BLUFFTON, Ohio – Defiance College turned the ball over five times at Bluffton on Saturday afternoon and could not overcome a 21-0 deficit. The eventual 21-16 loss to close the 2010 season snapped a five-game win streak for the Jackets and a two game streak over the Beavers.
Even with the five turnovers and the 21-point second-quarter deficit, Defiance battled back with 16-unanswered points and had a potential game-winning pass in the air on its final play of the day. The fourth-down pass from the Bluffton 13-yard line sailed out of reach of Rashad Hunt in the back of the end zone with just over one-minute remaining to end DC's comeback attempt.
Bluffton jumped on Defiance with scores on each of its three first-quarter possessions, netting 10-of-13 points off of Yellow Jacket miscues. The Beavers then pushed the spread to 21-0 with a 66-yard interception return for a touchdown and a two-point conversion midway through the second stanza.
Defiance rebounded with a 10-play scoring drive to end the half in a 21-6 deficit but continued to hurt itself by coughing the ball up on its first two drives out of the intermission. The Yellow Jacket defense did not allow BU to capitalize however and DC finally cleaned things up to narrow the gap to 21-16 with scores on its next two touches.
Another defensive stand by the Purple and Gold would give Defiance the ball on its own 10-yard line with over seven minutes left in the game. The offense methodically marched down the field to reach the Bluffton 12-yard marker, before a sack and an incomplete pass on fourth down gave the victory to the Beavers.
Turnovers were the difference in the game, as the five DC miscues resulted directly into 18 Bluffton points and wiped out a 395-153 edge for the Jackets in total yards of offense.
Rick Powell led the short-handed offense with 21 completions for 190 yards through the air and 127 yards and a pair of scores on the ground. Aaron Spence also averaged 5.3 yards per carry over 12 attempts for 64 yards, while Jon Carrabino caught six passes for 59 yards and Joey Chester hauled in five passes.
Hunter Robertson led the defense with 13 tackles, Kyle Longsdorf ended with 12 stops and one sack and Austin Hedderly tacked on nine tackles and one sack. Robbie Lakes piled up seven hits and Joemese Scott ended the day with five tackles and one sack.
Tom Foos tied a Defiance College single-season record with his eighth field goal of the year, as the senior connected from 23 yards out to draw DC within 21-9 with 1:27 left in the third quarter.
Defiance ends the 2010 campaign with a 6-4 overall mark and a 6-2 clip in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference. The six wins are DC's most in the HCAC since joining the league in 2000 and its second-place finish is the best since also ending second in 2005.
The Jackets ended the year with wins in five of their last six contests and will look to carry that momentum into the 2011 campaign, where they are projected to return 10 starters on offense and eight on the defensive side of the ball.