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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. 23: All times Eastern
Final
at Framingham State 50, Massachusetts Maritime 7
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Muhlenberg 56, at Juniata 40
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at Dean 25, Becker 10
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Salisbury 27, at TCNJ 7
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MIT 38, at Catholic 21
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Merchant Marine 56, at Maine Maritime 31
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at Hobart 34, Endicott 17
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at Morrisville State 44, Nichols 22
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at Delaware Valley 27, Stevenson 7
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at Albright 9, Widener 7
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Christopher Newport 16, at Montclair State 8
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at Westminster (Pa.) 41, Bethany 14
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Middlebury 41, at Bowdoin 14
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Williams 24, at Colby 7
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Amherst 36, at Hamilton 6
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Ursinus 35, at Moravian 17
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Trinity (Conn.) 51, at Bates 0
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at LaGrange 38, Brevard 28
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Geneva 33, at Thiel 24
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at Plymouth State 37, Mass-Dartmouth 7
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Kean 28, at Southern Virginia 14
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Frostburg State 24, at Rowan 10
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Union 17, at Curry 14
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at Carnegie Mellon 37, Thomas More 17
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Lycoming 44, at King's 41
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at Western New England 21, Husson 14
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Johns Hopkins 41, at Dickinson 10
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at DePauw 51, Wooster 24
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at Ohio Wesleyan 37, Allegheny 21
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at Misericordia 43, Wilkes 14
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at Alfred 45, Rochester 7
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Wesley 66, at William Paterson 0
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at N.C. Wesleyan 35, Maryville (Tenn.) 25
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Huntingdon 31, at Ferrum 28
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at McDaniel 27, Gettysburg 20
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at Buffalo State 33, RPI 21
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Franklin and Marshall 27, at Susquehanna 24
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at Denison 45, Oberlin 17
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at Northwestern (Minn.) 10, Westminster (Mo.) 7
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at Eureka 44, Crown 20
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at Lebanon Valley 24, FDU-Florham 14
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at Heidelberg 47, John Carroll 21
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at Ohio Northern 35, Otterbein 7
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at Mount Union 55, Baldwin Wallace 7
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at Rose-Hulman 37, Defiance 14
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at Marietta 49, Muskingum 25
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Franklin 59, at Bluffton 30
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at Hanover 64, Anderson 21
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Mount St. Joseph 31, at Manchester 14
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Worcester State 34, at Westfield State 10
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Coast Guard 13, at Norwich 9
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at Fitchburg State 31, Bridgewater State 29
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Wittenberg 48, at Kenyon 11
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at Wabash 25, Hiram 21
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North Central (Ill.) 51, at Millikin 21
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at Millsaps 17, Sewanee 13
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at Rhodes 35, Birmingham-Southern 9
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at Hendrix 36, Austin 24
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at Martin Luther 34, Greenville 20
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at Trinity (Texas) 41, Chapman 35
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at Loras 73, Buena Vista 34
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at Wartburg 30, Washington U. 20
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at Gustavus Adolphus 51, Hamline 7
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Augsburg 48, at Carleton 28
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at Bethel 64, St. Olaf 7
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at Luther 21, Dubuque 17
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at Central 52, Nebraska Wesleyan 27
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Simpson 38, at Coe 33
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Wheaton (Ill.) 40, at Elmhurst 15
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St. Norbert 66, at Grinnell 13
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at Knox 13, Ripon 6
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at MacMurray 32, Iowa Wesleyan 14
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Hardin-Simmons 63, at Howard Payne 3
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Southwestern 37, at Louisiana College 34
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Monmouth 26, at Macalester 0
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at St. Thomas 20, St. John's 17
@ Target Field, Minneapolis
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at Springfield 42, WPI 10
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at Cornell 55, Beloit 36
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at Brockport 28, Utica 14
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at Hartwick 24, St. John Fisher 21
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at UW-La Crosse 41, Carroll 6
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at St. Scholastica 37, Minnesota-Morris 3
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at George Fox 44, UW-Eau Claire 0
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at Western Connecticut 37, Salve Regina 23
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at UW-Stevens Point 41, Adrian 28
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at Wesleyan 24, Tufts 17
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at Averett 35, Methodist 6
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at Berry 28, Centre 14
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at Case Western Reserve 56, Waynesburg 21
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at Grove City 24, St. Vincent 14
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at Illinois Wesleyan 18, North Park 0
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at Mary Hardin-Baylor 50, Texas Lutheran 7
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at UW-Platteville 56, Lakeland 22
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Carthage 55, at Augustana 14
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Chicago 28, at Illinois College 7
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at Sul Ross State 35, McMurry 7
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at Wilmington 37, Capital 30
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Lake Forest 42, at Lawrence 26
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at East Texas Baptist 79, Belhaven 40
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Arizona Christian 56, at Whittier 38
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Sep. 28: All times Eastern
6:30 PM
Shenandoah at Randolph-Macon
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Sep. 23: All times Eastern
Final
at Delaware Valley 27, Stevenson 7
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Wesley 66, at William Paterson 0
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at Alfred 45, Rochester 7
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Johns Hopkins 41, at Dickinson 10
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Frostburg State 24, at Rowan 10
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at Heidelberg 47, John Carroll 21
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at Mount Union 55, Baldwin Wallace 7
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Wittenberg 48, at Kenyon 11
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at Wabash 25, Hiram 21
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Hardin-Simmons 63, at Howard Payne 3
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North Central (Ill.) 51, at Millikin 21
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Final
Wheaton (Ill.) 40, at Elmhurst 15
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at St. Thomas 20, St. John's 17
@ Target Field, Minneapolis
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Final
at Brockport 28, Utica 14
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at Case Western Reserve 56, Waynesburg 21
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at Illinois Wesleyan 18, North Park 0
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at UW-Platteville 56, Lakeland 22
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at Mary Hardin-Baylor 50, Texas Lutheran 7
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