STORM LAKE - Buena Vista outgained Luther College (4-2, 3-1 IIAC) on the day 265-161, but it was a first quarter touchdown by the Norse that lifted them over the Beavers, 6-3. The loss was the first conference defeat of the year for BVU (4-2, 4-1 IIAC).
The game was a defensive battle for the opening kick-off, as the two teams went three-and-out on the game's first three possessions, including two from BVU.
The Norse, on their second drive, took over at the BVU 39 yard-line and marched down the field in four plays to take the 6-0 lead when quarterback Chris Reynolds found Trey Scheetz in the corner of the end zone for the score. The PAT failed as the kick hit the left upright and bounced out.
On its ensuing possession, Buena Vista put a solid drive together, marching 86 yards on 14 plays, which was capped off by Zach Kaufman's 21 yard-field goal with 3:00 left in the opening quarter.
The two teams then punted on each of their next four possessions. The Beavers threatened late in the second quarter when they had the ball inside of the Norse 20 yard-line. Facing a third-and-two, BVU got one yard to force a fourth-and-short, but then Luther's defense came up with a big stop, holding the Beavers for no gain, and taking over on downs at its own 16 with 1:42 left in the half.
Luther got the ball to start the second half but would be forced to punt, only to see the Beavers punt it right back. The Norse then began their second drive of the second half at the BVU 40, but the Beaver defense came up big yet again when Travis Forkner stepped in and intercepted Reynolds pass at the 18-yard line before returning it out to the Beaver 38.
After picking up a first down and getting down to the Luther 36, quarterback Matt Pearey was then picked off by Jeremy Klein to stall the drive with 9:52 to play in the fourth quarter. The Norse then looked poised to add to its lead as they drove down to the BVU seven before missing wide left on a 31-yard field goal attempt.
The Beavers then threatened again on their ensuing possession, driving all the way down for a first-and-goal from the Luther nine. Two plays later, however, the Norse defense turned in a big stop of their own, intercepting Pearey in the end zone for a touch back.
The two teams then traded punts again before Buena Vista made one final surge at the end of regulation. After taking over at the Luther 45 with just more than four minutes left to play, BVU picked up a pair of first downs to get as close as the Norse 23. After a sack and a pair of incomplete passes, BVU was faced with a fourth-and-14 from the Luther 27. Pearey dropped back and lofted a jump ball to Eric Bertelsen right at the goal line, but the ball was knocked away at the last second by Luther to preserve the victory.
Pearey finished the contest 17-of-42 passing for 176 yards. Jorge Mata hauled in three catches for a career-high 51 yards, as Dean Mosher and Steven Maguire also added three grabs.
On the ground, senior Alex Moss carried the ball 11 times for a team-high 47 yards, while Cory Donscheski, who surpassed the 1,000-yard career rushing plateau in the contest, followed with 15 rushes and 30 yards.
Defensively, Ben Hansen and Mike Sly turned in nine tackles apiece, including three tackles for a loss from Sly.
Reynolds completed 10-of-21 passes for 101 yards for Luther, while also rushing nine times for 24. Ryan Monroe led the ground attack with 29 yards on 10 carries.
Alex Mierau led Luther with 19 tackles, including nine solo.
Buena Vista will now step outside of conference play next Saturday when it hosts Waldorf College at 1:00 p.m. The team will then return to Iowa Conference play on Nov. 1 for a road contest at Coe College.