September 28, 2011

Bethany at Waynesburg Preview

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The Bethany football team will try to win its third road game in as many tries this season Saturday when the Bison travel down to Waynesburg for a 1:30 p.m. kickoff against the Yellow Jackets.

Last Saturday saw an impressive performance from Bethany (2-1, 1-1) in a 48-27 triumph at Geneva, the first BC win over the Golden Tornadoes since 1973. The Green and White rolled up 445 yards of total offense, led by sophomore quarterback Matt Grimard, who threw for a career-high 274 yards and rushed for another 49 as he earned PAC Offensive Player of the Week honors.

Special Teams Player of the Week accolades went to senior WR Alex Evans, who was Grimard's top target with five catches for 108 yards and one TD and added a 65-yard punt return for a score as well. Add in a defense that forced one key fumble and had three sacks and Bison head coach Tim Weaver said it was a solid all-around victory.

"The win over Geneva was good because it was our second win over a quality program that we really respect, which says a lot about where we've come from," said Weaver. "It wasn't error-free, but it was a good team win in which we made a lot of big plays in all phases of the game. The defense gave us a short field with Kasib's (Taalib-Din) sack fumble to set up our second touchdown and had a three-and-out to force the punt that Alex returned for the score. The two times we had to punt were both put inside their 20.

"Our offense obviously really clicked, going on long drive, but also hitting on some big plays," said Weaver. "There were plenty of mistakes though and we'll have a chance to work on those in practice this week, but overall, it was a good team win."

The three sacks by the Bison last week gives them 10 for the season, second-most in the PAC. Taalib-Din leads the way with four sacks and the BC defensive line boasts nine of the 10 sacks. Weaver said the Bison are leaning on the guys up front to generate their pressure and they will have a tall order in front of them Saturday, as Waynesburg has allowed just two sacks in 81 pass attempts, the fewest in the conference.

"We've had a really good mix of three- and four-man rushes," said Weaver. "Kasib's sack fumble Saturday came on a three-man rush. We now have players who can make plays and guys who can win one-on-one battles. And when we've needed it, Ryan (Lieb, BC defensive coordinator) has done a good job picking spots to blitz, like getting a key third down sack against W&J with Demetrius (Wellington, freshman DB).

"We also have Blake (DeBord), Zach (Burton) and Michael (Roberts) with sacks from the tackle position, so when you start getting production from inside guys and the ends like Kasib and Prince (Aguzie), you have a chance to be a really good defense," said Weaver.

The Bison's downfall the previous week in a 31-14 loss to W&J was penalties (10) and turnovers (four). The offensive line had the majority of the penalties, but their play improved significantly and a change in philosophy by Weaver also shows how far the program has come.

"The best thing of the whole night against Geneva was that our emphasis to the players was to eliminate the kind of mistakes we had against W&J," said Weaver. "And we went from seven deadball fouls to zero and four turnovers to one, with at least half of that falling on the coaching staff. In the past when we've met on Sundays, I've made guys run for penalties and turnovers, but after W&J, I decided to stop that. We discussed the importance of eliminating those kinds of errors and I decided that our program is mature enough now to cut out mistakes due to fear of losing instead of fear of running.

"I think we got that message last week and the credit goes to the leadership on the team," said Weaver. "And our offensive line was a key part of that, cutting out the mistakes from the previous week and playing a very strong game."

Waynesburg will present a serious challenge to the Bison this week, sporting a 2-0 record in the PAC. Last week, the Yellow Jackets (2-1) overcame a litany of mistakes which included 14 penalties and two turnovers to defeat Grove City 32-26. The running game, which is second (183.0) in the PAC behind only Bethany (199.3), pounded out 199 yards, including 112 from Bertrand Ngampa. Senior Josh Graham is in his first season as a starter under center and although he only threw for 160 yards last week, he did fire a 37-yard scoring pass to Jeff Young for the go-ahead touchdown with 8:49 to play.

Ngampa leads the Jackets' ground game with 273 yards and a 5.4 yards per carry average, while Justin Falcon has gained 108 yards in two games. Graham has struggled with accuracy, completing just 48 percent of his passes, but has thrown for 401 yards and four TDs. He also has three solid targets in reliable tight end Adam Moses (nine catches, 114 yards, 1 TD), the 6-4 wideout Young (9 catches, 110 yards, 1 TD) and the speedster Christian Jackson (nine catches, 88 yards, one touchdown).

According to Weaver, the Yellow Jackets' shift to a run-first attack is also opening up opportunities for their passing game.

"They probably have the best group of backs we've seen this year and probably dating back to Thomas More last year," said Weaver. "Ngampa, Falcon and (Jamelle) Bowers are all solid and they are physical up front. They are like any other team who goes through replacing a long-time starter at quarterback. They struggled in the opener at Christopher Newport (a 12-7 loss), looked at the film, made some adjustments and are averaging nearly 40 points in the last two games.

"What their run game also does is it brings more people into the box and causes one-on-one match-ups on the outside for wideouts who are all problems for us," said Weaver. "Jackson is very fast, their other guys are tall and can go get it and they have a good tight end you have to pay attention to."

The Waynesburg defense has been very good in all three games, They come into the Bethany game ranked first in pass defense (100.3) and total defense (239.0) and second in scoring defense (15.0). Defensive backs Ryan Williams (28 tackles) and Bryan Gary (21) are the top tacklers and defensive lineman Daryl Moore Jr. is a force inside with 20 stops. Dealing with a stingy Yellow Jacket defense is nothing new for Weaver and the Bison.

"A good defense has been their calling card and it's no different now," said Weaver. "They don't give you points or yards or anything. They are aggressive and physical, bring pressure, have an athletic secondary that doesn't let you get behind them. And Moore is as good a defensive tackle as there is. They can be relentless."

Bethany has won the last two meetings between the schools at Bison Stadium, but trips to Waynesburg have not been kind to BC recently. The last time the Green and White emerged from Wiley Stadium with a victory was in 1996 and in Weaver's two games on the BC sideline at the Yellow Jackets' home have resulted in 41-15 and 52-13 losses. If Bethany wants to break that string, following the same recipe that has resulted in two victories so far this year will be key.

"We've also had issues playing at their stadium, which has been a house of horrors for us recently," said Weaver. "We've played well on the road so far this year, so we need to keep that up. First thing we have to do is stop the run, which is easier said than done because no one has done it yet. We have to continue to find a balance offensively and not have a breakdown on special teams because every point will count in a game like this."

Sep. 24: All times Eastern
Final
Christopher Newport 17, at TCNJ 0
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at Hobart 27, Union 23
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at Thomas More 20, Carnegie Mellon 16
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at Massachusetts Maritime 32, Worcester State 14
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at Endicott 37, Nichols 0
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MIT 30, at Maine Maritime 13
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at Buffalo State 40, Morrisville State 24
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at Salve Regina 48, Coast Guard 10
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St. Lawrence 20, at RPI 14
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at Framingham State 23, Western Connecticut 17
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at Montclair State 21, Rowan 14
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at Stevenson 54, FDU-Florham 15
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at Trinity (Conn.) 38, Bates 7
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at Western New England 59, Curry 28
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at Utica 24, Cortland 13
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Colby 9, at Williams 7
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at Middlebury 40, Bowdoin 3
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at Amherst 34, Hamilton 0
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Kean 24, at William Paterson 13
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at DePauw 66, Hiram 17
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Franklin and Marshall 45, at Juniata 22
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at Kenyon 31, Allegheny 7
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Salisbury 35, at Southern Virginia 0
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Albright 20, at Delaware Valley 17
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Lycoming 28, at Misericordia 24
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at Plymouth State 30, Mass-Dartmouth 14
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at Husson 35, Alfred State 0
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at Springfield 28, WPI 23
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at Moravian 24, Dickinson 10
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at Denison 45, Wooster 7
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at Wittenberg 24, Wabash 14
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at St. Vincent 57, Grove City 32
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at Susquehanna 55, Gettysburg 40
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at King's 21, Lebanon Valley 17
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at Alfred 20, Ithaca 6
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at Widener 25, Wilkes 23
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at McDaniel 30, Ursinus 27
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at Muskingum 28, Marietta 10
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at Minnesota-Morris 28, Iowa Wesleyan 27
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at John Carroll 42, Heidelberg 14
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Ohio Northern 16, at Otterbein 10
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Case Western Reserve 35, at Waynesburg 7
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at Franklin 44, Bluffton 38
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Rose-Hulman 23, at Defiance 15
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at Centre 49, Chicago 27
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at Mount St. Joseph 38, Manchester 19
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Hanover 49, at Anderson 25
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at Merchant Marine 55, Rochester 7
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Johns Hopkins 30, at Muhlenberg 24
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Concordia-Chicago 42, at Maranatha Baptist 10
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Washington U. 36, at Birmingham-Southern 21
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UW-Platteville 56, at Lakeland 0
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at Northwestern (Minn.) 38, Martin Luther 20
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at Eureka 28, MacMurray 13
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at Westminster (Mo.) 35, Greenville 14
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Dubuque 30, at Luther 17
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Monmouth 52, at Lake Forest 6
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St. Thomas 33, at St. John's 21
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at Augsburg 49, Carleton 17
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Bethel 44, at St. Olaf 7
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at Hamline 42, Gustavus Adolphus 40
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at UW-Whitewater 35, Morningside 21
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at Hardin-Simmons 48, Texas Lutheran 38
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at UW-River Falls 42, Southwestern 22
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Simpson 17, at Buena Vista 9
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at St. Scholastica 49, Crown 13
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Cornell 46, at Beloit 41
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at Carthage 27, Augustana 24
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Coe 48, at Nebraska Wesleyan 17
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at Wartburg 56, Finlandia 0
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at Wheaton (Ill.) 10, Elmhurst 6
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Hendrix 42, at Millsaps 14
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Illinois Wesleyan 45, at North Park 10
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at Macalester 34, Grinnell 0
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at Ripon 33, Knox 19
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Illinois College 40, at Lawrence 15
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UW-Oshkosh 77, at Morthland College (Ill.) 0
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Central 42, at Loras 34
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at Geneva 35, Thiel 27
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UW-Eau Claire 40, at Wisconsin Lutheran 14
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St. John Fisher 42, at Brockport 38
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UW-Stevens Point 44, at Adrian 19
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UW-La Crosse 41, at Carroll 7
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at Berry 41, Sewanee 3
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Westminster (Pa.) 38, at Bethany 9
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Ohio Wesleyan 29, at Oberlin 16
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at Tufts 17, Wesleyan 14
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Mount Union 49, at Baldwin Wallace 7
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at Capital 35, Wilmington 21
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at Southwestern Assemblies 23, Austin 17
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Cancelled
Langston at McMurry
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at North Central (Ill.) 42, Millikin 7
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at Chapman 19, Trinity (Texas) 17
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Sep. 29: All times Eastern
6:30 PM
Randolph-Macon at Shenandoah
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Sep. 30: All times Eastern
6:30 PM
Emory and Henry at Washington and Lee
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Sep. 24: All times Eastern
Final
at Thomas More 20, Carnegie Mellon 16
Box Score Recap
Final
at Hobart 27, Union 23
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Final
Christopher Newport 17, at TCNJ 0
Final
at Wittenberg 24, Wabash 14
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Final
Salisbury 35, at Southern Virginia 0
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Final
Albright 20, at Delaware Valley 17
Box Score Recap
Final
at Utica 24, Cortland 13
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Final
at Stevenson 54, FDU-Florham 15
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Final
at Franklin 44, Bluffton 38
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Final
Johns Hopkins 30, at Muhlenberg 24
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Final
St. Thomas 33, at St. John's 21
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at UW-Whitewater 35, Morningside 21
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Final
at Hardin-Simmons 48, Texas Lutheran 38
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Final
at Wheaton (Ill.) 10, Elmhurst 6
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UW-Platteville 56, at Lakeland 0
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Final
UW-Oshkosh 77, at Morthland College (Ill.) 0
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Final
Central 42, at Loras 34
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Final
St. John Fisher 42, at Brockport 38
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Final
Mount Union 49, at Baldwin Wallace 7
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Final
at North Central (Ill.) 42, Millikin 7
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