Oct. 27, 2012
Storm Lake, Iowa
The previous eight meetings on the gridiron between Buena Vista and Luther were all decided by a touchdown or less, and things didn’t change on Saturday afternoon, as the Beavers used a big fourth-quarter rally to come back and edge the Norse, 14-7, inside of J. Leslie Rollins Stadium.
After being pinned down inside of the three-yard line following a 43-yard Luther punt early in the fourth quarter, sophomore quarterback Bobby Brown (Storm Lake, Iowa/Storm Lake) connected with a wide-open Jalen Henningsen (Alta, Iowa/Alta-Aurelia) up the sideline in front of the BVU bench for a 93-yard strike on the second play from scrimmage, pulling the team even at 7-7 following Bryce Bintner’s PAT.
The Norse then drove back down the field on their ensuing possession, getting to the Beaver 22-yard line before the drive stalled on a missed 40-yard field goal attempt.
Luther, however, got the ball right back three plays later on an interception at its 47-yard line, but the BVU defense, which had forced nine turnovers over the last three games, came up big yet again when Collin Mann (Logan, Iowa/Logan-Magnolia) picked-off a pass at the Beaver 19-yard line and returned it 25 yards back to the 44.
Senior running back John Hill (Webster City, Iowa/Webster City) then chalked up runs of 11 and six yards, respectively, to get the ball down to the Norse 21, and after a short one-yard gain by Hill, Brown found senior Gunnar Wyatt (Story City, Iowa/Roland-Story) over the middle of the field for 17 yards which helped set up Hill’s three-yard plunge over the left side, giving him five rushing TD’s on the year, while also giving the Beavers their first lead of the afternoon (14-7) with 1:22 remaining.
The Norse, however, weren’t about to back down from the challenge. With only one time out left, they started the ensuing drive at their own 29 yard-line, but after a pair of 11-yard completions, sandwiched around a four-yard gainer, they found themselves down to the BVU 45.
The Beavers then were penalized 15 yards for pass interference on the next play, sending the ball down to the 30 with under 30 seconds to go. After an eight-yard pass completion against the side-line on first down, Luther had back-to-back incompletions into the end-zone, setting up a fourth-and-two with 10 seconds left, and that’s when Luther dropped what would have been a first down pass inside the 20 yard-line, giving the ball back to BVU with seven ticks left.
The Norse, who forced four turnovers in the contest, got on the board minutes into the second quarter after forcing a sack and recovering a fumble inside the BVU three yard line. Two plays later, the Norse ran it in from three yards out for the 7-0 lead, and that’s the way the score stood until the fourth.
BVU also came up big on special teams throughout the game, getting a hand on a 34-yard Luther field goal attempt on the game’s first drive, leaving it short of the posts. Then after the Beavers were forced to punt on the first series of the second half, Casey Pietrzyk (Portland, Ore./Biz Tech) met the Norse punt returner head-on after the catch, forcing the fumble, and Austin Gibbs (Boone, Iowa/Boone) recovered it at the Luther 43.
BVU finished with 356 yards of total offense, including 302 through the air. Brown completed 19-of-38 attempts and has now thrown for more than 300 yards in two of the last three games. Hill registered 57 yards on 17 carries to lead the ground game which was held to 54 net yards on the day.
Wyatt matched his career-high with eight catches for 79 yards. Fellow senior Logan Lehrkamp (Carroll, Iowa/Carroll) hauled in five for 73 yards, while Henningsen had his first multi-catch game of his career and posted an even 100 yards.
Defensively, senior Nick Plueger (Le Mars, Iowa/Le Mars) was in double-figures in tackles for the seventh straight game, recording 10 on the day, while Mack Snelling (Lynwood, Ill./Bloom) and Brady Randall (Storm Lake, Iowa/Alta) were both right behind with eight each. Mason Nielsen (Central City, Iowa/Central City) also broke up three passes.
The win for the Beavers gives them their first three-game winning streak since 2009 and is also the first triumph over the Norse since 2006.
Now sitting at 3-5 overall (3-2 IIAC), the team will look to make it four straight wins when it hosts Simpson College (5-2, 3-1 IIAC) for the final home game of the year next Saturday afternoon at 1:00pm.