Beavers pick up seventh straight Homecoming win with a thrilling 30-25 triumph over Central College on Saturday afternoon.
Buena Vista chalked up 23 first quarter points and forced five Central College turnovers, as the Beavers hung on for a thrilling 30-25 Homecoming victory over the Dutch inside of J. Leslie Rollins Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The win was just the second for BVU over Central since 1979 and the first in Storm Lake since 1959.
“I thought we battled all day long on both sides of the ball,” said BVU head coach Jay Anderson. “We won the turnover battle and that allowed for such a fast start. We made some big plays when we had to.”
The Beavers took their first lead of the year early in the first quarter when freshman Bryce Bintner (Indianola, Iowa/Indianola) nailed a 29-yard field attempt to cap an eight-play, 27-yard drive. BVU got good field position to start the drive after senior Logan Lehrkamp (Carroll, Iowa/Carroll) returned the punt 14 yards to the Beaver 46-yard line. After a 15-yard facemask penalty, BVU ran its first play of the afternoon from the Dutch 39.
Collin Mann (Logan, Iowa/Logan-Magnolia) then came up with the game’s first turnover when he intercepted a pass at the Central 30-yard line to again give the Beavers excellent field position. Three plays later, sophomore quarterback Bobby Brown (Storm Lake, Iowa/Storm Lake) connected with Lehrkamp from 19 yard out. Bintner added the PAT for a 10-0 with less than seven minutes gone by.
Central then turned the ball over for the second time in as many plays when the snap out of the shotgun sailed over the quarterback’s head and all the way back to the Dutch 13 yard-line. Senior Nick Plueger (Le Mars, Iowa/Le Mars) recovered, and three plays later, sophomore Dylan Barrett (Harlan, Iowa/Harlan) plunged in from two yards out. Bintner’s PAT extended the advantage to 17-0.
Central then looked poised to cut into the Beaver lead on the ensuing drive, going 70 yards in 14 plays all the way down to the BVU one yard line, before a fumble on an option pitch was recovered by junior Brady Randall (Storm Lake, Iowa/Alta) at the five.
The Beavers, with the wind at their backs, were facing a 3rd-and-13 from its own 14 yard-line, and that’s when Brown hooked up with freshman Jalen Henningsen (Alta, Iowa/Alta) over the middle of the field on the last play of the opening quarter. Henningsen then did the rest, eluding a couple of tacklers before pulling away just in front of the Beaver bench before finding the end-zone for the longest pass play since Brandon Phelan hooked up with Eric Bertelsen on a 90-yard score against Cornell College back in 2009.
Bintner’s extra-point attempt missed wide left, but the Beavers did take a 23-0 lead into the second stanza.
The Dutch then got on the board on the first drive of the second quarter, getting a 41-yard field goal. They then forced a BVU punt and again went down the field and added a 35-yard make to get within 23-6 with just more than eight minutes left in the half.
Central later got within 23-13 after going 72 yards in 11 plays and getting a 17-yard touchdown pass with 40 seconds left in the half.
After the Beavers were forced to punt on their first possession of the second half, Central then responded with a 13-play, 70-yard score with 8:55 left, to get within 23-19. The snap on the point-after attempt was high, leaving it a two-possession game.
The defenses came up with big stops to close out the quarter and BVU took the four-point lead into the final period. After seeing the Dutch overcome a similar deficit a year ago in Pella to win 33-30, the Beavers were looking to make sure that didn’t happen again.
They took the ball to start the fourth quarter and converted a big 3rd-and-13 with a pass from Brown to senior Bo Darrow (Glenwood, Iowa/Glenwood). Three plays later, Brown connected to a wide-open Lehrkamp who went 56 yards for the score, extending the lead to 30-19.
Central made it 30-25 with just over four minutes to go, and after forcing a Beaver punt, got the ball back with 1:37 left. Matt Best (Des Moines, Iowa/Lincoln), however secured the thrilling win for BVU with the team’s third interception of the contest and the first of his career. A pair of kneel-downs then ended it for the Beavers.
Brown finished the game, completing 16-of-26 attempts through the air for a career-best 318 yards. It’s the first 300-plus passing day by a BVU quarterback since Phelan threw for 333 yards in a win over the University of Dubuque to close out the season back in 2009.
Lehrkamp finished with 124 yards receiving (three shy of his career-high set last season at UW-Platteville) on just seven catches. Darrow was next with four catches for a career-best 81 yards.
On the ground, the Beavers got 60 yards from senior John Hill (Webster City, Iowa/Webster City) on 21 carries and finished with 352 yards of total offense.
Central, which has now lost four games in a season for the first time since 2003, finished with 166 yards on the ground and added 278 more through the air.
Plueger, who came in leading the conference in tackles per game, added 14 more to help lead the way, as Randall was next with nine.
“I love the attitude of this team, we earned a win today,” Anderson added. “We may not be perfect, but we will fight it out for a full 60 minutes.”
Buena Vista, which earns its first win over Central since 2003, improves to 1-5 overall (1-2 IIAC) and will look to make it back-to-back wins next week when the team goes back on the road for a 1:00pm kick-off at Loras College (2-4, 1-2 IIAC).