Oct. 13 - BETHANY, W.Va. – The Bethany College football team (2-4, 0-3) was held to 113 total yards of offense Saturday, as unbeaten Waynesburg (Pa.) University (6-0, 3-0) ruined the Bison’s Homecoming with a 45-7 victory at Bethany Field.
BC’s defense stopped the Yellow Jackets on their first drive, but two plays after getting the ball, Waynesburg’s Brendon Steele picked off a Milton Joyner (Pittsburgh, Pa./Westinghouse) pass at the Bison 31. After an 11-yard pass play, Yellow Jacket RB Robert Heller ran 20 yards for a touchdown and a 7-0 Waynesburg lead.
Early in the second quarter, Waynesburg scored again. Taking advantage of a short field, they moved 46 yards in eight plays, with Jamelle Price carrying it over from the one to double the visitors’ lead to 14-0 two minutes into the second quarter. The Yellow Jackets reached the end zone again just before halftime, as a six-play, 82-yard drive ended on an eight-yard scoring run by Heller to make it 21-0 Waynesburg at the break.
The Bison offense was unable to move the ball much in the opening two periods, as they were limited to 39 total yards and just one first down. Waynesburg churned out 218 yards in the first half, including 109 from Heller on the ground.
Although BC got the ball first to open the second half, their hopes for a comeback were quickly dashed. On the first play following the kickoff, Waynesburg picked off their second pass of the game. Following a pair of runs, QB Kyle Kiper tossed a 30-yard touchdown pass to Ray Hightower for a 28-0 Waynesburg advantage.
The Yellow Jackets defense continued to be stifling, forcing Bethany into consecutive three-and-outs, which were both followed by Waynesburg scores. The lead swelled to 35-0 on a 24-yard TD reception by Hightower from Kiper and then a 35-yard field goal by Kyle McBride pushed the score to 38-0.
Bethany put their points on the board in the closing minutes of the third quarter. Joyner engineered a seven-play, 64-yard drive that resulted in a touchdown when he lofted a 31-yard scoring pass to sophomore wideout Matt Cruse (Naples, Fla./Barron Collier). The extra point from junior Matt Blumer (Sarasota, Fla./Cardinal Mooney) made it 38-7 after three quarters.
The touchdown reception by Cruse was his sixth of the season and 13th of his career, which already ties him with J.D. Basile (1996-99) for fifth place all-time at Bethany. The career TD receptions record was set last season by T.J. Parker with 18.
Waynesburg added the final score in the opening seconds of the final stanza, as Price scored from five yards out, which capped a Yellow Jacket win that makes them 6-0 for the first time since 1967.
Bethany’s offense was unable to get going from the outset, as they were limited to 24 rushing yards by the Yellow Jackets, who entered the game allowing a PAC-low 45 yards per game on the ground. Joyner finished the game 9-of-17 for 71 yards, with his top targets being junior WR Taylor McNeil (Old Saybrook, Conn.), with six receptions for 26 yards and Cruse, with two catches for 37 yards.
Defensively, sophomore FS Nelson Mitzen (Waynesburg, Pa./Waynesburg Central) record 10 tackles for his second consecutive game with double-digit hits. Junior SS Dante Fuscardo (Follansbee, W.Va./Brooke) finished with nine stops and forced a fumble.
Waynesburg demonstrated good balance in the game, as they totaled 277 rushing yards and 166 through the air. Heller’s stat line showed 130 yards rushing and two TDs on 29 carries, while Kiper threw for 132 and a pair of scores. Defensively, DB Ryan Krull made nine tackles and DE Mike Czerwien totaled six stops, including a pair of sacks.
Bethany returns to action next Saturday with their second game of a four-game home stand. Next week will bring Westminster (Pa.) College to town for a 1:30 p.m. kickoff. The Titans saw their record fall to 3-3 overall and 1-2 in the conference with a 58-18 loss to the PAC’s other unbeaten program, Washington & Jefferson (Pa.) College.