Cole Miller attempted a career-high 54 passes and threw for 389 yards and a pair of touchdowns, but it was not quite enough in the end as Nebraska Wesleyan scored a late first half touchdown which proved to be the difference in a 14-13 victory over the Beavers on Saturday.
Despite a gusty southerly wind, the two teams still aired it out and combined for 94 passing attempts and 645 yards in the contest. Miller's 54 attempts were the second-most in program history and just two shy of Brandon Phelan's 56 attempts against Dubuque back in 2009.
It was evident that the wind would prove to be a factor early in the contest, as it knocked down a Jacob Wehr punt for just 19 yards, giving NWU the ball for its first drive at its own 49 yard-line. After Shaka Taylor ran for 11 yards on the first play, he then hauled in a 39-yard pass down to the BVU one where he then plunged into the endzone for the game's first score.
BVU was then forced to a three-and-out, and the wind proved havoc again for Wehr, as he his punt was kicked high into the air where the wind grabbed it and pushed it back across the line of scrimmage for a negative six-yard attempt. It didn't end up hurting the Beavers, however, as they would force a NWU fumble and recover at its own 23.
From there, BVU took advantage as Miller marched the team down the field 77 yards in just 11 plays, capped by a 12-yard touchdown pass to Lint on 4th-and-goal. BVU went for two, but the pass fell short to Lint, and the Beavers trailed 7-6.
The Beavers grabbed their first lead early in the second when Tyler Oberreuter hauled in a 70-yard pass, setting up Miller's 16-yard strike to Lint with just under 12:00 left in the half. Isac Rubio-Ramirez came on and made the extra-point to give BVU a 13-7 advantage.
After gaining just 32 total yards on its next two drives and facing a 3rd-and-5 from the Beavers 23 yard-line, NWU quarterback Jonathan Curti tossed a 23-yard touchdown pass with 22 seconds left which gave the Priaire Wolves the lead back at 14-13 with only 22 ticks left in the opening half.
The defenses each stepped up their game in the second with neither team having many scoring opportunities. Rubio-Ramirez missed wide left on a 37-yard field goal attempt with the wind at his back five minutes into the third. The Beaver defense then came up with a turnover on downs after NWU had gotten down to the Beaver nine. A big 11-yard sack by Lavaris Preston on 3rd-and-4 pushed it back to the 20 before Brady Illg broke up a pass attempt on fourth down.
After neither team scored in the third, the two then combined for only 23 yards of offense over the first four possessions of the fourth.
With under 5:00 to go in regulation, BVU took over at its own 15 after a 38-yard punt. Miller and Lint hooked up for a big 11-yard catch on third-and-nine to keep the drive alive before a big defensive holding call on the Prairie Wolves on 4th-and-10 moved the chains yet again. Lint then hauled in a catch for 24 yards down to the NWU 36 before Tariq Thomas scampered six yards down to the 30. Miller was then intercepted on a fade pass to the near sideline at the 14-yard line with only 1:57 left.
The Praire Wolves were then able to pick up a pair of key first downs to run out the clock and pick up their first win of the year.
Lint hauled in a game-leading 10 catches for 148 yards and now has 812 yards on the year. With three games remaining, he now sits 182 yards away from becoming just the fourth player in school history with 1,000 yards receiving in a single-season. Gunner Gilland (2014) holds the record at 1,101. Lint also has 52 receptions on the year and is only eight away from moving into the top-5. Jalen Henningsen (2016) holds the single-season record at 83.
Miller completed 24-of-54 attempts and now has four 300+ yard passing games this season. He now moves into 6th on the single-season completions list with 159. He's just two away from fifth, three from fourth and nine from third. He's also just 694 yards away from tying Bobby Brown's all-time single-season record of 2.894 set in 2014.
Thomas led the ground attack with 33 yards on nine carries as BVU was held to only 56 rushing yards.
Curti passed for 256 yards for NWU (1-7, 1-5 IIAC) while Taylor finished with 116 yards rushing and 98 yards receiving.
Lavaris Preston led BVU with a game-high 15 tackles, including 12 solo, and two for a loss.
Buena Vists is now 3-4 overall (2-3 IIAC) and will travel to Simpson College (4-4, 3-3 IIAC) next Saturday for a 1:00pm kick-off.