STORM LAKE -- Fresh off its bye week, which followed a tough three-game non-conference schedule, the Buena Vista football team is set to open the Iowa Conference portion of its schedule this Saturday afternoon on the road at Coe College (3-0, 0-0 IIAC). It will be the league opener for both teams.
The Beavers (0-3, 0-0 IIAC) were last in action two weeks ago when they fell 56-7 at 12th-ranked Bethel University, as the Kohawks, who also had last week off, edged Washington University (Mo.) two weeks ago, 20-14.
For head coach Jay Anderson, he says his team took advantage of the off week to regroup and put together a strong game plan heading into its meeting with the Kohawks this weekend.
"We look a lot more fresh and a step quicker heading into the week," he says. "It gave us a chance to heal and get healthy and also some time to really focus on some fundamentals."
The Beavers are hoping to get off to a fast start in Saturday's contest after being outscored 98-0 during the first half of its three non-conference games, which included a pair of games against nationally ranked opponents. They will be facing a Coe defensive unit that has allowed only 31 points through its first three games.
"Improving on ball security is going to be a huge key for us," he adds. "It's been something that has kind of kicked us in the tail in the early going. We need to be able to take what we're doing well in practice and execute it out in a game situation."
BVU has totaled less than 600 yards of total offense on the year heading into this week, including just 195 on the ground. Senior John Hill has got the bulk of the carries early on, rushing 39 times for 96 yards and one score. Sophomore Dylan Barrett has only 15 carries, but has rushed for 144 yards and two touchdowns. Each of those two scores came on lengthy scampers of 57 and 71 yards, respectively.
Sophomore quarterback Bobby Brown will be facing the Kohawks for the first time in his career, as he missed out on last year's match-up because of his season-ending injury after just four conference outings. He's averaging just more than 120 yards through the air this season, while throwing for three scores.
Senior wide-out Logan Lehrkamp and sophomore wide-out Adam Cave have been his go-to targets in the early going. Each is tied for the team lead with seven catches, including one touchdown apiece. Senior Bo Darrow is right behind with six grabs for 51 yards.
Coe, meanwhile, is second among the league schools in scoring defense (10.3ppg) and is third in total defense (325.7ypg). Most of that success, however, has come against the run with the Kohawks ranking second in run defense (52.0ypg), despite allowing a league-worst 273.7ypg through the air.
"They (Coe) have a strong nucleus returning up front," says Anderson. "They may not be the flashiest team overall defensively, but it's a unit that is solid fundamentally."
Zach West leads the way with 16 solo tackles and 22 overall. He's also registered three tackles for a loss, including one sack. Demetrius Johnson ranks fifth on the team with 12 tackles, but leads the way with three interceptions, one pass break-up and four passes defended. As a unit, the Kohawks have 24 tackles for a loss through three games, including eight sacks.
Offensively, Coe has been consistent out of the gate, averaging a league-high 233 yards per outing on the ground, to go along with an average of 220 more through the air.
Gage Mohs leads the running attack, averaging right at 92 yards per game, while finding the end-zone a league-leading five times.
Through the air, quarterback Jared McNutt is completing nearly 61 percent of his attempts for 660 yards and three more scores. Jared Kuehner has 17 completions for 255 of those yards. His 5.7 receptions per game rank fourth in the conference.
"They will throw a lot of different formations at you offensively," Anderson points out. "We will have to really communicate with each other, defensively, and make sure we get lined up properly."
Junior Brady Randall and senior Nick Plueger have been right in the thick of a lot of stops for the Beavers this season. Each has registered 45 total tackles and has combined for three tackles for a loss. Freshman Kyle Arnold is next with 25 tackles and has one of the team's two interceptions.
"We just need to go out there on Saturday and not try and do too much," says Anderson. "We just need everyone to go out there and understand each call and what it means for them."
The two teams are set to kick-off at 1:00pm inside of Clark Stadium.