Wartburg used its powerful offensive and defensive lines to win the battle at the line of scrimmage here Saturday afternoon, beating the Buena Vista University football team 41-7.
With the win, the Knights improved to 4-0 overall on the season and to 3-0 in Iowa Conference play. The Beavers dropped to 2-2 and 1-2.
"We have to forget about this one and go back to work today," said BV head football coach Steve Osterberger. "We made a lot of fundamental mistakes against Wartburg. Basic things like blocking and tackling weren't as good as they could have been so we're going to address those problems in practice this week."
The biggest problem BV had Saturday was Wartburg, which held what can be an explosive BV offense in check. The Knights picked off Beaver quarterback Eric Wiebers four times and allowed just 46 BV net rushing yards and 191 yards passing.
That wasn't totally unexpected, as Wartburg returned nine of 11 starters off a defense that was rated tops statistically in NCAA Division III at the end of last season.
"They held us in check by controlling the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball," Osterberger said. "They are a powerful, physical football team that's hard to match up against. Wartburg is definitely the best team we've seen so far."
The Knights also dominated the line of scrimmage on offense, piling up 285 yards rushing and 216 yards passing. Wartburg had the ball over 45 minutes of the game while BV had it just 27-plus minutes.
Wartburg opened the scoring with just 3 minutes, 30 seconds elapsed in the first quarter on a two-play, 41-yard drive that took just 44 seconds. On the second play it ran, Wartburg halfback Brad Hodapp scored on a 35-yard run. It was the first play in a big day for Hodapp, who carried 18 times for 129 yards and scored two touchdowns.
"(Hodapp) might be one of the best backs we've seen," added Osterberger. "He's very strong and quick, and hides behind that big offensive line."
Midway through the first quarter, the Knights embarked on a sustained drive. It used 10- plays to March 66 yards and was capped on a 13-yard scoring pass from quarterback Reed Hoskins to Chris Winter. That drive ate up 5:11 on the clock as Wartburg led 14-0 after the first 15 minutes.
"We were must never able to get much going offensively," Osterberger said. "We weren't able to run the ball and they had a good pass rush that made it tough on our passing game."
Meanwhile, the Wartburg offense kept on rolling, scoring three times in the second quarter.
Andy Parker scored on a 41-yard run with 12:02 left in the first half. The Knights scored two more times in the second quarter, including on a 16-yard pass from Hoskins and a 17-yard run by Hodapp. That gave Wartburg a 34-0 lead at the half.
Wartburg scored once more in the fourth quarter. This time, Keith Smith scored on a seven-yard run.
The Beavers came back with their only score of the game with 5:29 left in the fourth quarter.
The 13-play, 75-yard drive was capped by a 1-yard scoring run by BV's T.J. Miller.
Defensively for Buena Vista, leading tackler Michael Irvin had 15 solo tackles and assisted on 6 others.
On offense, Wiebers hit on 12 of 32 passes for 164 yards. But he was also sacked four times.
Miller led all Beaver rushers with 64 yards on 16 attempts, with his longest run being 13 yards.
Up next for Buena Vista is Luther College in Decorah next Saturday.
"We've still got six games left so there's still a lot of the season to go," said Osterberger.
But, he added, it doesn't get any easier.
"Luther's been playing well this season, so we'll have to be better Saturday if we want to win," Osterberger said.