DEFIANCE, Ohio - Saturday will mark the final collegiate contest in the careers of Defiance College's 18 seniors. The Yellow Jackets will recognize each of those 18 student-athletes before taking the field to clash with the Bluffton Beavers.
Scouting Defiance - Defiance will be looking to close an up and down season on a high note when it takes the field this Saturday. The Jackets have rushed for 163.7 yards per game, converted 31 percent of their third-down attempts and averaged 31:08 of time of possession in its three victories. In the six defeats, DC has rushed for just 106.8 yards per game, converted only 24 percent of its third-down tries and averaged 28:46 time of possession. Turnovers have also played a major role this season, as DC is plus seven in the turnover battle in its three victories and minus four in its six losses.
Scouting Bluffton - The Beavers come to Justin F. Coressel Stadium still in search of their first win of the season. Bluffton will hope to repeat history, as it also brought an 0-9 record to Defiance on November 10, 2007 and shocked the Jackets with a, 22-21, road victory. BU's closest game this season was a 12-point loss, while its closest HCAC contest was a 16-point setback. Bluffton has suffered an average margin of defeat in HCAC games of 24.3 points per game thanks to an anemic offense which has averaged 11.0 points per showing over its last five and has only topped the 20-point barrier one time this year.
Last Meeting - The Yellow Jackets jumped to an early 14-0 lead and never looked back, scoring a 27-13 victory at Bluffton on November 15. Heavy snowfall limited the passing games to a combined four completions for 52 yards on the afternoon, as the two sides accounted for only 311 total yards of offense.
Series History - Saturday will mark the 85th all-time meeting on the gridiron between long-time rivals Defiance College and Bluffton University. DC holds a narrow edge in the series, owning a 43-39-2 record against the Beavers. The teams have been nearly equal since 2000, with the Jackets having won five of the nine meetings.
Homefield Disadvantage? - Since 2000, the home team has struggled to come away victoriously when Defiance and Bluffton hook up on the football field. The visiting team is 7-2 in the last nine meetings and has won each of the past five.
Taylor's Tally - DC head coach Rob Taylor moved into a tie for second place on the school's all-time wins lists after leading the Yellow Jackets to a 20-7 road win against Anderson on October 24. Taylor enters play on Saturday with 30 wins and is tied with Roger Merb (1967-1970), who posted a 30-6 clip in four years with Defiance. A win against Bluffton would move Taylor into sole possession of second place on the all-time wins list and just five away from Malen Luke's (1988-1993) program record of 36 victories.
Jackets Among the HCAC Leaders - The Jackets have several players among the statistical leaders in the conference. On offense, Drew Kuesel and Rick Powell rate seventh and eighth in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference with 47.3 and 45.2 rushing yards per game and Powell is seventh with 121.8 total yards of offense per game. On the defensive side of the ball, Kyle Longsdorf ranks fourth with 10.4 tackles and 1.22 hits for a loss per game, Andre Osby is second with 0.89 sacks per game and ninth with 0.94 tackles for negative yardage per outing and Troy Huelskamp is sixth with 0.75 sacks a contest. Matt King ranks 13th with 7.6 tackles per game and Josh Wade is 16th with 6.9. Anthony Sierra's five interceptions put him second in the league, while Dustin Supan's three picks are good for fourth, his 12 passes defended rate third and his 9.1 yards per punt return ranks second. Tom Foos and Alex Bonilla have also been strong on special teams, as Foos ranks third with 38.7 yards per punt and Bonilla sits third with five made field goals.
Online Webcasts - Defiance College would like to thank Hubbard Company, Mark Moats Ford and First Insurance and Investments for making it possible to provide a free webcast of all five home games in 2009. The free webcasts will continue into the basketball season, with 20 home games scheduled to be broadcast. Fans not able to make the games can catch the live action by going to www.DefianceAthletics.com/video. Past broadcasts and pregame interviews can also be seen by going that that link.
Around the HCAC - The 2009 regular season will come to a close on Saturday afternoon, with No. 25 Mount St. Joseph having already clinched the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Championship. The Lions will represent the conference next week in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.