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Week 7 Game Notes: Bison Football Set for PAC Bout with #16 W&J

Oct. 14 – BETHANY, W. Va. – The Bethany College football team will look to turn things around as they travel to Washington, Pa. on Saturday to take on the No. 16 Presidents of Washington & Jefferson College. The Green & White will aim to snap a two-game slide as they face W&J under the lights at 7 p.m. Full game notes can be viewed below.

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The Bison: Bethany enters the game with Washington & Jefferson after suffering back-to-back defeats to Case Western Reserve University and Carnegie Mellon. Last week against the Tartans, the Bison offense shined, posting 532 total yards. Unfortunately, the CMU offense also proved to be explosive, as the Green & White fell 56-35.

The first quarter of the matchup between the Bison and CMU saw a combined total of 403 yards and 42 points as Bethany found themselves down 21-14 after one. The Bison would never recover, getting no closer than the seven-point differential in the contest.

Combined, 180 total plays were run in the matchup with 1,065 yards gained on the day.  The Bison were led by career days from both junior Tyler Ambush and senior QB Lincon Reyes. Running back Jalen Holmes and senior Eric Blinn each also had an impact on the offensive output.

For Reyes, the senior QB tallied a career-high four touchdown passes with also throwing for a career-best 368 passing yards. He completed 24 passes on the day, become the first QB since Matt Grimard in 2013 to throw at least four scores (Grimard posted six against Saint Vincent on Nov. 16).

Reyes top target in the game was Ambush, who caught eight passes for a career-high 203 yards. He also scored a pair of touchdowns in the game. His yardage total marked his third 100+ yard performance and his first with over 200. It was also the first 200-yard day by any Bison receiver since Blinn in 2013 (also against Saint Vincent).

Blinn had another stock performance as he totaled 13 catches for 100 yards and a touchdown. It marked the 20th time in his career that the senior wideout had gone for 100+ yards in a contest.

Holmes totaled 144 yards rushing on the day, toting the ball a career-high 30 times while scoring a touchdown. It marked the third time the junior tailback has rushed for 100 yards this season, pulling him within ten yards of his career-high rushing total (613).

Defensively, the Green & White were led by junior Donavan Hayden who tallied 10 tackles in the contest. Nadim Raddar tallied seven in the game, while freshman Daulton Freeman posted his first career interception.

The Presidents: Washington & Jefferson enters the game with the Bison with a 4-1 record, having defeated Grove City College, 55-7, in their previous game. The Presidents jumped all over the Wolverines early, posting 42 points in the opening half.

Quarterback Pete Coughlin performed well for W&J, completing 20-of-22 passes for 257 yards and a pair of scores. Back up QB Alex Rowse also threw two touchdown passes, completing 9-of-10 throws for 122 yards in the game.

The W&J defense dominated Grove City in the contest, holding the Wolverines to just 139 total yards of offense, including -11 rushing yards on the day. The Presidents totaled 10 tackles for loss and five sacks in the contest. The win moved Washington & Jefferson to 4-1 on the year, including a 2-0 record at home.

The series: The Bison and Presidents will take the field against one another for the 92nd time on Saturday. Washington & Jefferson currently holds a 70-21 record against the Green & White, with the two schools splitting their last two meetings, both of which were held at Bison Stadium.

The Last Time They Met: In the two teams’ previous meeting, Washington & Jefferson ended the Bison’s five-game winning streak as W&J took a 34-3 victory. In the game, The Presidents, who were ranked 20th in the Nation at the time, outgained Bethany by a total of 452-232, holding the Bison to 90 total rushing yards in the contest.

The Coaches: Bethany’s Bill Garvey and Washington & Jefferson’s Mike Sirianni meet for the third time in Garvey’s three-year tenure as the Bison’s head coach. The two have split their last two meetings, with Garvey taking a 24-19 win in 2013, and Sirianni earning a 34-3 victory in 2014.

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.

Sirianni is in his 13th season at the helm of the Presidents and is the three-time reigning PAC Coach of the Year, having led W&J to back-to-back conference championships. This season, Siranni has led Washington & Jefferson to a 4-1 record and currently has the Presidents ranked 16th in the country according to D3football.com. He currently boasts one of the Nation’s top winning percentages (.810) and has tallied a career-mark of 115-27 in his 13th season at the helm.

Scouting the Bison: Bethany enters the contest with Washington & Jefferson having dropped their last two contests. They currently have the same record at home as they do away from Bison Stadium (1-2). Through six games this season, the Bison currently sit tied for eighth in the conference standings.

As a team, the Green & White currently rank seventh in the PAC in scoring offense (26.2), while sitting tenth in the conference in scoring defense (38.3). Their 383.5 yards per game sits sixth in the PAC, while they currently rank seventh in total defense (397.5).

On the offensive side, the Bison are averaging 144.7 yards per game on the ground, led by Holmes’ 102.2. The junior back currently sits fourth in total rushing yards (613) and has scored six times this season in the running game.

Through the air, the Bison are led by senior Lincon Reyes who is currently third in the PAC in passing yards per game (235.8). Reyes has thrown 11 touchdowns this season, including a career-high four against Carnegie Mellon last week. 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 101.3 yards per contest, while Ambush has totaled 95.8 yards per game.

Defensively, the Bison have been led by Donavan Hayden, who ranks first in the conference in tackles per game (10.7). Davon McClain also ranks among the PAC’s best, sitting tied for first in total sacks (5.5).

Scouting the Presidents: W&J enters the game ranked 16th in the Nation by D3football.com. The Presidents have split their last two games, but are 2-0 at home, outscoring their opponents 90-38 in two games at Cameron Stadium.

Washington & Jefferson ranks third in the conference in both scoring offense (40.8) and scoring defense (20.0). The Presidents are averaging 486.4 yards per game on the offensive side (third in the PAC), while allowing 313.6 yards per game.

W&J uses a solid arial attack in their offensive scheme as the Presidents rank first in the PAC in passing offense (307.8). Pete Coughlin leads the way, ranking first in the PAC (273.0 yards per game), having completed nearly 67 percent of his passes. His top target has been Jesse Zubik, who ranks fourth in the conference in receiving yards per game (89.0).

On the defensive side of the ball, W&J ranks first against the pass, allowing just 135.2 yards per contest through the air. However, their rush defense currently sits seventh in the PAC (178.4).