Adam Hay had three tackles for losses and 13 total tackles, and fellow linebacker Tyler Boron intercepted a pass in the closing minutes to end Bluffton's final series and seal the victory.
After scoring with 2:46 to play, the Beavers got the ball back with 1:41 left at its own 3-yard line, having been pinned deep in their own territory by Chris Zimmerman's 40-yard punt. On the next play, a pass by Bluffton's Brock Miller was tipped, then picked off by Boron.
Conservative in second half
Centre's offense managed only 202 yards. Running backs Josh Ware and Chase Porter combined for 107 yards and each rushed for a touchdown, and wide receiver Tyler Hinkel caught four passes for 72 yards.
Jarrod Williams, making his first start at quarterback, played all but one series and was 6-for-17 for 79 yards with one interception and one sack.
"Jarrod played well at times," Frye said.
Bluffton (0-1) took a 3-0 lead late in the first quarter, but Centre (1-0) answered immediately with a seven-play, 75-yard scoring drive capped by Porter's 6-yard scoring run.
Ware scored on a 7-yard run on Centre's next possession to cap a 16-play, 67-yard drive. Mercer County High School alumnus Jason Chadwick went 2-for-2 on extra-point kicks to give Centre a 14-3 lead.
Frye said the Colonels were more conservative on offense in the second half as they tried to protect their lead and their defense.
"We didn't want to put ourselves in a bad position because our defense was playing so well," he said. "It's always tough to win on the road, especially an opener, so it was a good win."
At Bluffton, Ohio
Bluffton - FG 29 Jonathan Thompson, 3:26.
Centre - Chase Porter 6 run (Jason Chadwick kick), :37.
Centre - Josh Ware 7 run (Chadwick kick), 7:18.
Bluffton - Joel Sienicki 9 pass from Brock Miller (pass failed), 2:46.
RUSHING-Centre, Josh Ware 11-61, Chase Porter 13-46, Aaron Hay 2-4, Jarrod Williams 1-minus 5, Grant Conliffe 3-minus 7. Bluffton, Cameron Campeau 22-43, A.J. Ramthun 8-22, Edward Jackson 3-7, Kyle Coleman 6-minus 2, Brock Miller 9-minus 7.
PASSING-Centre, Williams 6-17-1-79, Conliffe 2-5-0-23. Bluffton, Miller 7-15-1-78, Coleman 5-9-0-38.
RECEIVING-Centre, Tyler Hinkel 4-72, Ware 1-12, Kyle Barnette 1-7, Justin Moore 1-6, Chris Zimmerman 1-5. Bluffton, Joel Sienicki 4-36, Andrew Lovelace 4-35, Mike Brown 3-31, Ramthun 1-14.CENTRE7700-- 14BLUFFTON3006-- 9CBFirst Downs1014Rushes34-10048-63Passing102116Total Yards202179Comp-Att-Int8-22-112-24-1Fumbles - Lost0-00-0Penalties4-301-7