Andrew Woodley, Sports Information Director
COLLEGEVILLE, Pa. (Sept. 2) – The Bethany College football team was dealt a 35-13 season-opening loss by Ursinus in a non-conference game Saturday afternoon at Patterson Field.
The Bison begin the year 0-1 overall, while the Bears avenge a 23-13 loss at Bison Stadium in 2016 and improve to 1-0 this year.
Bethany offensively was led by sophomore running back Raekwon Wright (Baltimore, Md./Patterson), who ended the game with 66 yards rushing on 13 carries with a touchdown. He also added a team-high three catches for 23 yards and had 96 yards on special teams to finish with 185 all-purpose yards.
Senior quarterback Chase Kinemond (Shadyside, Ohio/Shadyside) finished the game 12-of-32 for 134 yards (zero interceptions) and added 32 yards on the ground in the loss.
The Bears stormed out to a 28-0 lead in the first half. Ursinus scored on its second possession with a 10-play drive to take a 7-0 lead, but their next three scoring possessions weren't as methodical. The Bears scored on drives of three, four and three plays to establish the 28-point lead with 10:06 remaining in the first half.
Bethany got on the board with a seven-play, 53-yard drive that was capped off with a 14-yard touchdown run by Wright to make the score 28-6 (PAT failed) with just under eight minutes remaining in the first half. The touchdown was setup by a 19-yard reception by sophomore Darius Taylor (Leesburg, Va./Loudoun County) on a fourth down that kept the drive alive.
The Bison moved the ball to midfield on their next possession, but stalled and turned the ball over on downs. On the first play for the Bears offense, Bethany sophomore linebacker Collin Johnston (West Newton, Pa./Belle Vernon) stepped in-front of a Thomas Garlick pass and returned it 55 yards for a score to cut the Ursinus lead to 28-13 with 1:51 left in the second quarter, sending the Green & White into the locker rooms with the game's momentum.
The Bison managed to convert a pair of third downs on their second possession of the third quarter, driving the ball down to the Ursinus 25-yard line. Bethany was unable to move the ball any further and failed to convert a fourth down pass to end the threat.
Ursinus regained momentum and capitalized with another quick drive. The Bears used a five-play drive, which included a 31-yard pass down to the one-yard line, to rebuild their lead to 35-13 with 3:33 remaining in the third quarter. Neither team found the end zone in the fourth quarter, securing the win for the Bears.
Ursinus finished the game with 510 yards of total offense, including 269 on the ground, compared to Bethany's 240 yards of offense.
Junior linebacker Will Gatling (Baltimore, Md./Northwestern) led the defense with 15 tackles (seven solo), while junior safety Joseph Fiasco (Wilmerding, Pa./Penn-Trafford) finished with 12 (eight solo) and 0.5 tackles for loss. Johnston also chipped in nine tackles to go along with his 55-yard interception return for a touchdown.
Ursinus quarterback Thomas Garlick, who threw five interceptions against the Bison in 2016, finished the afternoon 16-of-24 with 241 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. Bear running back Stacey Gardner ended the day with 197 yards on 26 carries and a touchdown.
Bethany will return home next Saturday, September 9 when they host Geneva (non-conference) under the lights at Bison Stadium. The opening kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
GAME NOTES: The Bison finished the afternoon 5-of-17 (29 percent) on third down, compared to the 7-of-16 (44 percent) posted by Ursinus … Bethany was penalized eight times for 91 yards, while the Bears were flagged only three times for 28 yards … Ursinus finished the game with 34 minutes, 36 seconds in time of possession … Johnston's interception for a touchdown marked the second-straight season the Bison defense scored points in the season-opener; former linebacker Donavan Hayden did the same against Ursinus last year … Kinemond averaged 40.3 yards on eight punts, including a long of 48 yards … Ursinus wide receiver Carmen Fortino finished the game with 116 yards on five catches and two touchdowns to lead all receivers in the game