By: Colton Steiner, sports information assistant
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University football team welcomed the Mount St. Joseph Lions for an HCAC battle on Saturday, Sept. 29. Fumbles and interceptions were the difference as Bluffton struggled to get the ball in the end zone in a 21-7 setback. The defeat dropped the Beavers to 1-4 overall and 1-2 in the HCAC, while Mount St. Joseph improved to 4-1 on the season with a spotless 3-0 mark in conference play at 3-0.
The offenses were quiet in the first quarter with neither team being able to put points up on the scoreboard until the 14:03 mark in the second when Chaiten Tomlin found Nick Murphy from seven yards out to put the Lions up 7-0. Mount St. Joseph would strike again with 2:00 remaining in the half after a 6-yard touchdown pass extended the lead to 14-0. The Beavers cruised down the field and answered with a 2-yard touchdown scamper by Drake Campbell (Trenton/Edgewood) that made it 14-7 at half after three rushes by defensive end Isaac Zickafoose (Middlebury, Ind./Northridge) went for 18 yards and a first down.
The Lions would score on their second possession of the second half when Tomlin connected with Chase Pankey from five yards out to put Mount St. Joseph up 21-7. Turnovers would haunt Bluffton as back-to-back fumbles stalled red-zone drives for the Beavers. The Lions continued their roar on defense, holding the home team scoreless in the second half as Bluffton would take the 21-7 defeat.
Plummie Gardner (Lima/Perry) connected on 12-of-28 passes for 165 yards with two picks. Leading Bluffton on the ground was Drake Campbell who piled up 90 yards on 18 attempts with the Beavers' lone score in the game. Keyon Camden (Wayne/Elmwood) hauled in two catches for 59 yards while Lucas Espitia (Lincoln Park, Mich./Lincoln Park) snagged three balls for 40 yards.
Austin Hall (Piqua) tallied six tackles and an interception, while Dylan Shaffer (Shelby) added six tackles in the contest. John Boyd III (Muncie, Ind./Muncie Central) finished with five stops and a pair of sacks and Zickafoose added a sack of his own.
MSJ finished with a 10-minute edge in time of possession thanks to five Bluffton tunrovers. The Lions were flagged for 14 penalties that added up to 132 yards and six first downs for the home team. Bluffton went for 321 yards of totoal offense, compared to 383 for the visitors.
The Beavers will look to put this game behind them as they prepare for a trip to Rose-Hulman next Saturday, Oct. 6, with kickoff set for 2 p.m.