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Week 10 Game Notes: Bison Football Looks To Finish Regular Season Strong Against St. Vincent

Nov. 12 - BETHANY, W. Va. - The Bethany College football team (6-3, 5-2) will look to capture their seventh victory of the season when the Bison host St. Vincent College for senior day on Nov. 15. Full game notes can be seen below.

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The Bison: Bethany enters the contest with Saint Vincent after getting back on the winning track and securing a winning season against Grove City College on November 1.

Bethany took care of business in their previous contest, defeating the Wolverines by a 34-9 score, despite trailing 7-3 at the halftime break.

The Green & White defense fueled a 31-point outburst in the second half of the game with the Wolverines, marking Bethany’s highest scoring half this season. The Bison forced four, second-half turnovers, allowing Grove City to gain just 90 yards of total offense in the closing half.

The Bison grabbed the lead on their first drive of the second half as Brandon Hill found the end zone from one-yard out, capping a six-play 70 yard drive to take a 10-7 lead.

Following the touchdown, Grove City had a chance to re-take the contest, using an 11-play drive to get down inside the Bethany one-yard line. However, on a fourth-and-one, Greg Roberson stopped the Wolverine running back for no gain, keeping Grove City off the board. The Wolverines would end up notching a safety for their only points of the second-half, cutting the lead to 10-9.

Bethany would get two touchdowns in their next two possessions, which included a nine-yard reception by Hill, and a 36-yard catch from Eric Blinn, to make the score 24-9.

Over the final quarter and a half, the Bethany defense would force four turnovers, leading to 10 more Bethany points, including a 10-yard interception return by Martin McCoy, which rounded out the scoring at 34-9.

Offensively, the Bison were led by Hill and Blinn. Hill posted his third, multi-touchdown game of the season, catching one TD pass and running in for another. Blinn also performed well, catching 10 passes for 155 yards and a touchdown.

Even without starting defensive ends Nadim Raddar and Khallid Pierce, the Bethany defense posted 11 tackles for loss, five sacks and four turnovers. Junior Donavan Hayden recorded a team-best 13 tackles, while freshman MacHale Harville (3.5 TFL) and senior Greg Roberson (3.0 TFL) posted career highs in tackles for loss. 

Saint Vincent:
The Bearcats are coming into the contest with the most wins the program has seen since the 2011 seasons, despite dropping a 34-30 decision to Geneva College in their previous contest. Saint Vincent scored just one offensive touchdown on the contest, but notched one defensive and one special teams score over the course of the game. The Bearcat “D” held Geneva to just 209 total yards, but Saint Vincent fell prey to four offensive turnovers in the loss.

The Series: This year’s meeting between the Bison and Saint Vincent will mark just the eighth all-time meeting between the two schools. The Bison hold the advantage in the series, 6-1, including a 56-35 win in Latrobe last season.

When Last They Met: Coming off a three-game slide, the Bison entered the contest with St. Vincent looking to collect their fourth win of the season in 2013. Bethany showed up by notching the most points they had scored since the 2007 campaign, scoring 56 points on the Bearcats. Eric Blinn walked away with a single-game Bison record, recording four touchdown catches in the win. Chris Collins caught two, as senior quarterback Matt Grimard threw a career-high six in the win.

The Coaches: Bethany’s Bill Garvey and Saint Vincent’s Jon Dolciato meet for the first time when the two teams get together on Saturday afternoon.

Garvey, who is in his second season as the head coach of the Bison, has currently posted an 10-9 record through his first 19 games at the helm of Bethany football program. The last coach to win at least 10 games through their first two seasons was H.M. Buland who totaled a 12-8 mark through two years at the helm.

Dolciato, who is in his first season with the St. Vincent Bearcat program, became the eighth head coach in Saint Vincent history earlier this season. Dolciato came to Saint Vincent from John Carroll University and has the Bearcats to the most wins the program has seen since the 2011 season when the team posted six victories.

Defensive Dominance: In the victory over Grove City two weeks ago, the Bison defense showed once again why it is one of the best in the conference. The Green & White allowed just 224 yards of total offense to the Wolverines, marking the fifth time this season that the Bison have held their opponent under 250 yards.

In the win, the Bison also forced a season-best four turnovers, while registering 11.0 tackles for loss and 5.0 sacks. Despite missing two of their starting defensive ends in Nadim Raddar and Khallid Pierce, the Bison still registered at least 10 tackles for loss for the sixth time this season. The team has never registered fewer than 7.0 tackles for loss in a contest, and had as many as 17.0 in a game with Geneva three weeks ago.

So far on the season, Bethany has totaled 100.0 tackles for loss, ranking them first in the all of Division-III in TFL. Their 11.1 tackles for loss per game currently ranks third.

Individually, six different Bison rank in the top 20 in the Presidents’ Athletic Conference in tackles for loss. Not only does junior Nadim Raddar ranks first in the PAC in total tackles for loss (18.0) while junior Donavan Hayden is second in the conference in TFL (16.5). Pierce ranks fourth (13.0) and junior Larry Kpadehyea (12.0) is tied for seventh. Junior Eric Campbell (9.0) and sophomore Matt Conover (8.5) are also both in the top 20, ranking 16th and 20th, respectively.

This week, the Bison, who rank third in the conference in total defense (325.9/game) goes up against a  Saint Vincent offense that ranks ninth in the PAC in yards per game (290.3).

Blinnsanity: Junior Eric Blinn continues to lead the Presidents’ Athletic Conference in all major reception categories. Last week, the junior wideout posted 10 catches for 155 yards and a touchdown. His totals gave him 92 total catches for 967 yards and nine scores, all of which lead the PAC.

Blinn now sits just four catches away from breaking his own single-season receptions record of 95 which he set just one year ago. He also now sits at 23 career touchdown receptions, placing him just two TDs away from tying the career mark of 25 set by Matt Cruse between 2006-2009.

Getting a leg up: A huge boost in the field position game, senior punter Stephen Amic has been the most consistent special teamer in the conference this season. Amic currently ranks first in the conference in punting average (40.8) and punts placed inside the opponents’ 20-yard line (19).  This week Amic and the special teams will take on a Bearcat squad which ranks first in the PAC in return touchdowns. St. Vincent has posted four special teams touchdowns this season, led by senior Darius Brown’s two punt return touchdowns, the Bearcats have posted three punt return TDs, which is one more than all the other teams in the conference, combined.

With a victory on Saturday, the Bison will post seven wins in one season for the first time since the 1981 campaign.