BVU football hits the road against dangerous Central

Friday, September 28, 2018
BVU wide receiver Ross Adamson hangs on the ball, making a tough catch last week against Coe despite the defender attempting to flip him over. The Beavers head to Central this week trying to pick up their first American Rivers Conference win.
Pilot Tribune file photo

The Buena Vista University football team are still attempting to find their footing coming off of their third straight loss of the season, a 35-14 setback against Coe to fall to 1-3, 0-2. The Beavers were in the game and driving early in the fourth quarter, looking to tie the game, but a back breaking interception shifted momentum back to the Kohawks to seal the loss. However, BVU Head Coach Grant Mollring saw some positives last week.

“We ran the ball better and our offensive line improved pass blocking and opened up running lanes. Our skill positions did not match up with the rest of the offense. We moved Eric Pacheco around to get him different match ups, but we dropped some balls and it just didn’t work,” he said. “Defensively we played better in the second half after a couple of long drives in the second quarter. The touchdowns in the second half came off turnovers, one brought back and the other on a short field.”

This week, the Beavers will hit the road to take on 4-0, 2-0 Central. The Dutch have been tested only once this year, in week two against Depauw in a 16-10 win, but other than that, Central has won their games by 46, 49 and 22 points.

The Dutch offense has been averaging 40 points a game and has been able to show some balance with 197 yards on the ground and 238 through the air on average. They have been solid on third downs, converting at a 41 percent rate, but have been automatic in the red zone. Central has scored on all 15 trips to the red zone, 14 of those being touchdowns.

Their offense is led by quarterback Blaine Hawkins who offers a duel threat under center. Hawkins has thrown for a shade over 900 yards, completing nearly 70 percent of this throws and has eight touchdowns to only two interceptions. He also has 191 yards and three more touchdowns on the ground.

Behind him is running back Nathan Fitzgerald who comes into this game with 231 yards and five trips across the goal line. Central’s top pass catcher is Erik Knaack who has 16 catches for 328 yards and four touchdowns. Tanner Schmike is a bit of a do all player for the Dutch with 13 carries for 121 yards to go along with eight catches for 171 yards and four total scores.

The offensive line has been able to keep Hawkins upright with just six sacks allowed thus far.

“They are a dynamic offense. They have one of the best quarterbacks in the conference, the running backs all run the same and they can do different things when they get the ball in space,” Mollring said.

Defensively, the Dutch have been able to keep opponents off the scoreboard, giving up 10 points a game. They have allowed 138 yards per contest on the ground but only at a 3.2 yards per carry clip. Their passing defense gives up a little under 200 yards, opposing teams completing less than 50 percent of their passes.

Connor Lewin is their top tackler with 30 stops on the year, five of those for a loss. Carter Terpsta has two sacks while Jordy Borman has been a ball hawk in the secondary with six of the team’s eight interceptions.

“They are a sound defense. They make tackles and plays. They are one of the best coached teams in the conference,” Mollring said.

Coach Mollring’s keys to victory are simple this week. The first is taking care of the football after three turnovers last week, and he wants to see his defense create some takeaways to build momentum. He’d also like to see better execution and assignment football from his team. Mollring also hopes that his defense can contain Hawkins.

“These are all things that can be done,” he said. “I want to see improvement from Coe to this game this week.”

Buena Vista and Central will kickoff at 1 p.m. in Pella at Ron and Joyce Schipper Stadium.

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