Oct. 8 – BETHANY, W.Va. – Despite forcing four turnovers, the Bethany College Bison were defeated 37-14 by Case Western Reserve at Bison Stadium on Homecoming Saturday afternoon.
The Bison fall to 1-5 overall, 0-4 in the Presidents’ Athletic Conference (PAC). Meanwhile, the Spartans, who were receiving votes in both the D3Football.com and AFCA polls, improve to 4-0 in league play, 5-0 overall this season.
Senior linebacker Donavan Hayden (Hyattsville, Md./Northwestern) had a career-day for the Bison. He established a new career-high with 20 tackles (nine solo), one sack, three tackles for loss, two forced fumbles and an interception returned 48 yards for a touchdown.
Junior quarterback Chase Kinemond (Shadyside, Ohio/Shadyside) finished the afternoon 8-for-20 with 77 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Senior wide receiver Tyler Ambush (Germantown, Md./Northwest) led the team with five catches for 74 yards and a touchdown.
The Bison took the opening possession and went three-and-out, but took the ball right back from the Spartans after a fumble recovery near midfield. Freshman running back Raekwon Wright (Baltimore, Md./Patterson) busted through a hole for 22 yards to set the Bison up at the Case 22-yardline, but a pair of rushes for loss and a fumble stalled the drive and kept the game scoreless.
Case grabbed the first points of the game with an eight-play 71-yard drive, capped off by a Rob Cuda quarterback keeper to take a 7-0 lead with 7:25 left in the first quarter.
Following a Bethany punt, the Spartans drove the ball to the Bison 26-yardline, before a Cuda pass was intercepted by freshman linebacker Colin Johnston (Belle Vernon, Pa./Belle Vernon) and returned all the way to the Case 11-yardline.
The Bison gave the ball back to the Spartans three plays into its drive. Kinemond was hit as he threw the ball on third down, going right into the arms of a Case defender to keep Bethany off of the board.
However, the Spartans gave the ball right back to the Bison. Cuda threw a ball that was deflected at the line of scrimmage and into the hands of Hayden, who raced down the sidelines for a 48-yard interception return for a touchdown to tie the game at 7-7 with under two minutes in the first quarter.
The Spartans responded with an 11 play, 87-yard drive that was capped off with a Jacob Burke two-yard touchdown run to take a 14-7 lead with 12:52 left to play in the first half.
The two teams traded possessions before the Spartans added another second quarter touchdown with five minutes in the first half to take a 20-7 lead into the half (point after try blocked).
Case came out of the locker rooms to start the second half and put the game away. Burke took the second play of the third quarter 51 yards for a score to increase the Spartan lead to 27-7 and another 11-play drive later in the quarter led to another touchdown to increase the lead to 34-7 with five minutes to play in the third quarter.
The Spartans added a field goal late in the third quarter to push the lead to 37-7, before the Bison offense connected for its first touchdown of the game. Kinemond hit a streaking Ambush down the sidelines for a 49-yard touchdown with 6:37 on the clock to make the score 37-14.
The Spartans held onto the ball for over 10 minutes in the fourth quarter and finished off the game to remain unbeaten on the season.
The Bison offense was limited to 147 yards of total offense and eight first downs on the afternoon. Case Western Reserve held a 13 minutes advantage in time of possession and ended the game with over 500 yards of offense, including 327 on the ground.
Burke finished the afternoon with 193 yards on 22 carries to lead Case, while Cuda finished 17-for-28 with 168 yards passing and 88 yards rushing with three touchdowns (two rushing, one passing).
Junior defensive end Khalid Pierce (Youngstown, Ohio/Ursuline) led the Bison defensive line with 1.5 sacks and eight tackles on the afternoon.
Prior to the game, the 2016 Bethany College Athletics Hall of Fame class was introduced, along with members of the 1966 PAC Champion Bethany Football team.
Bethany returns to the gridiron next Saturday, October 15 when its hops the Pennsylvania-West Virginia border and heads to Washington, Pennsylvania to take on PAC-rival Washington & Jefferson. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m.