October 12, 2011

Bethany vs. Thiel Preview

More news about: Bethany

The Bethany College football team will try to end a two-game losing skid Saturday when long-time PAC rival Thiel comes to Bison Stadium for a 1:30 p.m. kickoff.


The Bison fell to 2-3 overall and 1-3 in the conference last Saturday with a heart-breaking 30-27 loss to visiting Westminster. The game had six changes and very nearly a seventh in the final minute when BC drove to the Westminster eight-yard line, but a fourth down pass was picked off and the Titans escaped with the triumph.

Bethany outgained their opponents for a second consecutive week (371-350), but two interceptions and two missed kicks haunted the Bison efforts. Sophomore QB Matt Grimard threw for 215 yards and two TDs, one of which went to senior WR Alex Evans, who had six catches for 88 yards and amassed 225 all-purpose yards in the game.

Defensively, sophomore safety Jamaan Webb made a career-high 13 tackles and picked off his second pass of the season, but problems slowing down the Titan running game which chewed up 296 yards, along with the missed kicks and not finishing potential scoring drives all led to the setback.

"Saturday was as disappointing a loss as we've had here in a long time," said head coach Tim Weaver. "Looking at the film, if we make any one of 15 plays, we win. We had a staff meeting on Sunday and thought if we make one little tweak or adjustment, we win. If the defense tackles a little better or makes one stop, we win. If the offense doesn't turn the ball over when going in to put us up two scores or if we can finish the drive at the end, we win. On special teams, we missed four points worth of kicks.

"So every phase of our operation could have been better," said Weaver. "We would be sitting here having a different conversation is we make one more play, but we didn't. So we learn from it and get ready for this week."

At the midway point of the season, even though the Bison's record isn't where Weaver or the team expected it to be, there have still been some highlights so far and a lot of things to build on for the second half of the year.

"We've continued to show defensive improvement," said Weaver. "We won two big games on the road against traditionally strong programs in Allegheny and Geneva. And we usually don't look at stats a lot, outside of turnovers. But we did look at last year's numbers when we had the same record after five games to this year's. Last year, we were being outgained by 40 yards and this year, we're outgaining teams by 80. Last year, we were being outscored by two touchdowns a game at this point and this year, we're outscoring teams.

"So we are a much better football team that has the same record," said Weaver. "Ultimately, that is my responsibility to help put the players in position to make plays and execute better so get a whole bunch of wins down the stretch. Looking at the conference standings, there are a lot of teams packed in the middle with one and two wins. We have four PAC games left to separate from that pack and I expect us to do that.

"I think the biggest highlight of the first half is for the first time, we know we are good enough, if we play a full 60 minutes, that we can beat everyone on our schedule," said Weaver. "But we've also learned that if we don't put full games together, anyone on our schedule is capable of beating us. Going down the second half of the season, it will come down to plays the hardest, executes the best and stays the healthiest."

Coming out with the same steady performance week after week is one area that Weaver wants to see improved in the second half, as well improving the ninth-ranked red zone offense in the PAC and plugging up a run defense that has allowed an average of 253 yards over the last two weeks.

"We need to improve our red zone offense and get back to being a stop the run first defense," said Weaver. "But the main thing I'm looking for in the second half is consistency. It's the number one challenge for every team trying to get over that final hurdle. We've gone from bad to competitive to good and great teams plays consistently week in and week out. So for us to take the final step, we have to find a way to be consistent every week."

Thiel comes into Bethany on Saturday looking to break into the victory column for the first time this year. The Tomcats are 0-5 overall and 0-3 in the PAC and since a 32-24 defeat in the opening game at Marietta, they have been outscored by an average of 44-10 over the last three weeks. But what makes this a nerve-wracking week for the Bison staff is that Thiel was off last Saturday and hasn't played since a 50-7 loss to #6 Thomas More Oct. 1.

"Any time you play a team coming off an open date, it's scary because that's a lot of time to prepare," said Weaver. "They should be well rested and get some guys back from injury. It also gives them a chance to put in stuff, especially on special teams and install some gadget plays."

The Bison have more wins against Thiel than any other school with 29, including two consecutive victories. Last year, BC netted three special teams touchdowns in a 41-7 victory in Greenville. The Tomcat quarterback that day was Andrew Smith, who has started the last two games this year due to an injury to opening day starter Jared Soell. Smith has thrown for 389 yards and a pair of touchdowns in place of Soell, who had passed for 333 yards and four scores before the injury.

The top Thiel running back is freshman De'Von Drish, who has gained 151 yards and scored one touchdown this year. A trio of receivers have caught 10 or more passes, led by Nathan Blazevich (19 rec., 172 yds., 1 TD), Nate Houpt (17 rec., 153 yds., 3 TDs) and tight end Kyle Turkalj (10 rec., 60 yds.). Weaver said his team should be ready for anything Saturday from the Tomcat offense.

"We should expect the unexpected," said Weaver. "They have improved and their scoring has nearly doubled from last year. The freshman running back is really good and we will be prepared for either quarterback. We definitely need to be ready in case (Soell) plays because he runs around a lot and is a different animal. We have shown vulnerability to the option, so we expect to see that. Our big key defensively is deal with adversity if they do hit something big. We did that well the first couple weeks, but don't think we've bounced back as well the last couple games."

The Thiel defense is led by a linebacking corps consisting of all upperclassmen. Junior Ethan Ludwig leads the team with 44 tackles, including 28 solos, while senior middle linebacker Ryan Dawes has 32 hits and three pass break-ups. The top threat on the front line is junior defensive end Tim Taylor with 24 tackles, including five for loss. With seven juniors or seniors starting on defense, that experience combined with the play makers Thiel has makes it a defense that can cause problems.

"They are trying to be simple defensively and just line up and be sound," said Weaver. "I love their defensive end Taylor, who just makes plays every game. We have to pay attention to him in protection and the run game. By week six, you have so much film, we don't want to go crazy with adjustments. We want to prepare like we usually do, plan on being a balanced offense and keep them guessing on what are running and passing situations for us."

Although the Tomcats are struggling so far this year, Weaver is quick to remind his team that it wasn't long ago that Thiel was at the top of the PAC. Many of the upperclassmen and the coaching staff have ties to the championship years and he expects a focused Thiel program to come to Bethany Saturday.

"They are not far removed from going to the playoffs and were the top team in the PAC when we got here," said Weaver. "A lot of their coaches were on that staff and their older players played with guys who won championships. They are a proud program and we expect them to come in here and play hard and play well. At some point, they will win a game and we have to come out and play as well as we've played all year to make sure it happens another week."
comments powered by Disqus
Oct. 31: All times Eastern
Final
Millsaps 15, at Berry 10
Box Score
Nov. 1: All times Eastern
12:00 PM
Kean at TCNJ
Live Stats
12:00 PM
Mass-Dartmouth at Western Connecticut
Live Stats
12:00 PM
Gallaudet at Norwich
Live Stats Video
12:00 PM
Framingham State at Massachusetts Maritime
Preview Live Stats Live Stats Video
12:00 PM
Maine Maritime at Salve Regina
Preview Preview Live Stats Video
12:00 PM
College of Faith at Wesley
Live Stats Audio
12:00 PM
Union at Hobart
Live Stats Video Audio
12:00 PM
Allegheny at Kenyon
Audio
12:00 PM
Alfred at Salisbury
Live Stats Video Audio
12:00 PM
William Paterson at Morrisville State
Live Stats Audio Audio
12:00 PM
Buffalo State at St. John Fisher
Live Stats Audio
12:00 PM
St. Lawrence at WPI
Live Stats Video
12:00 PM
Alfred State at Apprentice School
12:00 PM
SUNY-Maritime at Castleton State
Preview Live Stats Video Tickets
12:30 PM
Bates at Bowdoin
Preview Preview Live Stats Video
12:30 PM
Colby at Tufts
Live Stats Video
12:30 PM
Middlebury at Hamilton
Live Stats Video
12:30 PM
Amherst at Trinity (Conn.)
Live Stats Video
12:30 PM
Anna Maria at Husson
Live Stats Video Audio
1:00 PM
Lebanon Valley at FDU-Florham
Live Stats
1:00 PM
Becker at Mount Ida
Live Stats Video
1:00 PM
Ohio Northern at Marietta
Preview Live Stats Video Audio Audio
1:00 PM
Montclair State at Cortland State
Live Stats Video
1:00 PM
Moravian at Gettysburg
Live Stats Video Audio
1:00 PM
Catholic at Guilford
Live Stats Video
1:00 PM
Wittenberg at Ohio Wesleyan
Preview Live Stats Video Audio
1:00 PM
Olivet at Albion
Live Stats Video Audio
1:00 PM
Stevenson at Widener
Live Stats Audio Audio
1:00 PM
DePauw at Wooster
Preview Live Stats Video Audio Audio
1:00 PM
Randolph-Macon at Shenandoah
Preview Live Stats Video Audio Audio
1:00 PM
Emory and Henry at Washington and Lee
Preview Live Stats Video Audio Audio
1:00 PM
Hampden-Sydney at Bridgewater (Va.)
Preview Live Stats Video Audio Audio
1:00 PM
Trine at Kalamazoo
Live Stats Video Audio Audio Tickets
1:00 PM
Lakeland at Alma
Live Stats
1:00 PM
Thiel at Carnegie Mellon
Preview Preview Live Stats Video Audio Audio
1:00 PM
Hope at Adrian
Live Stats Video Audio Audio
1:00 PM
Western New England at Curry
Live Stats Live Stats
1:00 PM
Muhlenberg at Dickinson
Live Stats Video
1:00 PM
Franklin and Marshall at Susquehanna
Preview Live Stats Video Audio Audio
1:00 PM
Averett at Methodist
Video
1:00 PM
Ithaca at Brockport State
Live Stats Video Tickets
1:00 PM
Southern Virginia at Rowan
Preview Live Stats Video Audio
1:00 PM
Lycoming at Misericordia
Live Stats Audio
1:00 PM
Johns Hopkins at Ursinus
Live Stats Video
1:00 PM
Wabash at Hiram
Live Stats Video Audio
1:00 PM
Westminster (Pa.) at St. Vincent
1:00 PM
Delaware Valley at King's
Live Stats Audio
1:00 PM
Albright at Wilkes
Live Stats Audio
1:00 PM
McDaniel at Juniata
Preview Preview Live Stats Video Audio Audio
1:00 PM
Case Western Reserve at Washington U.
Preview Preview Live Stats Video
1:00 PM
Wisconsin Lutheran at Rockford
Preview Live Stats Audio
1:00 PM
MacMurray at Northwestern (Minn.)
Live Stats Video
1:30 PM
Mount St. Joseph at Bluffton
Live Stats
1:30 PM
Wesleyan at Williams
Live Stats Video
1:30 PM
Plymouth State at Worcester State
Preview Live Stats Video
1:30 PM
N.C. Wesleyan at Maryville (Tenn.)
Live Stats Video
1:30 PM
Geneva at Washington and Jefferson
Live Stats Video Audio
1:30 PM
Thomas More at Waynesburg
Preview Video Audio
1:30 PM
Heidelberg at Wilmington
Preview Preview Live Stats Video
1:30 PM
John Carroll at Muskingum
Live Stats Audio Audio
1:30 PM
Mount Union at Otterbein
Preview Audio Audio
1:30 PM
Bethany at Grove City
Live Stats Audio
1:30 PM
Anderson at Defiance
Live Stats Video
1:30 PM
Earlham at Hanover
Live Stats Video
1:30 PM
Westfield State at Fitchburg State
Live Stats Video
2:00 PM
Frostburg State at Hartwick
Live Stats
2:00 PM
Baldwin Wallace at Capital
Preview Preview Live Stats Video Audio Audio
2:00 PM
Manchester at Rose-Hulman
Preview Live Stats Video
2:00 PM
Benedictine at Concordia (Wis.)
Live Stats Video
2:00 PM
UW-Whitewater at UW-Platteville
Preview Live Stats Video Audio Audio
2:00 PM
Southwestern at Austin
Live Stats Video Video
2:00 PM
Concordia-Chicago at Aurora
Live Stats Video
2:00 PM
Centre at Hendrix
Live Stats Video
2:00 PM
St. John's at Augsburg
Live Stats Video Audio Audio
2:00 PM
UW-Stout at UW-Eau Claire
Preview Live Stats Video Audio Audio Tickets
2:00 PM
Bethel at Gustavus Adolphus
Live Stats Video
2:00 PM
St. Olaf at Hamline
Live Stats Video
2:00 PM
Lake Forest at Cornell
Video
2:00 PM
Illinois Wesleyan at North Central (Ill.)
Live Stats Video Audio
2:00 PM
Birmingham-Southern at Rhodes
2:00 PM
Trinity (Texas) at Texas Lutheran
Live Stats Video
2:00 PM
Hardin-Simmons at Mary Hardin-Baylor
Live Stats Video Audio
2:00 PM
Simpson at Central
Preview Video
2:00 PM
Wartburg at Buena Vista
Live Stats Video Audio
2:00 PM
Ripon at Beloit
2:00 PM
Carroll at Macalester
Live Stats Video Audio
2:00 PM
Howard Payne at Louisiana College
Audio
2:00 PM
Carthage at Millikin
Live Stats Video Audio
2:00 PM
Wheaton (Ill.) at Elmhurst
Live Stats Video
2:00 PM
North Park at Augustana
Live Stats Video
2:00 PM
Coe at Luther
Video Audio
2:00 PM
Crown at Martin Luther
2:00 PM
Greenville at Westminster (Mo.)
Video
2:00 PM
Iowa Wesleyan at Eureka
2:00 PM
Illinois College at Knox
Live Stats Video
2:00 PM
Monmouth at Grinnell
Live Stats Video
2:00 PM
UW-La Crosse at UW-River Falls
Audio
2:00 PM
UW-Oshkosh at UW-Stevens Point
Preview Live Stats Video Audio Audio
2:00 PM
Dubuque at Loras
2:00 PM
Sul Ross State at East Texas Baptist
Live Stats Audio
2:10 PM
Concordia-Moorhead at St. Thomas
Preview Live Stats Video Video Audio Audio
3:00 PM
St. Scholastica at Minnesota-Morris
3:30 PM
George Fox at Whitworth
Live Stats Video Audio
4:00 PM
Ferrum at Greensboro
Live Stats
4:00 PM
Pacific Lutheran at Puget Sound
Preview Audio
4:00 PM
Cal Lutheran at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps
Live Stats Video
4:00 PM
Willamette at Linfield
Live Stats Video Audio Audio
4:05 PM
Redlands at Whittier
Live Stats Live Stats Video Audio
5:00 PM
Pacific at Lewis and Clark
Live Stats Video Audio
5:30 PM
MIT at Endicott
Preview Live Stats
6:00 PM
Denison at Oberlin
Live Stats Video
7:00 PM
St. Norbert at Lawrence
Live Stats Video
7:00 PM
LaGrange at Christopher Newport
Live Stats Video Audio
10:00 PM
La Verne at Chapman
Preview Live Stats Video Audio Audio
10:00 PM
Pomona-Pitzer at Occidental
Live Stats Video Audio
Nov. 1: All times Eastern
10:00 PM
La Verne at Chapman
Preview Live Stats Video Audio Audio
1:30 PM
Mount Union at Otterbein
Preview Audio Audio
1:30 PM
Thomas More at Waynesburg
Preview Video Audio
1:30 PM
John Carroll at Muskingum
Live Stats Audio Audio
1:30 PM
Geneva at Washington and Jefferson
Live Stats Video Audio
1:00 PM
Hampden-Sydney at Bridgewater (Va.)
Preview Live Stats Video Audio Audio
1:00 PM
Wabash at Hiram
Live Stats Video Audio
1:00 PM
Johns Hopkins at Ursinus
Live Stats Video
1:00 PM
Wittenberg at Ohio Wesleyan
Preview Live Stats Video Audio
1:00 PM
Delaware Valley at King's
Live Stats Audio
2:10 PM
Concordia-Moorhead at St. Thomas
Preview Live Stats Video Video Audio Audio
12:00 PM
College of Faith at Wesley
Live Stats Audio
12:00 PM
Buffalo State at St. John Fisher
Live Stats Audio
12:00 PM
Union at Hobart
Live Stats Video Audio
2:00 PM
Wartburg at Buena Vista
Live Stats Video Audio
2:00 PM
Bethel at Gustavus Adolphus
Live Stats Video
2:00 PM
UW-Oshkosh at UW-Stevens Point
Preview Live Stats Video Audio Audio
2:00 PM
UW-Whitewater at UW-Platteville
Preview Live Stats Video Audio Audio
2:00 PM
Illinois Wesleyan at North Central (Ill.)
Live Stats Video Audio
2:00 PM
Hardin-Simmons at Mary Hardin-Baylor
Live Stats Video Audio
2:00 PM
Wheaton (Ill.) at Elmhurst
Live Stats Video
2:00 PM
St. John's at Augsburg
Live Stats Video Audio Audio
4:00 PM
Willamette at Linfield
Live Stats Video Audio Audio

What We're Reading