For the second time in three weeks, the Buena Vista football team will go up against a nationally ranked opponent when it travels to #12 Bethel University (1-0) on Saturday afternoon.
The two teams will be meeting each other on the gridiron for the first time since 2007 when it wrapped up a four-year series. That last meeting five seasons ago was in Storm Lake when BVU edged the Royals, 21-16.
The Beavers (0-2), who fell on the road last week, 38-14, to Concordia College-Moorhead, are working to keep getting better each week.
“We just need to keep getting more physical,” says head coach Jay Anderson. “When you go up against some of these tougher and bigger-bodied teams, you have to stay physical. We also need better execution on first downs.”
Following its season-opening loss against UW-Platteville when it turned the ball over five times, the Beavers had just one late turnover against the Cobbers, and Anderson says his offense has been working hard on sustaining longer drives.
“We’ve got to go out and get more than 50 snaps in a game,” he says. “If we can execute better on our first down plays, to give us a second and medium, it would make things much easier for our offense to keep drives going.”
The offense, which is averaging just more than 200 yards of total offense through two games, will be taking the field against a Royals team that is coming off a key 21-0 season-opening shutout at Wartburg College last Saturday and was named the DIII Defensive Team of the Week. A season ago, the Royals finished 8-2.
On the ground, BVU has averaged 77 yards per game as a team. Sophomore Dylan Barrett (Harlan, Iowa/Harlan) has chalked up a big touchdown run in each of the first two outings, going 57 yards for a score against the Pioneers, followed by his 71-yard scamper against the Cobbers. He’s been handed the ball just 10 times on the year and has 139 yards and the two scores. Senior John Hill (Webster City, Iowa/Webster City) has carried a team-high 24 times for 58 yards.
Through the air, nine different players have caught at least one pass already this season, led by senior Logan Lehrkamp (Carroll, Iowa/Carroll) with seven for 152 yards. He and quarterback Bobby Brown (Storm Lake, Iowa/Storm Lake) hooked up last week for the team’s first touchdown pass of the year - a 46-yard strike. Fellow senior Bo Darrow (Glenwood, Iowa/Glenwood) is next with five catches for 52 yards.
Bethel, meanwhile, held the Knights to only 188 yards of total offense and forced three turnovers. Seth Mathis recorded 12 stops, including one sack, to go along with an interception and a pass break-up.
On the flip side, the Beaver defense will face a Bethel team which used a strong passing day in its opener. Quarterback Erik Peterson completed 20-of-28 passes for 214 yards, including 10 to Mitch Hallstrom, who finished with 104 yards. Peterson also rushed eight times, including a 49-yard touchdown for the game’s final score. As a team, however, the Royals finished with only 60 net yards on the ground.
“We just need to go out, be physical, and be sound with our assignments,” Anderson added.
Brady Randall (Storm Lake, Iowa/Alta) and Nick Plueger (Le Mars, Iowa/Le Mars) each totaled 20 total stops against Concordia a week ago and have 30 and 29 on the year, respectively. One area on defense the team will look to make more of an impact in moving forward is the pressure to the back field. Heading into Saturday, the Beavers have only five total tackles for a loss.
The two teams are scheduled to kick-off inside of Royal Stadium at 1:00pm. It will be the final non-conference game of the year for BVU, which will open Iowa Conference play on Sept. 29 at Coe College, following its bye next week.
Check out photos of our student-athletes in action in the Beaver sports photo galleries.