big plays when needed on both sides of the ball as of late. Against the Dutch, they forced five turnovers, defensively, and also had a big 86-yard touchdown pass, offensively, on a third-and-long play. A week earlier, Hill broke free for a career-long 70-yard scamper against Wartburg.
Senior Nick Plueger (Le Mars, Iowa/Le Mars) has been right in the thick of nearly every play for BVU defensively, this season, leading the league in tackles per game at 14.5. He’s coming off a 14-tackle performance against the Dutch, which helped him land Defensive Performer of the Week honors. Junior Brady Randall (Storm Lake, Iowa/Alta) is right behind at 11.5 per game. Freshman Kyle Arnold (Johnston, Iowa/Johnston) has two interceptions and is only one off of the league lead.
Brandon Ronan has 49 total tackles, including a team-high 5.5 for a loss to help lead Loras, defensively. Dan Badovinac is next with 29 stops and 1.5 for a loss. Kyle Kirchhoff has 18 tackles, and is second with five for a loss, including a team-leading two sacks.
Buena Vista, which shutout the Duhawks, 28-0, in the season finale in Storm Lake a year ago, has won seven of the last eight meetings overall. Its last loss was a narrow 17-14 setback two years ago in Dubuque.
Kick-off inside of the Rock Bowl is scheduled for 1:00pm. A local radio broadcast of the game can be found on 97.5FM KBVU. A live webstream of the game can also be found at: http://client.stretchinternet.com/client/bvu.portal#
Check out photos of our student-athletes in action in the Beaver sports photo galleries.