(courtesy BVU sports information)
The Grant Mollring coaching era got off on the right foot on Thursday night as his Buena Vista football team took advantage of some big plays in all facets of the game that helped lift the Beavers to a thrilling 31-27 victory over visiting Mayville St. on Thursday night inside of J. Leslie Rollins Stadium.
BVU had several new faces seeing adequate playing time all night long, and it didn’t take long for one of those newcomers to make an impact as freshman tailback, Tariq Thomas broke through the line for a 56-yard touchdown run less than two minutes into the contest.
The Comets did respond with a lenghty drive on the ensuing posession, marching 82 yards in 15 plays to tie things at 7-7 with 5:23 left in the opening quarter.
BVU then took the lead for good early in the second stanza when junior quarterback Cole Miller connected with Jordan Travis for a 69-yard touchdown pass for his only grab of the contest.
Another freshman, Eric Pacheco, quickly put the fans back on their feet just over a minute later when he fielded a punt and ran it all the way back – 72 yards – for a 21-7 lead. Miller then made it a 28-7 score when he lofted a pass out to senior TJ Lint who then went untouched 45 yards down field.
Creighton Pfau, who threw for 394 yards in the contest, kept the Comets within striking distance just before the half with a 38-yard touchdown strike to Chirs Pope with 3:17 left before intermission.
Both teams struggled a bit offensively over the second 30 minutes of play with BVU getting a 25-yard field goal from Rubio-Ramirez midway through the third. Rubio-Ramirez later had a field goal attempt blocked in the fourth.
Mayville State, however, would not go away, and the Comets got a pair of fourth quarter touchdown passes, including a deflected ball that found the hands of Trent Mormom for his second score of the frame with 19 seconds left. The PAT attempt was blocked, and the Beavers would go on to take possession after an MSU penalty on its on-side kick attempt.
The two teams combined for nearly 900 yards of total offense with a good chunk of it coming through the air.
Miller finished with 318 yards passing on 15-of-27 with three scores. He also rushed five times for 16 yards. Thomas carried the ball 24 times for 87 yards and the one score.
Lint had a monster night on the receiving end, hauling in a team-high five grabs for 141 yards.
Nick Amundson and Brady Illg turned in a team-leading eight tackles apiece with Illg also registering a pair of tackles for loss and three pass breakups. Five different players had one sack for BVU, which held the Comets to only 77 yards net yards rushing.
The win was the first season-opening win for BVU since knocking off Bethel, 21-16, in Storm Lake in 2007. It will now get some time off as it does not return to action until Saturday, September 16, when it opens Iowa Conference play by hosting Central College at 1:00pm. That game is also part of Hall of Fame Day for BVU.