Oct. 27 – BETHANY, W.Va. – The Bethany College football team will go on the road to take on No. 13 Thomas More in a Presidents’ Athletic Conference (PAC) matchup on Saturday, October 29 at 12 p.m.
The Bison (1-6, 0-5 PAC) return to the gridiron following their bye week. Bethany is 3-2 in its last five games following a week off.
“Our bye week came at a good time,” Head Coach Bill Garvey said. “It coincided with mid-terms and fall break, so it gave the guys some much needed rest to help deal with injuries and catch up on school work and make sure they are on track.”
The Green & White are two weeks removed from a gut-wrenching 37-36 loss at PAC-rival Washington & Jefferson. The Bison put up 520 yards against W&J, including a season-high 301 yards of rushing in the loss. Garvey said the team wasn’t dwelling on the loss.
“Our practices were great. Our enthusiasm was the best it’s been all year this week. They were energized and ready to go. For a team that’s struggling, we are still playing with confidence. Internally, we know we are better than a one-win team right now. We just need to be more consistent to be better than that. Our players know that if we play how we are capable of playing, we can beat anyone in our conference.”
Bethany’s offense had eight plays that gained 20 yards or more at W&J, notably, a 42-yard Hail Mary touchdown with five seconds left in the second quarter to give the Bison a 29-20 lead heading into halftime.
“You hear it on TV from coaches, but we practice that every-single week,” Garvey added. “We practice being backed up and go over those situations because they help you win games. We had the opportunity to execute it in the game and it went our way.”
Thomas More (7-1, 6-0 PAC), ranked No. 13 in both the D3Football.com and AFCA Division III Top 25 polls, enters the game on a seven-game winning streak. Saints quarterback Brenan Kuntz ranks third in the conference with 230 passing yards per game and is second in the PAC with a 158.6 efficiency rating. Among eligible quarterbacks (min. 150 attempts), Kuntz has thrown the fewest interceptions in the PAC.
“He is not a game management quarterback,” said Garvey. “He can throw down field and create with his feet. They are certainly a run-first team, but he’s very talented. When he is asked to throw he makes really smart decisions and protects the ball.”
The Bison defense has limited opponents to a 34.7 percent conversion rate on third down, good for second in the PAC. Thomas More’s offense enters the game leading the league with a 56.6 percent conversion rate on third down.
The two teams are meeting for the first-time since 2013. Bethany’s last win in the series was a 35-14 victory in 2007. Thomas More’s second-year Head Coach Regis Scafe holds a career 122-92 record between stops at Case Western Reserve and John Carroll, but will face Bethany for the first time.