– It has been more than three years since the Buena Vista football team has won three straight games, and the Beavers (2-5, 2-2 IIAC) can put an end to that mark when they host Luther College (0-7, 0-4 IIAC) this Saturday inside of J. Leslie Rollins Stadium.
BVU looks to keep its momentum going after building an early 21-0 advantage and cruising to a 42-19 road victory last week at Loras College. In that game, the Beavers rushed for 273 yards, including a career-best 181 from sophomore Dylan Barrett (Harlan, Iowa/Harlan), who had only 317 career rushing yards entering the game.
“We’re in such a great position at running back,” says head coach Jay Anderson. “Give Dylan a lot of credit as he really stepped up and helped carry the load with John (Hill) a little banged up last week. We knew going in that we could run the ball decent against them.”
The Beavers again used another fast start to their advantage and have now outscored their last three opponents by a combined 51-7 margin during the first quarter.
“When you can get off to fast starts, especially on the road, it can really make things a lot easier on you,” says Anderson.
After being held to under 300 yards of total offense during each of its first four games this season, the Beaver offense has chalked up more than 350 in each of the last three. It’s another balanced attack that Anderson says will be key against the Norse.
“We’ll need another balanced one,” he adds. “Teams haven’t been able to line up in a running formation against Luther much this season and have a great deal of success. But we’re not going to be able to shy away from that.”
In addition to the big game last week on the ground for BVU, sophomore quarterback Bobby Brown (Storm Lake, Iowa/Storm Lake) completed 7-of-12 attempts through the air for 122 yards and one score, and has now completed 23-of-38 attempts (60.5 percent) for 440 yards and four scores over his last two outings.
For the year, Hill and Barrett are averaging 62 and 55 yards, respectively, on the ground and have combined for nine of the team’s 11 rushing scores. BVU is one of just two teams in the conference to have two players ranked in the top-10 in the league in rushing yards per game during conference play (Wartburg).
Senior Bo Darrow (Glenwood, Iowa/Glenwood) came up big against Loras as well, with five catches for a career-best 105 yards and one touchdown. His 16 receptions for the year rank second on the team behind fellow senior Logan Lehrkamp (Carroll, Iowa/Carroll), who has hauled in 25 for 372 yards and three TD’s. The duo each has a touchdown grab of over 50 yards this season.
The Beavers, who are averaging nearly 340 yards of total offense during IIAC play, will be facing a Luther team that fell behind 21-0 after the first quarter and was handed a 31-14 home loss by Central College, while being outgained 396-209.
During conference play, the Norse are allowing just over 400 yards of total offense and gaining 282.5.
Dan Ridenour is leading the way on the ground, carrying the ball 76 times for 352 yards and two scores. Tyler Holmlund is next at 238 yards on 67 attempts. Kody Moore has thrown for more than 1220 yards and eight touchdowns with Zach Jipp and Matt Jaronik being his big-play targets with 30 and 28 catches, respectively, for a combined 631 yards.
“Defensively, we’re still striving to get better each week on first downs,” says Anderson. “We haven’t played as well as I know we can, but we have been able to come up with a key turnover or make a key stop to hold teams to field goal attempts.”
Senior Nick Plueger (Le Mars, Iowa/Le Mars) and junior Brady Randall (Storm Lake, Iowa/Alta) continue to shine in the middle of the field for the Beavers, defensively. Plueger, who leads the league in tackles per game (14.7), registered 16 total stops against Loras and has now finished in double-digits in six straight games. Randall, meanwhile, forced a big sack and recovered a fumble on the same play to set up BVU’s third first quarter score a week ago, and is second on the team with 10.9 tackles per game.
Trent Kerrigan has 87 total tackles, including five for a loss (two sacks), to help lead the Norse defense. He also has one interception and two fumble recoveries. James Knutson is second in tackles (56) and leads the way with 10.5 for a loss. He’s also forced two fumbles, broken up two passes and defended two others.
Saturday’s match-up will be the 66th all-time between the two teams. Luther has won each of the last five after BVU took nine straight from 1998-2006. The last eight games, however, have all been decided by a touchdown or less.
Kick-off is scheduled for 1:00pm. A local radio broadcast can be found on 97.5FM KBVU. Live webstream can 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.