A 3-0 advantage in turnovers translated to a 23-21victory for the University of Dubuque over the Central College football team Saturday.
Both squads had productive offenses in non-conference games but in the Iowa Conference opener it was defenses that were dominant, with neither team topping the 300-yard mark in total offense.
But Dubuque (2-2) turned two turnovers into touchdowns. Blaine Snitker returned an interception 26 yards for a score with 3:12 left in the first half for a 10-7 lead. A 37-yard field goal as time expired in the half pushed the advantage to 13-7. Central briefly regained the lead when Aaron Eiseler (junior, Newberg, Ore., Red Mountain, Ariz. HS) found Brendon Boerm (junior, Traer, North Tama HS) for a 9-yard TD with 8:01 left in the third period. But Dubuque answered with a 24-yard field goal with 3:33 remaining in the quarter, then recovered a fumble at the Central 43-yard line and needed just four plays and 1:44 for its final TD of the day and a 23-14 lead.
The Dutch had a steady wind at their backs in the fourth quarter but couldn't find the end zone until they completed an 11-play, 86-yard, 2-minute march with a 5-yard Eiseler toss to Boerm to make it 23-21. But Central couldn't recover the onside kick and Dubuque was able to run out the clock.
Central's other score came early in the second quarter when tight end Jack Norgaard (junior, Naperville, Ill., Neuqua Valley HS) hauled in a 36-yard Eiseler pass to put the Dutch ahead 7-3 with 14:18 remaining.
Dubuque held a 291 to 288-yard edge in total yards.
Eiseler completed 25 of 43 passes for 232 yards and three scores, with one interception and two sacks. Boerm had six receptions for 58 yards while Blaine Forsythe (junior, Pella) had six catches for 51 yards and running back Taylor Cox (sophomore, Pella) had five receptions for 45 yards.
But the Dutch were held to 56 yards on the ground, after averaging 193.7 yards in the first three games. De'Andre Currie (junior, Phoenix, Ariz., Mountain Pointe HS) managed 33 yards on six carries.
Dubuque's Kyle Acker rushed for 111 yards on 29 carries as the Spartans got 117 yards on the ground. But Dubuque's pass-oriented offense, which was averaging 306.3 yards, was limited to 174 as Bryan Bradshaw completed 22 of 46 passes.
Defensive back Jason Breon (senior, Anamosa) had a game-high 12 tackles with two pass breakups. Linebacker Zac Miller (sophomore, Kansas City, Mo., Liberty North HS), back off the injured list, and linebacker Mike Young (senior, Country Club Hills, Ill., Hillcrest HS) each had 10 tackles with 2.5 defensive end Jack Shipley (senior, Tipton) had 10 stops with 2.0 tackles for loss. Defensive back Jacob Tune (junior, Mesa, Ariz., Red Mountain HS) had eight tackles and two breakups.
Central remains on the road next Saturday, facing Simpson College at Indianola in a 1 p.m. game. Simpson is 2-2 overall and 0-1 in the league after tumbling at Waverly to Wartburg College Saturday, 34-24.