ANDERSON, Ind. – On a night which saw offense come at a premium, Defiance College turned to a stingy defensive effort and a clutch special teams performance to move into fourth place in the Heartland Conference standings with a 20-7 victory at Anderson.
The win extended DC's winning streak over the Ravens to five-straight games and moved head coach Rob Taylor into a tie for the second-winningest coach in program history. Taylor now stands at 30 career victories and is tied on the all-time list with Roger Merb (1967-70), who posted a 30-6 mark in his four seasons on the sidelines with the Purple and Gold.
The Jackets controlled the action throughout the evening by building a 17-0 halftime advantage behind a 24-yard Alex Bonilla field goal and a 27-yard interception return for a touchdown from Anthony Sierra. Rick Powell then closed the first-half scoring with a six-yard scamper with 1:42 left in the half.
Anderson would trim the deficit to 10 points with a third-quarter touchdown, but DC countered with a 32-yard field goal from Bonilla to cap the scoring at 20-7 with 3:09 remaining in the third quarter.
Neither offense could get on track during the course of the evening, as Defiance had just 215 total yards of offense compared to AU's 188. The Jackets rode Drew Kuesel for 83 yards on 19 carries, while Powell tacked on 47 rushing yards and the lone DC offensive touchdown of the game.
The story was the play of the Yellow Jacket defensive unit, which narrowly missed setting a school record with 8.5 team sacks. The single-game mark is nine sacks set in a 1992 contest with Hanover.
Along with the continuous pressure, Defiance stuffed the Ravens' ground game to the tune of 47 yards on 33 attempts. Anderson's efforts to turn to the air were also shut down, as AU completed just 12-of-33 attempts and tossed three interceptions.
Sierra was the star once again, as the reigning HCAC Defensive Player of the Week hauled in all three of the team's picks and ran one back for a touchdown for the second-straight week. Sierra's three interceptions tied a single-game record for the Jackets, with Keith Snyder (2005-08) most recently accomplishing the feat against Franklin in 2007.
Sierra was joined with outstanding efforts from Andre Osby, Troy Huelskamp and Kyle Longsdorf on the defensive side of the ball. Osby notched a trio of sacks to go with a forced fumble, Huelskamp tacked on 2.5 sacks and Longsdorf tallied a team-high 14 tackles.
The DC kickers were also up to the challenge, as Bonilla was two-for-two in field goal attempts, while Tom Foos averaged 39.1 yards per punt and stuck five of his seven boots inside the AU 20-yard line.
Defiance improved to 3-4 overall and 2-2 in the HCAC with the victory. The Jackets will return home in search of their third-straight win when they host Hanover (1-6, 1-3 HCAC) on October 31 at 1:30 pm.