DEFIANCE, OHIO - The Defiance College Yellow Jackets host Bluffton University in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference and 2015 season finale on senior day at Justin F. Coressel Stadium at 1:30 p.m. [Complete Game Notes in PDF]
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Saturday's meeting will be the 91st meeting between the two schools. The series is tied at 44-44-2.
Bluffton has won the previous five meetings, including a 44-23 decision last year in Bluffton.
In last year's game, the Beavers capitalized on a pair of Defiance turnovers with a pair of scores. Bluffton led, 23-3, at halftime with the Yellow Jackets' only points coming on a 21-yard field goal. DC put up a combined 20 points in the second half, but Bluffton kept pace with 21 points of its own en route to the 21-point victory.
Scouting the Yellow Jackets
Defiance returns 36 lettermen, including 17 starters in 2015.
The offense is averaging 258.0 yards per game. Freshman Andre Adderly (West Palm Beach, Fla./Village Academy) is listed as the starter for this week. Coming into the game, Adderly has completed 17-of-47 passes for 179 yards and two touchdowns. He has also rushed for 234 yards on 67 carries (3.5 yards per carry) with a pair of TD.
The Yellow Jackets have a young backfield with sophomore Anthony Righi (Liberty Center) listed as the starter. Coming into this week, Righi has carried the ball 98 times for a team-high 342 yards (3.5 yards per carry) and two TD. Also look for a host of other players to see their share of carries including freshman Tanner Hughes (Pierceton, Ind./Whitko) and junior Cody Wilson (McComb). Wilson is second on the team with 340 yards on 36 touches (9.4 ypc.) and two scores, while Hughes has carried the ball 44 times for 159 yards (3.6 ypc.) and a TD.
At the wideout position, look for juniors Cody Wilson, Andy Foore (Swanton) and freshmen Devin Bolden (Lake Worth, Fla./Wellington) and Nate Roberts (St. Petersburg, Fla./Boca Ciega) to start. Wilson leads the team in receiving with 41 catches for 392 yards (9.6 yards per catch) and two TD. Bolden is second with 11 receptions for 185 yards (16.8 yards per catch) and two TD. Foore and Roberts are tied for third with seven receptions each. Foore has 105 yards (15.0 ypc.) and Roberts has 70 yards (10.0 ypc.) to go along with a TD.
On defense, Defiance is currently allowing 355.6 yards per game, and has accounted for 21 takeaways this season with 13 interceptions and eight fumble recoveries.
The defensive line will be anchored by seniors Kyle Wilson (Wauseon) and Cody Lee (Tampa, Fla./Jefferson). Kyle Wilson has made 31 total tackles (18 solo and 13 assists) to go along with 2.5 tackles for loss and a sack. Lee has made 28 tackles (14 solo and 14 assists), including four tackles for loss, two sacks and a forced fumble. Also look for junior Matt DeVore (Van Buren) and sophomore Greg Ward (Ypsilanti, Mich./Ypsilanti) to start alongside Kyle Wilson and Lee.
The linebackers will start junior Keandre Gilmer (Toledo/Rogers) and freshman Jalin Nealy (Pontiac, Mich./West Bloomfield). Gilmer leads the team in tackles with 67 (44 solo and 23 assists) and has a team-high 10.5 tackles for loss, two sacks, two interceptions, a fumble recovery and two forced fumbles. Nealy is third in tackles with 56 (29 solo and 27 assists). He also has nine tackles for loss, two sacks and a forced fumble.
The Jacket secondary is led by junior Kenny Jones (Toledo/Bowsher) and freshman Dalin Brown (Port St. Lucie, Fla./St. Lucie Wester Center) at the corners along with senior Andrew Feldhaus (Lutz, Fla./Steinbrenner), junior Cody Wiggins (Howell, Mich./Howell) and freshman Beau Barkley at the safety positions. Jones is fifth on the team in tackles with 39 (29 solo and 10 assists). He leads the team in interceptions with three and also has a fumble recovery and two blocked kicks. Brown has made 12 stops (eight solo and four assists) to go along with 1.5 tackles for loss and an interception. Feldhaus is second in tackles with 57 (37 solo and 20 assists) in addition to eight tackles for loss, two sacks and a forced fumble. Wiggins has made 12 tackles (10 solo and two assists) with a tackle for loss and two interceptions. Barkley has made 39 tackles (24 solo and 14 assists) with three tackles for loss, a half sack, a fumble recovery and a blocked kick.
On special teams, freshman Tyler L'Heureux (Apopka, Fla./Apopka) will handle the place kicking duties, while junior Seth Bauer (Findlay/Arcadia) will be the team's starting punter. L'Heureux is seven-of-nine in field goal attempts and 15-of-18 in extra point opportunities for 36 points scored. Bauer has punted the ball 41 times and is averaging 31.6 yards per punt. He has recorded two punts over 50 yards and has pinned the opponent inside their 20-yard line on seven occasions.
Scouting the Beavers
The Bluffton offense has been averaging 472.3 total yards per game through nine games this season.
Calling the plays for the Beavers will be sophomore Colby Speice. Coming into this week's game, Speice has completed 75-of-135 passes for 989 yards with nine touchdown and 10 interceptions. He has also rushed for 80 yards on 24 attempts and a TD.
Expect to see the Beavers line up with two players in the backfield in senior running back Devante Thomas-Wright and senior fullback Tyler Carroll. Thomas Wright leads the team in rushing with 659 yards on 134 carries (4.9 ypc.) and 10 TD. Carroll has rushed 54 times for 254 yards (4.7 ypc.) and scored twice. Also look for junior Dustin Fisher to see some action. To date, Fisher is second on the team in rushing with 477 yards on 99 touches (4.8 ypc.) and a pair of TD.
At the wide receiver position, junior Micah Roberson and senior Zack Zavakos will start. Roberson leads the team in receptions (88), yards (1,013) and TD (10). His 1,013 receiving yards are tops in the HCAC. In addition to Roberson and Zavakos, senior Austin Siefker will also provide a target for Spiece in the passing game.
Defensively, Bluffton is allowing 325.3 yards per game (116.6 rushing and 208.8 passing).
The Beavers line up in a 4-3 scheme, and will start juniors Link LaRoche, Hayden Thomas, sophomore Ryan Aelker and freshman Aaron Keck on the defensive line. Aelker leads all linemen and is second on the team in tackles with 54 (41 solo and 13 assists), including league bests of 22.5 tackles for loss and 14.5 sacks. He also has one interception a forced fumble and a blocked kick.
At linebacker, Bluffton will start senior Brad Swavel, sophomore Gino Spadaro and freshman David Wellborn. Swavel leads the team in tackles with 60 (45 solo and 15 assists), including eight tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks and two interceptions.
The secondary will feature senior Craig Miller and sophomore Thaddeus Phillips at the corners and senior Matt Holden and junior Tyrone White at the safety positions. Holden leads the secondary in stops with 42 (35 solo and seven assists) and is tied for the team-lead in interceptions with three. He also has 1.5 tackles for loss and a fumble recovery.
On special teams, sophomore Jordan Watkins is listed as the team's starting placekicker and senior Dylan Mann is the team's starting punter. Watkins has made four-of-eight field goal attempts and is 33-of-33 in extra point attempts for 45 points. Mann is currently averaging 34.2 yards per punt in 39 tries. He has recorded seven punts inside the opponent's 20-yard line so far this season.