Oct. 7 – BETHANY, W.Va. – The Bethany College football team (1-4, 0-3 PAC) will entertain Case Western Reserve (4-0, 3-0 PAC) in a Presidents’ Athletic Conference (PAC) matchup in its annual Homecoming game on Saturday. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m.
The Bison are 6-4 since 2006 in Homecoming games at Bison Stadium, including wins in three of the last four contests.
“I’ve been here 11 years and every single Homecoming is packed with people,” fourth-year Head Coach Bill Garvey said. “It’s a special day. I think our players know it. There’s an extra little buzz in the air for our guys and certainly on game day the atmosphere is different.”
Bethany is coming off of a 49-26 loss this past Saturday at Carnegie Mellon. After completing only 12-of-31 attempts against Westminster in week four, junior quarterback Chase Kinemond (Shadyside, Ohio/Shadyside) turned in an efficient game against the Tartans, completing 23-of-27 passing for 224 yards, four touchdowns and one interception. He currently leads the PAC in pass completions with 22.4 per game and ranks fifth with 203 passing yards per game.
“We are trying to get him going early,” Garvey said of Kinemond. “Certainly with any young quarterback you want to get him into the tempo of the game early. I think we did a better job last Saturday getting him those early completions and getting him confidence. We have to continue to do that. We are still figuring out what he does well and what he doesn’t do well, so it’s a work in progress every week.”
Senior wide receiver Tyler Ambush (Germantown, Md./Northwest) was Kinemond's favorite target, finishing with a game-high 10 catches for 111 yards and one touchdown. Ambush leads the league and ranks 6th in NCAA Division III with 42 receptions and stands sixth in the PAC (61st nationally) with 395 receiving yards. The Maryland native has already surpassed his 37 total receptions from a year ago.
"He comes to work every day,” Garvey said of Ambush. “He’s one of the hardest workers we’ve got. The difference now is that he is the guy. He had to play behind Eric Blinn for three years and be the second guy. He was still successful, but now it’s his time. We have to keep finding ways to get him the ball. We knew he had this ability. It’s not a surprise to our staff.”
Case Western Reserve features the top offense (526.0 yards per game) and the top defense (272.2 yards allowed per game) in the PAC this season and is receiving votes in both the D3Football.com and American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Top 25 polls. The Spartans and the Bison enter the matchup with the top-two turnover margins in the PAC this season.
“It’s always ball security,” Garvey said on the key to the game. “When we have an opportunity to take the ball away we have to do it and then we need to protect the ball at all costs. Like any other game, that’s where it will start. We tell the players all the time that the ball is the game and it’s the most important thing we do. ”
Bethany holds a 12-3 edge in the all-time series, with Garvey and Spartan Head Coach Greg Debeljak each holding a 1-1 record against one another. The Bison dropped a 59-20 decision to the Spartans last season.
“We have to be ready to play; be consistent and give ourselves a chance,” he added. “In evaluating the past four losses we are not doing that. We are not consistently giving ourselves a chance to succeed.”
In addition to Homecoming festivities, the College will honor its 1966 undefeated PAC Champion football team, the 2016 Hall of Fame inductees and Bethany football stars Ernie Whitted and Tom Abraham prior to kickoff at 2 p.m.
Fans can also follow along with live stats and a live stream of the game on the Bethany Broadcasting Network.