Oct. 10 – PITTSBURGH, Pa. – In a game that saw 180 total plays and a combined 1,065 total yards, the Bethany College football team (2-4, 1-3 PAC) dropped a 56-35 decision to Carnegie Mellon University on Saturday evening in Pittsburgh.
The Tartans struck first in the opening quarter. The Bison went three-and-out and their opening drive, and CMU followed that with a 31-yard TD pass to wideout Jon Prather.
Bethany responded quickly, matching the touchdown drive with one of their own. After five consecutive run plays, four of which went to junior Jalen Holmes (New Castle, Pa./New Castle), the Bison found themselves with first down from the Tartan 31. On the next play, Lincon Reyes’ (Gaithersburg, Md./Gaithersburg) went for the home-run ball, connecting with Tyler Ambush (Germantown,Md./Northwest) for the score. Chris Ray’s extra point was good and the Bison knotted the game at 7-7.
Carnegie Mellon would come right back on their next drive, needing just six plays to go 72 yards and take the lead on a one-yard run by the PAC’s leading rusher, Sam Benger. With the extra point, the hosts led 14-7.
Following CMU’s second touchdown pass from Andrew Hearon to Prather, the Bison responded with a 12-play, 67-yard drive. The Green & White converted on two clutch plays on the drive. The first, a third-and-long conversion from their own 43, saw a 30-yard pass from Reyes to Eric Blinn (Beaver, Pa./Western Beaver) to pick up the first down.
The second big play of the drive came on a fourth-and-seven from the CMU red zone, as Reyes found Terry Linyard (Jersey City, N.J./Lincoln) for the first down. Two plays later, Reyes connected with Blinn on a three-yard touchdown. The extra point by Ray cut the Tartan lead to 21-14 in the first quarter.
The opening frame was one for the record books as the two teams combined for 403 yards and 35 points.
Following a touchdown by the Tartans to open the second quarter, the Bison responded with a long drive of their own. However, getting into the CMU red zone proved fruitless as Reyes was picked off in the end zone to keep the Green & White down 28-14.
After a Tartans score, the hosts had two more chances to expand their lead, with the Bison turning them away on both drives. The big play by the defense came from Daulton Freeman (St. Clairsville, Ohio/St. Clairsville) as the freshman picked off his first collegiate pass in the end zone, keeping the score at 35-14 in favor of the hosts.
Late in the half, after forcing a punt, the Bison took over on the 24-yard line with just over a minute to play. The Green & White then orchestrated an eight-play, 76-yard drive to pull within two scores. The last play of the drive came on a 26-yard TD pass from Reyes to junior Robert Seman (Canfield, Ohio/South Range). The touchdown was the first of Seman’s career and pulled the score to 35-21 at the half.
The opening half was all offense as the teams combined to run 91 plays and finished with a total of 639 yards.
After CMU extended the lead to 42-21, the Bison would respond with a seven-play, 75-yard drive to bring the game back within a two-score lead early in the second half. Set up on the Tartan 39-yard line, Reyes found Ambush for a 39-yard strike to pull Bethany with 14, 42-28. The touchdown pass was Reyes’ fourth of the game, while the reception marked the second for Ambush.
Carnegie Mellon would control the remainder of the half, outscoring the Bison 14-7 through the final quarter and a half. The lone Bison score came on a nine-play, 1:45 drive mid way through the fourth quarter. The scoring play came on a 19-yard scamper by Holmes, marking his second of the game. The tally pulled Bethany within two scores, 49-35 with just over four minutes to go.
After a failed onside kick and two penalties on the Bison, Carnegie Mellon rounded out the scoring with a five-yard touchdown run, making the final 56-35.
Overall, the game was a shootout from start to finish as the two teams combined for 180 plays and 1,065 yards. The Bison accounted for 532 of those yards, marking a season-high for the Green & White.
Individually, both Reyes and Ambush notched career highs in the contest. Reyes finished the game with 368 yards passing and four touchdowns. Ambush caught eight of those passes for a career-best 203 yards and two scores.
In the running game, Holmes toted the ball 35 times for 144 yards and a pair of scores. The 100-yard game was the fifth of his career and the third of the season.
Blinn also played well for the offense, notching 13 catches for 100 yards and a touchdown. The performance marked his third-straight 100-yard performance, and his fourth overall.
Defensively, Donavan Hayden (Hyattsville, Md./Northwestern) paced the Bison with 10 total tackles, marking his fourth game of the year with 10 or more stops.
The Bison will be back in action on Saturday, October 17 when they travel to Washington, Pa. to take on the Presidents of Washington & Jefferson. The matchup with W & J is scheduled for a 7 p.m.