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BETHANY GOES ON THE ROAD LOOKING TO EVEN RECORD
Sept. 11 - BETHANY, W.Va. – The Bethany football team will travel to Kentucky Christian Saturday afternoon for a 1 p.m. kickoff, as the Bison look to even their record and avoid their first 0-2 start since 2004.
In their lidlifter last weekend, BC found themselves tied with #24 Otterbein at 7-7 heading into the fourth quarter. However, the Cardinals scored 21 unanswered points to claim a 28-7 victory and end the Green and White’s four-game winning streak in home openers. The Bethany ground game, led by sophomore Eric Walker’s (New Brighton, Pa.) 77 yards, pounded out 167 yards, but it was no match for Otterbein’s rushing attack, which gained 306 and scored four touchdowns.
Despite the loss, Bison head coach Tim Weaver saw quite a few things he liked in the contest.
“I saw a lot of positives from last week,” said Weaver. “I liked the way we competed and stayed together as a team. We played a lot of young guys on defense who played hard and reasonably well through three quarters. And we showed the ability to run the ball against a really good team.”
Perhaps the biggest surprise last week was that it was a low scoring game. Many expected offensive fireworks since Otterbein averaged 38.8 points per game the season before and the Bison set a school record with 280 points. Bethany had chances, but scored only once in four trips to the red zone, as the defenses took charge.
“Part of the reason there weren’t as many points scored is because it’s night and day how much better we are defensively than we were a year ago,” said Weaver. “But their defense is also very good and unfortunately, when we’ve faced really good defenses like Thomas More and W&J last year and Waynesburg in ’07, we have not come out and put points on the board like we think we should.
“That’s one thing I’ve challenged our offense on, is to find ways to score against those types of defenses,” said Weaver. “Last week, we hurt ourselves with three dropped balls in the red zone that could have been touchdowns. I told our guys this week that it’s not 50 plays making a difference in a game anymore, it’s only about five now. If we start to make those plays, we’ll start beating really good teams and start something great.”
The Bison hope to duplicate last year’s result against Kentucky Christian, as they scored 19 unanswered fourth quarter points to post a 34-19 victory. Walker scored a pair of touchdowns in the final period and BC’s efforts were aided by KCU miscues, something Weaver would like to see again, but doesn’t expect it.
“We were able to get them in the fourth quarter last year,” said Weaver. “They turned it over four times and we didn’t. We can’t count on that again, so we’ll have to be better.”
This year’s Kentucky Christian squad brings in a 0-2 record into the match-up, which is a little deceiving. The Knights’ two losses, which were by scores of 44-0 and 74-7, came against two Top 20 NAIA programs in Lambuth (Tenn.) University and the University of the Cumberlands (Ky.). In last week’s loss to Cumberlands, KCU was limited to only 97 total yards and gave up 663, including 586 on the ground.
Offensively, the Knights look to quarterback Beau Dailey to lead the way. He has thrown only 21 passes this year, with 10 completions for 93 yards, but has also rushed for 79 yards and scored the team’s only TD last week. On the defensive side, DB Mycdeangelo Turner has a team-high 13 tackles.
Despite the two lopsided losses, Weaver said his team expects a battle against the Knights, who are as deep in athletic players as anyone they will play this season.
“They are no different than last year, as they have the best collection of athletes we’ll play,” said Weaver. “They have very skilled players who play really hard. Their quarterback is a tremendous player who can beat you throwing or running and they re-committed to running the football.
“Keys for us are going to be execute offensively and be precise in our assignments,” said Weaver. “Defensively, we need to tackle well, take good routes to the football and don’t over pursue, because they will be dangerous if they get outside.
“They are a wounded team with their losses the last two weeks,” concluded Weaver. “They watch us on film and see this as a game they not only could, but probably should win. That’s why we need to be sharp in everything we do Saturday.”