The Buena Vista football team put an end to its two-game losing streak on Saturday afternoon by coming from behind in the final minutes to edge the University of Dubuque, 44-41, on the road in a key Iowa Conference match-up.
Junior quarterback Cole Miller passed for a pair of touchdowns and used his legs to score two more before he was taken off the field in the third quarter following a hard hit. Jacob Wehr came into the game and threw over 100 yards, including one score while also helping to orchestrate the team's game-winning drive.
The Beavers built a 20-7 lead late in the first half, including a pair of touchdown passes to TJ Lint as well as a one-yard touchdown plunge from Miller. After BVU's third touchdown with under 2:00 to go in the half, the Spartans had an answer on the final play of the half to get back within 20-14 at the break.
Back-to-back scores in the first six minutes of the second half put Dubuque back on top 27-20 before Miller used his legs again to find the endzone from six yards, but the PAT failed and it remained 27-26.
The Spartans extended the advantage to eight less than a minute later, and that's how things stood until midway through the fourth when Jeremiah Rice hauled in a 27-yard touchdown catch from Wehr with 8:46 to play. BVU tried to go for two, but the run attempt came up short.
BVU, however, then grabbed the lead moments later when Michael Herwig picked-off a pass and returned it 20 yards for a pick-six. The extra point was no good, and the Beavers clung to a 38-34 lead.
Dubuque marched down the field and used up nearly five minutes off the clock before a three-yard touchdown run put the Spartans back in front, 41-38, with only 2:30 on the clock.
Wehr and the Beavers then came back on the field to begin their ensuing drive on their own 28. He completed passes of 10 and 18 yards to begin the drive, and then on fourth-and-11, got the benefit of a roughing the passer penalty to keep the drive alive and move the ball to the Spartan's 31.
Then later in the drive on 3rd-and-6, Wehr completed a pass to Lint for 15 yards down to the Dubuque one yard line. After spiking the ball to stop the clock, Dubuque followed with a timeout before Wehr handed off to freshman Reed Kruse who bulldozed his way into the endzone for the go-ahead score with only 17 seconds left.
Dubuque had one last chance, and started the ensuing posession at its own 34 with 11 ticks left. It picked up a first down out to the 47 before getting out of bounds with four seconds left. After BVU called a timeout, the Spartans completed a pass to the Beaver 41 before calling a timeout, setting up the game's final play with one second left.
The Spartans completed a pass and got down to the BVU 10, but Brady Illg made the tackle as time expired, putting the finishing touches on a game that also included a weather delay early in the third.
Miller completed 25-of-36 pass attempts for 283 yards and two scores before departing. He was also intercepted once. Wehr was 9-of-22 for 127, including one TD and one INT. Miller also finished with 36 yards rushing on eight carries, including the two scores. Tariq Thomas was the team's leading rusher with 50 yards on 18 attempts.
Lint had the monster day on the receiving end of 12 catches for 191 yards and the two touchdowns. He now has 126 career receptions for 1,900 yards, moving him into fourth in both categoris on the all-time list. He now sits just six catches away from matching newly inducted BVU Hall of Famer, Jesse Schmidt, for second on the charts. Jalen Henningsen is the program's career leader with 201. He's also 100 yards shy of becoming only the fourth player in history with at least 2,000 career receiving yards.
Rice turned in four catches for 63 yards and the one touchdown while Eric Pacheco also hauled in four for 53 yards.
The two teams combined for 1,006 yards of total offense with BVU running 30 more total plays than the Spartans (3-2, 1-2 IIAC).
Dwayne Allen, Jr., rushed for a game-high 268 yards on 23 carries, including a long 73-yard burst that set up a Dubuque touchdown. Quarterback Connor Feckley passed for 194 yards and two scores, but was also intercepted twice.
Buena Vista improves to 3-2 overall and 2-2 in Iowa Conference play. The Beavers will now step out of league play next Saturday when they travel to St. Louis, Mo., to face Washington University (Mo.) for a 1:00pm kick-off.