Oct. 1 - PITTSBURGH, Pa. - The Bison were handed a 49-26 loss by Carnegie Mellon in Presidents' Athletic Conference (PAC) action Saturday night at Gesling Stadium.
The loss drops the Bethany College football team to 1-3 overall, 0-3 in the PAC. Meanwhile, the Tartans improve to 2-1 in league play, 2-3 overall this season.
Junior quarterback Chase Kinemond (Shadyside, Ohio/Shadyside) turned in an efficient game with 23-of-27 passing for 224 yards, four touchdowns and one interception. He also added a team-high 22 carries for 70 yards rushing on the evening.
Senior wide receiver Tyler Ambush (Germantown, Md./Northwest) was Kinemond's favorite target, finishing with a game-high 10 catches for 111 yards and one touchdown. Senior wide receiver Dom Jefferson (Gaithersburg, Md./Gaithersburg) added five catches for 39 yards, while freshman Aronis Espinal (Oceanside, N.Y./Oceanside) added two catches for 21 yards and two touchdowns.
Senior running back Jalen Holmes (New Castle, Pa./New Castle), an All-PAC performer last season, returned to the field after a two-week absence and rushed for 92 yards on 13 carries.
The Bison received the opening kickoff and marched the ball near midfield, but a fumble on a completed pass ended the drive prematurely. Carnegie Mellon took advantage of the early turnover with a five-play 44 yard drive, capped off by a one-yard Sam Benger touchdown, to take a 7-0 lead.
Bethany got the ball back and moved the ball all the way to Tartan seven yard line, but a severe thunderstorm swept the area and a lightning delay forced both teams to return to their locker rooms for almost 30 minutes. When the storm passed, the Bison came back out and Kinemond connected with Espinal for a 14-yard touchdown pass on a post route to tie the game at 7-7 with 7:28 left in the first quarter.
Carnegie Mellon converted for touchdowns on each of its next two drives to take a 21-7 lead, but a 37-yard kick return by freshman Raekwon Wright (Baltimore, Md./Patterson) helped setup the Bison at midfield to start their next possession. Kinemond took advantage, hooking up with Ambush for a 49-yard touchdown pass. Following a blocked point after try, the Bison pulled within eight at 21-13 heading into the second quarter.
The Tartans pushed on with two more touchdowns from 49 and 13 yards out to extend its lead to 35-13 with 3:58 remaining in the second quarter. The Bison responded with a nine-play, 75-yard drive before the half, capped off with a 28-yard touchdown pass from Kinemond to Wright, to cut the Carnegie Mellon lead to two possessions, 35-20, entering the locker rooms.
Neither team found the same success on offense in the second half, but Carnegie Mellon managed to put the game out of reach late in the third quarter with a pair of touchdowns. The Tartans connected on a 37-yard touchdown pass with 1:27 left in the third quarter and on the first play following a Bethany interception, Benger raced away for a 55-yard touchdown run to extend the Carnegie Mellon lead to 49-20 heading into the fourth quarter.
Bethany tacked on another touchdown following an interception by freshman linebacker Colin Johnston (Belle Vernon, Pa./Belle Vernon) that setup the Bison with a first and goal from the seven yard line. Kinemond cashed in on the first play with his second touchdown pass to Espinal to make the score 49-26 (blocked PAT) with 12:10 remaining in the game.
The Bison finished with 395 yards of total offense and 24 first downs in the loss. Bethany ended the evening 8-of-19 (42 percent) on third down conversions and held the advantage in time of possession (32:47 TOP).
Senior linebacker Donovan Hayden (Hyattsville, Md./Northwestern), the nation's second leading tackler entering the day, was one of four players who finished with a team-best seven tackles (four solo). Senior Aaron Frye (Vandergrift, Pa./Kiski Area), sophomore Daniel Gibson (Pittsburgh, Pa./Woodland Hills) and freshman Stef'an Simmons (Baltimore, Md./St Frances) each finished with seven tackles defensively.
Carnegie Mellon running back Sam Benger, the leading rusher in NCAA Division III last season, rushed for 174 yards on 18 carries with four touchdowns to lead the Tartans to the victory. Carnegie Mellon quarterback Bryan Jangro finished with 208 yards passing on 11-of-19 attempts with three touchdowns and one interception.
Bethany is back on the gridiron next Saturday, October 8 when it hosts PAC foe Case Western Reserve for the annual homecoming game at 2 p.m.