Bethany Faces Tall Task in W&J

BETHANY -Bethany will look for a second straight victory when it plays host to the Presidents of Washington & Jefferson College Saturday. The game is scheduled for a 7 p.m. kickoff.

The Bison (1-3, 1-1 PAC) picked up their first victory last week, jumping out to a 21-3 halftime advantage and holding on for a 34-31 victory against Grove City.

W&J enters (3-1, 2-0 PAC) the game as winners of back-to-back games, last week beating Thiel College by a score of 32-19.

The Presidents have one of the top-rated offenses in the conference, scoring almost 38 points per game. The team is led by a solid run game that gains 203.5 yards on the ground per contest.

Dion Wiegand ranks second in the leageu in rushing yards per contest (114.5), and has scored 10 rushing touchdowns this season.

“Just like Grove City who we played last week, it’s no secret that they like to run the ball,” Bethany coach Bill Garvey said. “They have a very talent and tough group of offensive linemen, and Wiegand is a very good ball player.”

Defensively, the Presidents have had some problems this season, allowing 298.5 yards per game through the air (last in the conference) and another 171.8 per game on the ground, as they rank eighth in total defense (470.2 ypg).

Offensively, Bethany ranks fifth in the conference in points scored (30.8) and is fourth in total offense. However, the Bison also currently rank as the PAC’s top-rated passing offense, collecting 336.8 yards per game through the air.

Defensively, the Bison rank ninth in the PAC, giving up almost 500 total yards per game, which includes 200.5 yards per game on the ground.

As the passing game goes, so does the Bison offense. Bethany, currently the best passing offense in the PAC, has a quarterback in Matt Grimard who ranks first in all of Division III in total passing yards as he has thrown for 1,347 yards through the first four weeks.

Eric Blinn has caught a majority of those passes (46), but Grimard spreads the ball around nicely as four different receivers have eclipsed 100-plus yards receiving, and seven different with at least one catch. Chris Collins has caught 19 passes for 238 yards and three scores, while sophomore Jaylen Jennings has caught three touchdown passes to go along with 251 yards receiving.

The Presidents’ secondary ranks last in the conference in passing yardage allowed, and just gave up 269 yards through the air to Thiel College, which ranks eighth in the PAC in passing offense.

“Grimard is a special talent out there,” Garvey said. “W&J brings a lot of looks and will try to confuse the offense, but the great thing about having a four-year starter under center is that he understands all of what defenses are trying to do and makes the proper reads almost every time.”

The Bison face a tough task on the ground. The Presidents go into the game as the second best rushing team in the conference, behind only Thomas More.