LINDSBORG — The Bethany College football team has arrived at the proverbial fork in the road.
The Swedes play the “swivel game” this week, the one that separates the first five games from the last five.
It will be homecoming for the Swedes, who entertain Sterling at 1:30 p.m.
This is a matchup of teams that in the eyes of many have underachieved. Both were thought to be KCAC contenders, but Bethany started 0-2 in the KCAC and 0-4 overall until breaking through last week with a come-from-behind 18-16 victory over Saint Mary, a game it trailed 16-0 in the third quarter.
The Warriors are 1-2 in the KCAC and 1-3 overall, so this is a “must” game for both teams if they’re to have any say in the conference race. Sterling does own a 30-19 win over Friends, but was dumped 31-7 last week by Tabor.
It could be a battle of running games. Sterling’s freshman quarterback Cedric Phillips likes to keep the ball and is seventh in the KCAC in rushing. Bethany has one of the biggest offensive lines in the conference that gets a lot of push.
Bethany, however, might try to throw the ball more this week as Sterling has the KCAC’s last-rated pass defense as it gives up 316 yards a game. Bo Savage directed the Swedes last week after Virgil Bridges was ineffective, though both probably will play.
Bethany’s ground game is led by Tevis Linnebur, who had nearly 100 yards last week. The Swedes are expected to welcome back top receiver Nile Daniel, who missed last week’s game with illness.
With second-division Southwestern up next week, this is a good time for the Swedes to get on a roll, though they do take on arch-rival Kansas Wesleyan in two weeks.