By: Joseph Watkins, sports information assistant
NORTH MANCHESTER, Ind. - The Bluffton University football team traveled to Manchester University on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019 for a Heartland Conference clash. The Beaver defense only allowed 14 points to the Spartans and shut them out the entire second half to secure their second straight victory, 26-14. Bluffton improves to 2-6 overall and 2-3 in Heartland Conference play, while Manchester fell to 2-6 overall and 1-4 in the HCAC.
Bluffton would get on the board first when freshman Keel Watson IV (Detroit, MI/Harrison) hit Ryan Markoff (Centerville/Valparaiso University) for a 52-yard touchdown pass that would put the Beavers up 7-0 with 7:52 left in the first quarter. They would strike again when Darian Greeley (Belleville, MI/Chippewa Valley) hit paydirt with a 4-yard scamper into the end zone to put the Beavers up 13-0 at the end of one quarter of play after the failed PAT try.
The Spartans would finally find the end zone when Austin Roberts punched it in from 1-yard out to cut the Beaver lead to just six with 10:51 left in the first half. They took the lead with 4:22 left in the second quarter when Brian Antoine hauled in a 6-yard pass from Austin Roberts to make the score 14-13 in favor of Manchester. But, the Beavers answered back before the break when Greeley found the end zone again on a 1-yard plunge that made it 20-14 good guys after a successful PAT try.
After a scoreless third quarter, Bluffton made it 26-14 in the final stanza when senior Adam Duncan (Northwood/Lake) hauled in a 15-yard touchdown pass from Watson that would ultimately seal the second straight victory for the Beavers.
Bluffton totaled 405 yards of offense with 239 yards through the air and 166 yards on the ground. Watson IV went 12-of-25 for 239 yards with two touchdowns and an interception in the victory. The rushing attack was led by Greeley who ran for 113 yards on 28 carries and two touchdowns on the afternoon. Markoff led all receivers with 98 yards receiving and one touchdown.
Manchester totaled 317 yards of offense with 158 yards passing and 159 yards in the rushing attack. Bluffton went 6-of-14 on third down conversions, while the Spartans were 6-of-16. Manchester led in time of possession with 32:21.
The Beaver defense was led by Stephan Kosakowski (Cleveland/Benedictine) who totaled 12 stops with one of those tackles being a seven-yard loss for the Spartans. Behind him a trio of Beavers had seven tackles on the day, including Ollie Moorer (Warrensville Heights), Antonio Crossty (Wooster) and Keith Holmes Jr. (Toledo/St. Francis DeSales).
Bluffton is back in action next Saturday, Nov. 9, when the Beavers will play host to HCAC foe Franklin College in the final home contest of the season. Kickoff is set for 1:30 p.m. at Alumni Field. Come support your Beavers!