LINDSBORG — The Bethany College Swedes are going to need more than one good half if they hope to pull off an upset of No. 16 Ottawa University in their KCAC football opener Saturday night in Ottawa.
Kickoff is set for 6 p.m.
The Swedes basically didn’t show up until the second half last week in a 35-29 loss to Graceland University in the KCAC-Heart of America Challenge. Bethany dug itself out of a 35-7 tunnel and nearly extricated itself completely behind backup quarterback Jake Umpreyhville, who threw for more than 200 yards and three scores in the second half.
Ottawa is coming off a 59-47 shootout victory over Heart power Benedictine. The Braves were down early before quarterback Michael Behr and running back Luke Lundy powered an offense that eventually put up nearly a point a minute. Behr is extremely adept both running and passing, while Lundy is a brutish back whose 240 pounds slams into defenses and wears them down.
During the preseason, Ottawa coach and former Bethany All-American Kent Kessinger said he believed he had the best defense since he’s been at OU. The Braves were solid in a 20-12 loss to nationally ranked Baker, but got caught up in the track meet last week. Deron Bruce, a 6-4 and 235-pound defensive end, is a potential All-America candidate for the Braves.
The Swedes are hoping to establish some consistency on offense, whomever is at the controls. Umphreyville replaced Virgil Bridges in the second half last week and is more of a throwing threat, while Bridges is the better runner. Bethany’s ground game basically spun its wheels, managing less than 2 yards an attempt last week. The big hope is that heralded transfer Raahmil Brantley gets untracked as his debut yielded just 24 yards on 12 carries.