DEFIANCE, Ohio – Defiance College sent its 18-man senior class out in style on Saturday by scoring a lopsided, 35-0, win against Bluffton on Senior Day. The 35-point margin of victory was DC's highest against the Beavers since joining the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference in 2000.
The shutout victory was the first since a 10-0 win at Adrian on September 9, 2006 and moved head coach Rob Taylor into second place on the program's all-time wins list with 31 victories during his seven-year tenure. Taylor now sits just five wins back of Malen Luke (1988-1993) for the most in DC history.
Kyle Longsdorf and Drew Kuesel led the vintage performance for the Purple and Gold, as the Jackets excelled behind a stout defense and a dominant rushing attack. Longsdorf ended with 22 tackles, one forced fumble and a blocked punt, while Kuesel rushed 30 times for 163 yards and two touchdowns.
Defiance scored in each quarter with a perfect five-for-five showing in the red zone and controlled the action all afternoon, racking up 224 rushing yards and 20 first downs. Bluffton mustered just nine first downs and 188 total yards of offense by averaging 3.1 yards per play.
Rick Powell scored the first of his two rushing touchdowns on the afternoon to open the scoring with 48 seconds left in the opening quarter. Powell connected with Nick Wiedenhoft for a 40-yard completion on the previous play to set up the score.
The Jackets then capitalized on a short field to double its lead on its first possession of the second quarter. A 16-yard punt return from Dustin Supan gave Defiance the ball on Bluffton's 23-yard marker to open the drive. Powell hit Raymond Martinez for a 12-yard score three plays later to push the spread to 14-0 with 12:05 left in the half.
DC extended its lead to 21-0 at the start of the third quarter, by taking the ball 65 yards on 12 plays to start the half. The scoring march was capped by another short touchdown scamper from Powell, this time from three yards out.
Kuesel put the game away in the final quarter, rushing 16 times for 92 yards and a pair of scores to seal the 35-0 victory. Kuesel scored from nine yards out with 7:52 left in the game, before carrying the ball on all 11 plays and churning out 73 yards on the final drive of the day for Defiance. Kuesel capped that drive by powering in from one-yard out for the final score of the day with 36 seconds to play.
Kuesel was joined on offense by Powell's 69 yards rushing and two touchdowns, while Wiedenhoft led all receivers with three catches for 52 yards.
Matt King, Eric Rubio and Josh Wade joined Longsdorf with double-digit tackling totals, as King racked up 11 hits, Wade added 10 and Rubio ended with 10 stops, one fumble recovery and one forced fumble.
The victory ended the careers of 18 DC seniors and moved the Yellow Jackets to 4-6 overall and 3-4 in the HCAC.