Balanced Bethel Captures 47-14 Win over Buena Vista
STORM LAKE, Iowa—For the second straight week, the Bethel University football squad used a dynamic team performance to take down a nonconference foe, as it was Buena Vista University that fell victim Saturday at J. Neilson Rollins Stadium in a 47-14 finish. The No. 7-ranked Royals (2-0, 0-0 MIAC) utilized a 27-7 first-half lead and over 550 yards of offense to take down the Beavers (0-3, 0-0 IIAC) on Peterson Field. Head CoachSteve Johnson earned his 175th career win following the contest, as Johnson is within the Top 10 in total wins among NCAA Division III active head coaches.
Seth Mathis put a spark in Bethel's defense immediately, as he intercepted BVU's Bobby Brown on the very first play of the game and returned it 30 yards for a touchdown—putting BU up 6-0 early.
Erik Peterson and the Royals offense continued the scoring trend in the first offensive possession, as they capped off a seven-play, 75-yard drive with a 33-yard touchdown pass from Peterson to Jared Schultz.
Leading 13-0 with 7:10 left in the second quarter, Seth Mathis came through with another big play, as he and the Bethel defense blocked a Beaver field goal attempt from 25-yards out. The defense wasn't done, however, as collectively, they stopped a BVU attempt on fourth-and-goal from six inches out.
After two exceptional defensive stops, the Royals offense made a splash, when Erik Peterson hit Brandon Marquardt in stride for a 53-yard touchdown.
Bethel witnessed its shutout end with 0:48 left in the second quarter, when the Beavers' Adam Cave caught a 43-yard touchdown. Yet it was Bryce Marquardt's 77-yard kickoff return on the ensuing kickoff that setup an Erik Peterson rushing touchdown from 6-yards out before the half ended.
The Royals went on to score 20 more points in the second half, as Brandon Marquardtand Josh Werness each rushed for a touchdown—Werness's first collegiate score—andMitch Hallstrom caught a 39-yard score with 6:24 left in the game, which led to the final tally of 47-14.
Bethel finished the game with 559 yards of total offense, including 286 in the air and 273 on the ground. Erik Peterson finished the contest 19-24 with 286 yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions. He also ran for one more score. The Orono, Minn., native connected with seven receivers, including Mitch Hallstrom, who caught six passes for 95 yards and one touchdown. Jared Schultz also hauled in three passes for 56 yards and one score.
Brandon Marquardt led all rushers with 111 yards and one rushing touchdown on 12 carries. Marquardt also caught a touchdown. Marshall Klitzke carried the ball 12 times for 77 yards.
Seth Mathis finished the day with eight tackles—five solo and three assisted—which led the Royals, including one tackle for loss. Mathis also sniped one of two BU interceptions. The other interception came from safety David Morgan, who picked off Bobby Brown at the Bethel 1-yard-line. Morgan and Kevin Flaherty were tied among Royal defenders with seven tackles. Flaherty had a sack for a loss of ten yards, which led to the Morgan interception. Defensive end Luke Buttenhoff knocked down two passes at the line of scrimmage.
The Royals dominated the stat sheet with 27 first downs and 559 total yards. Buena Vista moved the chains just 16 times and amassed 292 total yards. Time of possession favored Bethel by nearly two minutes and the turnover battle was plus two for BU.
Conference play begins next week for Bethel, as the Royals travel to Northfield, Minn., to take on Carleton College. Opening kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. at Laird Stadium.