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Bison Football Returns Home For Week Eight Matchup with Geneva

Oct. 21 – BETHANY, W. Va. – The Bethany College football team will look to stop a three-game slide as they host Geneva College on Saturday at Bison Stadium. The Bison enter the contest with a 2-5 mark, including a 1-3 record in conference play, while the Golden Tornadoes come into the game with a 2-4 record and a 1-3 mark in the PAC. Full game notes can be viewed below.

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The Bison: Bethany enters the game with Geneva having dropped their last three outings, including a 66-42 decision to #16 Washington & Jefferson last week. The Green & White are returning home for the first time since a week five showdown with Case Western.

Despite the outcome against the Presidents, the Bethany offense once again showed that they are more than capable of moving the ball down the field against any opponent. The Green & White outgained the Presidents in total yardage in the contest, producing 464 yards. The yardage total marked the most given up by W&J in 2015. Bethany also tallied 42 points in the matchup, also a season-high for the W&J defense.

The two teams combined to score 35 points in the opening quarter, marking the second-straight week in which the Bison have been involved with an offensive explosion in the first frame (Bethany and Carnegie Mellon combined for 406 total yards and 42 points in week six). W&J posted two passing touchdowns and a rushing TD while the Bison countered with a four-yard receiving touchdown from Eric Blinn and a 53-yard run from Jalen Holmes.

In the middle two frames, the Bison were outscored by the Presidents 38-7, with the lone touchdown coming on an 11 yard pitch-and-catch from Lincon Reyes to Blinn. When the dust settled, the Bison found themselves trailing 59-21.

The Bethany offense once again picked up the pace in the fourth quarter, outscoring the hosts 21-7 in the last frame. Reyes completed a pair of touchdown passes in the frame. One was a 38-yard pass to Blinn, while the other found Terry Linyard on a 15-yard swing pass. Holmes also found pay dirt for the second time, scoring from one-yard out.

Overall in the contest, the Bison were led offensively by Blinn and Holmes. Holmes, who earned a nomination for PAC Offensive Player of the Week, tallied a career-high 180 yards on 24 carries, averaging 7.5 yards per rush. He also posted a pair of touchdowns, marking the second time this season that he has scored twice. Blnn, who notched his second three-touchdown game of the season, tallied 11 catches for 146 yards. His totals marked the fifth time this season that he has gone over 100 yards receiving.

The Golden Tornadoes: Geneva enters the matchup with Bethany having also dropped their previous three outings, including a 20-7 loss to Case Western Reserve University last Saturday. The Golden Tornadoes conceded the first 20 points of the game, before notching a fourth-quarter touchdown from quarterback Aaron Channing to receiver Jake Olenick.

The Golden Tornado offense had a hard time getting things to click against one of the conference’s top defenses as Geneva totaled 124 yards of offense in the game. They tallied just 24 yards rushing on 28 carries, averaging 0.9 yards per carry against the Spartans.

On the defensive end, Geneva tallied 10 tackles for loss and six sacks, led by 18 tackles and 5.0 tackles for loss from Jimmy Quinlan. Quinlan also totaled 2.5 sacks in the game while making eight solo stops.

The series: The Bison and Golden Tornadoes meet for the 43rd time on Saturday while squaring off at Bison Stadium for the first time since the 2012 season. Geneva holds a 30-11-1 advantage over the Green & White will taking the last two meetings. The teams have split the previous four decisions, including a 42-36, overtime victory by the Bison at Bison Stadium in 2012.

When Last They Met: The Bison traveled to Beaver Falls, Pa. for the second-consecutive season in 2014, falling to Geneva in a defensive struggle, 20-14.

The Green & White outgained the Golden Tornadoes in the contest, posting 397 yards of total offense compared to 246 for Geneva. However, the hosts were +2 in the turnover differential as the Bison threw five interceptions in the contest.

In the game, receivers Eric Blinn and Tyler Ambush both went over 100 receiving yards. Blinn finished the contest with nine catches for 102 yards and a pair of scores, while Ambush notched 115 yards on just six receptions.

Defensively, the Bison held Geneva to just 104 yards through the air, while also totaling 15 tackles for loss. Donavan Hayden led the defense with 10 total tackles, while seven different Bison totaled at least one TFL.

The Coaches: Bethany’s Bill Garvey and Geneva’s Geno DeMarco meet for the third time in Garvey’s three-year tenure as the Bison’s head coach. DeMarco holds a 2-0 edge over Bethany’s coach, and remains one of just three coaches Garvey has yet to beat (Ron Dolciato – Saint Vincent, Regis Scafe – Thomas More).  

Garvey led the Bison to their first winning season since 2001 and first post-season appearance since 1980 when he led the Green & White to a 6-5 record in just his second season. That season, the Bison earned an appearance in the ECAC Southeast Bowl Championship against Stevenson University. Garvey currently possess a 12-14 regular season record, and is 12-15 overall in his third season as head coach.

DeMarco is currently in his 23rd season at the helm of the Golden Tornadoes and is currently the program’s all-time winningest coach, having amassed 139 career wins to date. He became Geneva’s leader in wins back in 2003 and has helped lead the team to 14 post-season appearances in the last 20 seasons.

Scouting the Bison: Bethany enters the contest with Geneva having dropped their last three matchups in the PAC, allowing at least 50 points per game in each. Through six games this season, the Bison currently sit tied for eighth in the conference standings.

As a team, the Green & White currently rank sixth in the conference in scoring offense (28.4), while sitting tenth in the conference in scoring defense (42.3). Their 395 yards per game sit sixth in the PAC, while they also rank sixth in total defense (406.6).

On the offensive side, the Bison are averaging 161.1 yards per game on the ground. Holmes’ leads the ground attack, ranking fifth in the PAC in yards per game (113.3). The junior back currently sits fourth in both total rushing yards (793) as well as total touchdowns (8).  

Through the air, the Bison are led by senior Lincon Reyes who is currently third in the PAC in passing yards per game (231.3). Reyes has thrown 15 touchdowns this season, including four in back-to-back games against Carnegie Mellon and Washington & Jefferson. His top two targets this season have been Blinn and Ambush who rank second and third in the PAC, respectively, in yards per game. Blinn is currently averaging 107.7 yards per contest, while Ambush has totaled 95.8 yards per game. Blinn also leads the PAC in receiving touchdowns, matching a career high with nine.

Defensively, the Bison have been led by Donavan Hayden, who ranks fourth in the conference in tackles per game (9.7). Davon McClain also ranks among the PAC’s best, sitting tied for first in total sacks (6.5).

Scouting the Golden Tornadoes: Geneva enters the game having dropped their last three outings after defeating Waynesburg in their third game of the season. The Golden Tornadoes have struggled on the offensive front, averaging 9.3 points per game during their three-game skid.  

Geneva ranks ninth in the conference in both scoring offense (18.5) while sitting eighth in scoring defense, allowing 31.8 points per contest. The Golden Tornadoes rank last in the PAC in total offense, averaging just 275.8 yards per game. However, the defense has been solid this season, ranking fifth in the PAC in defensive yards allowed (360.3 ypg).  

Offensively, Geneva uses their aerial attack to gain the bulk of their yardage as they are averaging 181.5 yards per game through the air, compared to 94.3 yards per contest on the ground. Quarterback Aaron Channing ranks fifth in the PAC in passing yards per game (168.2) and has thrown eight TD passes on the year. His top target has been Devin Kelosky, who has hauled in 21 catches for 264 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

On the defensive side of the ball, Geneva ranks third against the pass, allowing 190.2 yards per contest through the air. Individually, the Golden Tornadoes have been led by Jimmy Quinlan, who ranks second in the PAC in tackles per game (11.3), while also ranking first in the conference in total tackles for loss (11.0).