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Bethany at Westminster Preview

More news about: Bethany

After suffering its third conference loss by less than five points, the Bethany College football team will go back on the road in search of a PAC win this Saturday with a trip to Westminster. Kickoff in New Wilmington is set for 1 p.m.

The Bison (1-5, 1-3) had PAC-leading Waynesburg on the ropes for the entire game, but after building a 21-7 lead, the Yellow Jackets rallied and used a 26-yard field goal with 16 seconds left to escape with a 23-21 victory. The loss gave Bethany three conference losses by a total of eight points. Junior QB Matt Grimard threw two TD passes to senior WR Ed Holmes and ran for another and senior WR Johnathan Foster snared 10 passes, including his 100th career reception.

As well as the Bison played to lead unbeaten Waynesburg the entire game until the very end, there were also a bevy of mistakes that cost BC chances to put the game away. It's been the story of the year for the Green and White and leaves what Weaver feels is his best squad since taking over with far fewer wins than anyone would like.

"Last week was exactly what our season has been so far, one play short against a good team," said head coach Tim Weaver. "We made a couple really costly mistakes, missed a couple tackles and missed a couple extra points. As we told the team Sunday, there were a whole bunch of things we could have done and we didn't do them.

"I still really feel we have the best team since we've been here," said Weaver. "We don't have as many wins as we have in years past, but we've played better, been more competitive and been in position to win every game, which we haven't been able to say before. It's frustrating to the players and to the coaches. I've coached with good teams and bad teams and this is the most challenging season I've had."

In last week's game, the Bethany passing game totaled 261 yards. Not only is the unit prolific, but it also ranks first in the PAC in pass efficiency. Grimard's completion percentage of 61.1 percent is the second-best in the conference and shows a marked improvement from his 55 percent as a freshman. According to Weaver, the efficient passing game is not only a credit to Grimard, but also to the receiving corps and the game plan the team executes so well every week.

"I've always believed pass efficiency is a team deal," said Weaver. "We've had far fewer dropped balls, as our wide receivers are playing at a very high level. Matt has improved and become more accurate, and he can still get better. He's also taking care of the football and hasn't turned the ball over since the pick against W&J. I think it's also due to the consistency in the coaching staff. We stay with what we do, we believe in it and we don't reinvent ourselves all the time.

"Another factor is the emergence of Phil (Acrie, sophomore running back)," said Weaver. "Whenever you are balanced and are a threat to run the ball, it helps out the entire offense."

The Bison rush defense continues to be in the spotlight, as Waynesburg rolled up 325 yards on the ground last week. It marked the fourth time in six games a BC opponent has racked up over 240 rushing yards, so the Bison coaching staff has been feverishly trying to find answers

"Our problems in the run game go from week-to-week," said Weaver. "Against Randolph-Macon and Waynesburg, we just didn't defend it well, but the other games, we did well except for a couple big plays. It's a team defensive concept and it start with the coaching staff. If we play against a Wing-T or a triple option and they just out-scheme you, that's one thing. But last week, both teams had 10 in the box and they just smashed us.

"So we go back to the film, as a team and as a staff, and try to figure out how to put guys in the best position to make plays," said Weaver. "We work on how to take good angles to the football and shed blocks, good fundamental points we stress every day.

"Since we simplified after Grove City, we've played better and our points against have come down, but we're still not playing well enough for 60 minutes," said Weaver. "We've evaluated practice film this week and we've looked far different versus Westminster's run game than Waynesburg and that's encouraging."

Westminster's season story is very similar to the Bison's. Its three losses have come by a total of nine points, including a 24-21 defeat at Washington & Jefferson last week. The Titans (2-3, 1-3) led W&J 14-10 at halftime, but could not hold onto the lead. Quarterback Dak Britt had a hand in every Westminster score, rushing for a pair of TDs, including a 61-yard touchdown jaunt, and threw for the third.

The Bison run defense will be tested against Westminster, who ranks third in the PAC with 166 yards per game on the ground. Junior RB Tyler Banks is third in the PAC with 74.6 rushing yards per game and he has four touchdowns. Fellow back John Proano can be dangerous as well with 128 yards this year and he rushed for a career-high 144 yards in a win over Bethany last year. Britt also has rushed for four scores while gaining 315 yards on the ground. Through the air, he has thrown for 752 yards and seven touchdowns with his top targets being Geno Pasquinelli (19 receptions, 201 yards, two TDs) and Collin Wallace (15 receptions, 260 yards, two TDs).

According to Weaver, this Westminster offense really came to light in last year's game at Bethany, when the Titans rolled up 296 rushing yards in a 30-27 victory. And the addition of the 6-1, 205-pound Britt behind center makes it a very dangerous offense to deal with Saturday.

"You look back, their whole offense was installed in our game last year with the sweeps and misdirections," said Weaver. "With Britt, Proano and Banks, they have three playmakers in their run game. They create a good balance of inside runs with outside runs. With how many different things they do, they'll make us simple, which is fine. But also, with the way they spread you out, it's about leverage and angles.

"Schematically, they are similar to Waynesburg in they run to set up the pass," said Weaver. "They are not as successful with the pass as they have been in the past, but they are still dangerous throwing downfield to big receivers in Pasquinelli and Wallace. They are big, strong targets who can go get the ball.

"But with Britt, he had a 60-yard touchdown run against W&J and a 50-yard run to keep them in it against Thomas More," said Weaver. "He is always a threat to go the distance every play."

On the defensive side, Westminster has one shutout to its credit and held another team to just six points. The Titans rank third in the conference in rush defense (113.8) and although teams are passing for more than 195 yards per game against Westminster, they do rank second in the PAC with eight interceptions. Safety Kyle Allen is an established playmaker and has three pass break-ups and two blocked kicks this season. The top tackler is linebacker Derrick Orloski with 49 hits, including eight for loss.

"They are really solid and have a bunch of guys back," said Weaver. "They are only giving up 16 points a game. They are sound, disciplined, good tacklers and have good players at every level. Allen is one of the best defensive backs in the conference."

The season certainly has not had the start that the Bison envisioned, but Weaver says the entire program is still committed to finishing the campaign well. They are continuing to work hard through the week and a strong ending to the year would be an appropriate way to send out the senior class.

"I give the players and the staff a ton of credit," said Weaver. "They are committed to winning a bunch of games down the stretch and are still practicing hard. There is an awful lot of football to go with half our conference schedule left. We can still finish in the top half of the league and get the seniors some wins before they are done."
Sep. 23: All times Eastern
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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. 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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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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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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