SALINA — One week it’s been the offense, the next week the defense.
On Saturday for the Bethany College Swedes, it was both.
The Swedes’ high-octane, athletically gifted offense racked up 453 yards, while the defense suffocated the Coyotes in a 42-10 thrashing of their most intense arch-rival.
The Swedes, playing their most complete game of the year, easily managed to avoid the upset as they are still just a game back in the KCAC race at 3-2 and are 4-3 overall.
Bethany coach Manny Mataskis exploited the Coyotes’ weakness against the run by inserting quicksilver quarterback Virgil Bridges into the starting lineup and the ground game chewed up 370 yards. KW, on the other hand, had just 17 net rushing yards as a plethora of sacks wiped out most of their 100-yard total.
“It was a good win, we were able to do what our game plan was, and that was to run the football," Matsakis said. "That is how we thought the game would look with Virgil at quarterback and our offensive line did a great job controlling the line of scrimmage. When Virgil scrambles, I'll have to admit, he is pretty electric. There is something about him when he is leading this team, it certainly jumped to another level today"
This one was pretty much a no-doubter. Bethany piled up a 21-7 halftime lead and then added three more second-half scores while its lockdown defense permitted just a field goal.
“Our whole defensive staff is to be credited from Joe Gordon to Jarrod Wirt and Michael Starkey, they did an outstanding job with their game plan,” Matsakis said. “Kansas Wesleyan normally gets yards in chunks, but I thought we did a good job of containing that. The pressure up front was key. I think our defense played one of their best games since I've been here."
Four of the Swedes’ touchdowns came on the ground, two by Jasaan Eley, who finished with 110 yards on 24 carries. But that was second to Drake Wells, who accumulated 122 yards on nine carries and a score. Rodney Molette added a TD run on a reverse.
Bridges was an efficient 8-of-12 passing for 83 yards, with Nile Daniel hauling in a scoring grab.
However, the most exciting score was a 94-yard kickoff return by the electric Kelton Evans, just as KW had just pulled within 21-10 early in the third quarter.
The Swedes have a shot Saturday at proving they belong with the big boys when they travel to Wichita to play KCAC co-leader Friends.
• STATISTICS •
• Bethany Listed First •
First Downs — 22, 22. Rushes-yards — 59-370; 34-17. Passing — 8-12-2-93; 22-55-0-274. Punts-Avg. — 3-23.7; 3-37.7. Fumbles-Lost — 1-1; 2-2. Penalties-Yards — 13-139; 6-40.
• INDIVIDUAL LEADERS •
• Rushing •
Bethany — Wells 9-120, Eley 24-110.
KW — Sachs 23-83.
• Passing •
Bethany — Bridges 8-12-2-83.
KW — Curran 22-53-0-274.
• Receiving •
Bethany — Daniel 3-15.
KW — Kufahl 6-88, Sachs 6-69.