/seasons/2011/contrib/20110915hjg9rp

Bethany vs. W&J Preview

More news about: Bethany

After getting an unscheduled week off last Saturday, the Bethany College football team will return to the field with a stiff test Saturday when Washington & Jefferson invades Bison Stadium for a 7 p.m. kickoff in the league opener for both squads.

The Bison opened the season with a 28-7 victory at Allegheny Sept. 3 and were slated to take on King's last Saturday in the home opener. However, due to flooding and a mandatory evacuation of Wilkes-Barre, Pa., which shut down their school, King's was unable to make the trip out and the game was postponed. The possibility remains that the teams will make up the game Nov. 19th if neither Bethany nor King's makes the postseason, but that is little consolation to ease the disappointment of having a final tune-up for conference play eliminated.

"Not getting to play last week was disappointing in a whole bunch of ways," said Bison head coach Tim Weaver. "Any time you miss a chance to play it's tough because you only get 10 a year and it's not like you can just reschedule it up on Tuesday. We also really felt like playing a second game and getting to put kids in game situations one more time would be very beneficial heading into conference play.

"And strictly from a football lifer standpoint, we are creatures of habit and our whole routine was smashed," said Weaver. "But I was very happy with and proud of our players for how they handled it. We went full pads for practice Friday, which we never do, and full pads on Sunday, which we never do. Our guys didn't get pouty, got their focus back quickly and we went back to work."

There were upsides to having the weekend off according to Weaver, including being as close to 100 percent healthy as a team can be a couple weeks into the season and getting in some extra work in studying this week's opponent.

"Obviously we were able to control our injury situation, so we will be healthy," said Weaver. "We also gave everyone off all day Saturday and anytime you can give the guys a chance to clear their head and act like college kids, it can be a good thing because you don't get to do that often during the grind of the season. And from a coaching standpoint, we had all day Friday to watch W&J on film and were able to steal a couple extra days prep-wise, so there were positives."

The extra preparation couldn't have come at a better time for Bethany than leading up to W&J. The longest running series in the PAC has been controlled by the Presidents lately, as they hold a 68-20 advantage all-time against the Bison and have claimed 28 straight decisions. Unfortunately for BC, many of the contests have been decided early, as W&J has scored an average of 40 points in the first half in the last three games.

That story was true in last year's game, as the Presidents bolted out to a 45-0 halftime lead and went on to a 59-21 triumph at home. Quarterback Matt Grimard (Lowell, Mass./Dracut) rushed for 129 yards and one TD and threw for 140 yards and another score, but also threw two interceptions and W&J gained 497 yards of total offense in the victory.

As Weaver and his staff have rebuilt the Bison, they have torn down many walls that impeded the progress of the program. The losing streak to W&J is one that remains standing and Weaver says his team is moving past the psychological impact the streak has had.

"That has been our challenge and we addressed it briefly on Sunday and moved the focus to ourselves and what we need to do," said Weaver. "One key for us is we have a more experienced roster and we know that none of the previous games have any impact on this one. I do hope that every kid who puts the pads on Saturday night wants to be on the team that ends the streak.

"When you look at last year, we beat Waynesburg and they took W&J to overtime, so there is no reason for W&J to be up on us 45-0 at halftime," said Weaver. "But now after Sunday, our focus is on the 2011 W&J team, their personnel and this team."

The 2011 W&J team brings a 1-1 record into Saturday's affair. After opening the year with a 40-0 victory at Juniata, the Presidents suffered a 20-19 defeat to #25 Delaware Valley Saturday. Making his second career start, junior QB Matt Bliss threw for 260 yards and a pair of touchdowns, with his top target being Adam Dominick, who hauled in seven aerials for 105 yards. However, the W&J offense was hurt by three turnovers, six sacks and a 0-for-12 conversion rate on third downs. The team also suffered a missed extra point and a pair of missed field goals from 31 and 21 yards.

The Presidents' miscues Saturday were a combination of Delaware Valley's efforts and unforced errors, but Weaver doesn't expect the same fortunes this week unless Bethany can create big plays.

"Saturday was a great learning lesson that no team is good enough to overcome turnovers and missed extra points, things you take for granted," said Weaver. "(W&J's) last interception was the only real unforced error though, so Del Valley had a lot to say about what happened with the other ones. Del Valley did a great job pressuring Bliss and it's tough for any young quarterback if they can't get comfortable in the pocket. But W&J has a great coaching staff and they know how to bounce back."

The Presidents' defense has been strong the first two weeks. They held Juniata to a paltry 68 yards of total offense in week one and although Del Valley totaled 375 yards last Saturday, W&J did have six sacks and forced a trio of turnovers. Through the first two weeks, the Presidents have allowed teams to convert just 17 percent (5-29) of third down chances.

Linebacker Neil Sorice is a key man for the Bison to contend with Saturday. He was named PAC Defensive Player of the Week after amassing 17 tackles, the most by a President since 2003, one sack and one forced fumble. His 25 stops for the year are the most in the league and far ahead of W&J cornerback Nathan Melhorn (15) and safety Matthew Gal (13) for the team lead. Weaver says moving the ball against a good fundamental unit like the Presidents will be a challenge.

"Schematically, they are not the same but they are similar to Allegheny in they are well-coached and they don't beat themselves often, so you must execute," said Weaver. "They tackle very well, understand their coverage schemes and have a strong, aggressive front group. They don't need to rely on blitzes to generate pressure, but when they bring people, it is very effective. And watching them last week, Sorice had one of the best games by a PAC linebacker I've seen since we've been here."

If the Bison are going to start out 2-0 and win an opening game in PAC play for the first time since 2001, Weaver says the game obviously can't follow a similar script as previous W&J match-ups and the team must execute both offensively and defensively on the most important down.

"Very simply, if we want to win Saturday, it has to be a game at the end of the first quarter, which we haven't been able to say the last few games with them," said Weaver. "We also have to find ways to make enough plays on third down on defense to get them off the field and in the passing game on offense to maintain possession."
Oct. 14: All times Eastern
Final
Salve Regina 45, at Nichols 10
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Mount Ida 14, at Dean 7
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at Thomas More 59, Waynesburg 7
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Final
at Maine Maritime 34, Coast Guard 16
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at Finlandia 27, Trinity Bible 21
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Hamilton 28, at Bowdoin 7
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at Delaware Valley 49, King's 14
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Final
at Olivet 47, Albion 26
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at Wesleyan 41, Bates 23
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Union 27, at Rochester 0
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Amherst 40, at Colby 7
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at Western New England 41, Endicott 14
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at Brockport 48, Morrisville State 7
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Final - OT
at Plymouth State 16, Framingham State 13
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at RPI 27, Ithaca 14
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Hobart 49, at Hartwick 27
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at Ferrum 34, LaGrange 20
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at Carnegie Mellon 42, Geneva 27
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Ohio Wesleyan 16, at Wabash 13
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DePauw 26, at Denison 17
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at Trine 42, Kalamazoo 7
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at Washington and Lee 47, Guilford 26
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at Husson 49, Castleton 0
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Gallaudet 35, at Alfred State 19
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at Wittenberg 49, Allegheny 15
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Brevard 41, at Methodist 17
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at Lebanon Valley 31, Stevenson 24
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Buffalo State 24, at St. Lawrence 21
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Final - OT
at Cortland 20, Alfred 17
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at Randolph-Macon 52, Emory and Henry 29
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at Wesley 29, Kean 9
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at Hampden-Sydney 58, Apprentice 28
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Frostburg State 59, at William Paterson 7
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at N.C. Wesleyan 45, Greensboro 0
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at Westminster (Pa.) 49, Grove City 27
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Washington and Jefferson 49, at Bethany 14
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at Westminster (Mo.) 56, Crown 15
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at Northwestern (Minn.) 29, Iowa Wesleyan 7
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at Knox 56, Grinnell 14
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at Widener 31, Lycoming 17
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Trinity (Conn.) 23, at Tufts 16
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at Mount St. Joseph 66, Earlham 7
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Ohio Northern 27, at John Carroll 20
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Baldwin Wallace 23, at Muskingum 20
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at Mount Union 72, Capital 14
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Rose-Hulman 44, at Manchester 13
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at Hanover 31, Bluffton 28
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Defiance 45, at Anderson 0
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at Wartburg 42, Loras 11
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Hiram 62, at Kenyon 56
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Springfield 35, at Merchant Marine 13
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Williams 27, at Middlebury 26
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at Westfield State 33, Fitchburg State 21
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Marietta 43, at Wilmington 33
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at Berry 34, Hendrix 10
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Curry 40, at Becker 0
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TCNJ 20, at Rowan 14
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at SUNY-Maritime 51, Anna Maria 15
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Salisbury 28, at Montclair State 10
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at Huntingdon 28, Maryville (Tenn.) 16
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at Austin 33, Millsaps 19
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at Mary Hardin-Baylor 65, Howard Payne 0
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at Washington U. 55, Buena Vista 20
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Alma 27, at Aurora 19
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at Rockford 29, Concordia-Chicago 14
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Wisconsin Lutheran 22, at Concordia (Wis.) 19
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at Lakeland 57, Benedictine 21
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at St. Norbert 10, Chicago 0
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Final
Concordia-Moorhead 45, at Hamline 0
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St. Olaf 22, at Augsburg 20
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Final
Bethel 24, at Gustavus Adolphus 3
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St. John's 35, at Carleton 0
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at Eureka 30, Greenville 19
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Final
Centre 27, at Trinity (Texas) 21
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Final
Dubuque 42, at Nebraska Wesleyan 27
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Central 30, at Coe 19
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Lake Forest 56, at Cornell 28
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at Carthage 31, Elmhurst 8
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at Illinois Wesleyan 30, Carroll 0
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Millikin 28, at Augustana 27
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Final
Ripon 52, at Beloit 28
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Final
MacMurray 49, at Minnesota-Morris 13
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Macalester 21, at Lawrence 18
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at Monmouth 59, Illinois College 14
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at UW-Stevens Point 26, UW-Eau Claire 3
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Final
Case Western Reserve 63, at Thiel 28
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Final
at Wooster 38, Oberlin 28
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Texas Lutheran 41, at East Texas Baptist 34
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at UW-Stout 21, UW-River Falls 16
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Final
UW-Oshkosh 28, at UW-Platteville 14
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Final
Sewanee 34, at Birmingham-Southern 13
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Final
at Hope 22, Adrian 3
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Final
Linfield 49, at Lewis and Clark 14
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Cancelled
La Verne at Occidental
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Final
Whitworth 17, at Pacific Lutheran 14
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Final
at Cal Lutheran 42, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 20
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at George Fox 58, Willamette 12
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Final
at Pacific 35, Puget Sound 27
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Final
Pomona-Pitzer 45, at Whittier 23
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Final
at Western Connecticut 28, Massachusetts Maritime 21
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Final
at St. Scholastica 56, Martin Luther 21
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Final - 5OT
at St. John Fisher 39, Utica 36
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Final - OT
at Heidelberg 48, Otterbein 45
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Final
at Shenandoah 38, Bridgewater 20
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Final
Southwestern 60, at Belhaven 31
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Hardin-Simmons 35, at Sul Ross State 10
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at Louisiana College 52, McMurry 34
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at Simpson 38, Luther 17
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at Chapman 45, Redlands 26
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Oct. 16: All times Eastern
Final
at Wheaton (Ill.) 42, North Central (Ill.) 20
Box Score Recap
Oct. 20: All times Eastern
7:00 PM
Gettysburg at Johns Hopkins
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Oct. 14: All times Eastern
Final
at Delaware Valley 49, King's 14
Video Box Score Recap Recap
Final - OT
at Cortland 20, Alfred 17
Box Score Recap Live stats
Final
at Wesley 29, Kean 9
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Frostburg State 59, at William Paterson 7
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Final
at Wittenberg 49, Allegheny 15
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Final
at Brockport 48, Morrisville State 7
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Final
Washington and Jefferson 49, at Bethany 14
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Final
Ohio Wesleyan 16, at Wabash 13
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Final
at Mount Union 72, Capital 14
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Final
at Wartburg 42, Loras 11
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Final
at Berry 34, Hendrix 10
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Springfield 35, at Merchant Marine 13
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Final
at Mary Hardin-Baylor 65, Howard Payne 0
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Final
St. John's 35, at Carleton 0
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Final
at Illinois Wesleyan 30, Carroll 0
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Final
Concordia-Moorhead 45, at Hamline 0
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Final
Case Western Reserve 63, at Thiel 28
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Final
UW-Oshkosh 28, at UW-Platteville 14
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Final
Linfield 49, at Lewis and Clark 14
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Final
at George Fox 58, Willamette 12
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Final
Hardin-Simmons 35, at Sul Ross State 10
Box Score
Oct. 16: All times Eastern
Final
at Wheaton (Ill.) 42, North Central (Ill.) 20
Box Score Recap
Oct. 20: All times Eastern
7:00 PM
Gettysburg at Johns Hopkins
Video Video Live stats Live stats