BETHANY, W.Va. (Sept. 1) - The Bethany College football team was dealt a 34-13 loss in its season-opening game against Ursinus Saturday afternoon at Bison Stadium in a non-conference contest.
The loss drops the Bison to 0-1 to start the season, while the Bears earn a second-consecutive season-opening victory against Bethany and improve to 1-0 overall.
Bison junior quarterback Carlin Bason (Gaitersburg, Md./Gaithersburg) led the team with 90 yards rushing on 20 attempts with a touchdown and completed 11-of-20 passes for 127 yards and a touchdown (zero interceptions).
Junior safety Kiandre Murphy (Reisterstown, Md./Franklin) paced the defense with 10 tackles (nine solo) and an interception, while senior Joseph Fiasco (Wilmerding, Pa./Penn-Trafford) added eight tackles in the game.
Ursinus took the opening kickoff and wrapped up a quick five-play drive with a 15-yard touchdown pass to take a 7-0 lead less than three minutes into the game. The Bears forced a three-and-out on defense and eventually connected on a 62-yard touchdown pass down the sideline that pushed their lead to 14-0 with 8:03 remaining in the first quarter.
Bethany was set to give the ball back to Ursinus following a five-play drive that stalled near mid-field, but a mishandle on the punt by the Bears return man gave the Bison the ball on the Ursinus 11-yard line. Bason and the Bison cashed in three plays later when the quarterback scrambled to his left and lunged across the goal line for a touchdown that made the score 14-7 with just over four minutes left in the opening quarter.
Both teams traded possessions in the second quarter, before Ursinus rolled off an 11-play, 72-yard drive that ended with a 19-yard touchdown to rebuild its lead to 20-7 (PAT no good) with just under seven minutes until halftime. The Bears added to their lead with another touchdown in the final minute of the half that put the score at 27-7 entering halftime.
Bethany came out of the locker rooms with its best possession of the afternoon. The Bison drove 43 yards on seven plays, before Bason hooked up with freshman wide receiver Chris Williams (Rochester, N.Y./James Monroe) for a 22-yard touchdown that made the score 27-13 (PAT blocked) with 11:17 left in the third quarter.
Ursinus answered back with a 14-play drive that went 79 yards and was capped off with a three-yard touchdown carry that built the Bears lead to 34-13 with just under five minutes left in the third quarter.
Neither team was able to move the ball effectively in the fourth quarter. Bethany secured a a pair of first downs in its final drive of the game, but the offense stalled at the Ursinus 12-yard line when the Bison were unable to convert a fourth down attempt.
Ursinus junior quarterback Thomas Garlick finished the afternoon 21-of-35 for 291 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Bears. Ursinus finished the game 10-of-15 on third down attempts.
The Bison are back at home next Saturday, September 8 when they host Grove City in the Presidents' Athletic Conference (PAC) Kick-off Classic at 3:30 p.m.