Beavers' running game returns in big way in 33-13 IIAC win over Cornell
STORM LAKE - Establishing a solid ground game for the first time in 2005, the Buena Vista University football team rolled past Cornell College 33-13 here Saturday before 1,400 at J. Leslie Rollins Stadium.
The Beavers rushed for 351 yards, an impressive performance by any measuring stick. BVU's all-conference senior running back Chad Pearson ran 35 times for 190 yards. Cornell didn't register a sack all day.
After spotting the Rams a touchdown and PAT kick late in the first quarter, the Beavers scored 33 unanswered points in next two quarters.
Buena Vista reeled off 20 points in the second quarter and 13 in the third, and gave up a meaningless touchdown late in the fourth.
BVU coach Steve Osterberger said before Saturday's game that establishing a running game and protecting quarterback Chris Hawkins were the top priorities.
They came out shining in both categories.
"We ran the ball well, and that was total team effort," said BVU coach Steve Osterberger. "Our offensive line created some nice holes for our backs, and I thought Dustin Crook did a great job blocking for Chad."
With the win, the Beavers improved to 2-1 overall and to 2-0 in the Iowa Conference. Osterberger says the schedule gets tougher next week when the Beavers travel to Waverly for a matchup with Wartburg (3-1, 1-1).
The Knights had six turnovers Saturday in a loss to Luther.
"It's our first road trip of the year, and Wartburg is a very athletic, fast football team," Osterberger said.
Saturday on the BVU campus, the Cornell offense came into the game struggling and the Beaver defense made sure the Rams didn't break out of their offensive slump.
Both teams sputtered on offense in the first quarter, but Cornell jumped on top when quarterback Anthony Kobler ran seven yards for a touchdown, capping a seven play, 79-yard drive.
The big plays in the drive were pass completions by Kobler for 31 yards, and another for 32 yards. The TD was the Rams' first points in nearly six quarters dating back to their Sept. 3 opener.
"They caught us off guard with those passes," Osterberger said. "We made some quick adjustments and played very well on defense the rest of the way."
On offense, the Beavers started clicking up front. They started the next possession at their own 24. Utilizing the running of Pearson, BVU mounted a 10-play, 76-yard drive capped by a three-yard dive by Pearson. Chris Kemmerer's extra-point kick was wide left, as Cornell clung to 7-6 lead early in the second quarter.
"Our offensive line is starting to jell, and that's because they've been getting a lot of reps in practice and games," Osterberger said.
The Beavers added two more touchdowns in the second quarter to take a 20-7 lead at the half.
Pearson ran in from 17-yards out on a second and seven situation with about seven minutes left in the half. That capped an impressive 12-play, 83-yard drive that consumed five minutes of clock.
After the Rams went three and out, BVU mounted another scoring drive. Starting at their own 36, the Beavers drove 64 yards in nine plays, with quarterback Chris Hawkins' seven-yard scoring pass to receiver Jesse Schmidt capping the drive. Kemmerer made his second consecutive PAT kick as BVU took a 20-7 lead into the lockeroom at the half.
"We hope that our guys will build some confidence with the win," added Osterberger. "But it's a long, tough season in the Iowa Conference, and we have to be ready to get after Wartburg now."
In the second half, the Beaver defense forced turnovers on the Rams' first two possessions, but were unable to capitalize.
BVU's David Bredehoft recovered a fumble by Cornell running back Nate Newmeister at midfield 34 seconds into the third quarter. The Beavers were forced to punt after going three and out.
BVU free safety Brant Goodchild intercepted Kobler on the Rams' next possession, with the Beavers taking over at the Ram 45. BVU moved to the Cornell 2-yard line but couldn't punch it in.
"We have to score when we get that close," added Osterberger. "That was a bit of a disappointment, but overall, we had a great day offensively.
"And we played good defense, especially in the second half. Brant (Goodchild), (defensive tackle) Mike Amick and (cornerback) Brian Nystrom had outstanding games."
Meanwhile, the BVU offense continued its ground assault in the second half.
BVU scored two more touchdowns in the third quarter, the first coming on an 11-yard scoring pass from Hawkins to Schmidt. It was a fade-rout and Schmidt caught the his second scoring pass of the day in the corner of the end zone.
The Beavers scored their last touchdown with 1:31 left in the third quarter. Running back Chris Rowedder ran in from 7-yards out to cap a five-play, 58-yard drive. On the first play of the drive, Rowedder broke loose for a 22-yard run.
The BVU defense held Cornell to just 97 yards rushing on 29 attempts. Ram quarterbacks hit 15 of 27 passes for 215 yards.
Hawkins connected on 10 of 17 passes for 133 yards and no interceptions, as the Beavers finished with 484 yards of total offense. BVU made 31 first downs to 13 for the Rams and held a 15-minute edge in time of possession.
Rowedder ran 13 times for 79 yards and fullback Dustin Crook added 71 yards on nine carries. Schmidt caught four passes for 58 yards and two scores. Schmidt now has 27 touchdown passes in his career, a school record.