LEMONI, Iowa — Too little, too late.
Bethany College won the second half of its game with Graceland University 22-0 on Saturday.
But that couldn’t make up for the disastrous first half in which the Yellowjackets humbled the Swedes, 35-7.
That made the final tally 35-29 in favor of Graceland in what had to be a bitterly disappointing loss for the Swedes, since Graceland was a 34-point loser to McPherson College last year in the KCAC-Heart of America Challenge and had entered the game on an 11-game losing streak.
Bethany coach Manny Matsakis benched starting quarterback Virgil Bridges after a difficult 2-of-10 performance. In stepped transfer Jake Umphreyville, who may have grabbed the job by the throat with 232 yards and three scores in the second half.
“We noticed Jake has been coming along during the week, he has been playing well in the seven-on-seven's and the passing side of the game," Matsakis said. "It was just one of those things where we needed a spark and realized that Jake could exploit the secondary a bit. We saw that we needed to adjust, but just made the adjustment a little too late."
The Swedes’ Rodney Mollette had six catches for 146 yards and two scores, with Kelton Evans catching the other TD throw. Drake Wells scored on a 4-yard run on his only carry of the game.
Heralded transfer Raahmil Brantley, who according to the Swedes’ website had more than 20 Division I offers coming out of high school, made his long-anticipated debut, but was the target of the Graceland defense, as it held him to 24 yards on 12 carries as Bethany’s running game was stuffed to 60 yards on 32 attempts.
Bethany’s defense was outstanding in the second half after giving up 335 yards in the first half.
“It was certainly a good effort by our guys. I thought our defense did a great job in the second half," Matsakis said. "I knew that team was in there, but we needed to play like that in the first half. It is really difficult for us when you put yourself in a hole like that. We need to play like that the entire game."
Bethany has no bargain for its KCAC opener on Saturday at Ottawa, coached by former Swede All-American Kent Kessinger, son of legendary former Swede coach Ted Kessinger.
Kickoff is 6 p.m.
• STATISTICS •
• Bethany Listed First •
First Downs — 16, 21. Rushes-Yards — 32-60; 46-205. Passing — 14-37-1-245; 9-24-0-210. Fumbles-Lost — 1-1; 3-1. Punts-Avg. — 6-52.5; 7-36.4. Penalties-Yards — 5-96, 9-74.
• LEADERS •
• Rushing •’
Bethany — Brantley 12-24, Bridges 4-17.
Graceland — Thomas 22-108.
• Passing •
Bethany — Bridges 2-10-0-13, Umphreyville 12-27-1-232.
Graceland — King 9-24-0-210.
• Receiving •
Bethany — Molette 6-146, Evans 4-40.
Graceland — Brown 4-127.