Bethany College (1-1, 0-1)
Geneva College (0-3, 0-1)
Saturday, September 24 – 7:00 pm
Beaver Falls, PA – The Geneva College football team is featuring a couple firsts this week as it gets set to host Bethany College at Reeves Field. The Golden Tornadoes will be hosting their first Presidents’ Athletic Conference game as the Bison come calling. Geneva head coach Geno DeMarco and the Golden Tornadoes will be looking for their first victory in 2011 as they have started the season at 0-3 for the first time under DeMarco and the first time since 1992.
Geneva got its first taste of PAC action on Saturday against 9th ranked and three-time defending conference champion Thomas More in Kentucky. The Golden Tornadoes dropped a 41-6 decision to the Saints as they turned the ball over four times in the game and were unable to generate much offense for most of the afternoon. The Golden Tornadoes managed to avoid a shut-out with an 18-play fourth quarter drive that culminated in a one yard touchdown run from Jordan Curry. Despite that touchdown run, the Geneva running game was ineffective with only 64 yards on 36 carries for an average of 1.8 yards per carry. Meanwhile, Thomas More rushed for nearly four yards per carry and posted a total of 377 yards for the game.
One of the bright spots for the Geneva offense came in the name of Rocco Collevecchia, who led the receiving core with ten catches for 73 yards. Sophomore quarterback Zack Hayward threw for 146 yards on 20-34 with a pair of interceptions. In each of the past two weeks, Geneva’s first drive of the game ended with a turnover and once again took the momentum away early. The Golden Tornadoes are last in the PAC in turnover margin through three games with six turnovers and just two takeaways.
Geneva gets a Bethany team this week that is coming off a 31-14 loss to Washington & Jefferson last Saturday. The Bison got an unscheduled bye week in week two because of flooding concerns that prevented King’s College from getting to West Virginia. With a record of 1-1, the Bison will also be in search of their first conference victory. In the loss to W & J, Bethany matched the President’s with 22 first downs while also matching their total yards at 407. Bethany turned the ball over four times which proved costly. In fact, the Bison put the ball on the ground seven times last week and lost three of those fumbles. Despite the slippery fingers, the Bison were down just one score late in the third quarter.
For the season, running back Eric Walker leads the PAC with 96 yards per game. Meanwhile, quarterback Matt Grimard is fourth in the conference with 218 yards per game. Alex Evans and Daryl Powell have been Grimard’s top targets with a combined 18 receptions. Bethany’s defense, that has allowed an average of 19 points in its first two games, has been led statistically by Kyle Arrington. Arrington leads the PAC with 12.5 tackles per game including a 15 tackle effort this past Saturday.
If you are looking for some positives from Geneva’s 0-3 start to the season, the Golden Tornadoes actually lead the PAC in time of possession with an average of 33:47 per game. However, that possession time has not directly to points as the Golden Tornadoes rank last in the conference at 12.3 points per game. Meanwhile, the defense has seen its struggles with an average of 40.3 points allowed per game.
Maybe the most encouraging news about this week’s match-up is that Geneva has dominated the series with Bethany to the tune of 29-7-1. In fact, the Golden Tornadoes have won the last eight meetings against the Bison and have not dropped a decision to Bethany since 1970. Saturday’s match-up is the first of two straight at home for Geneva as it will welcome Saint Vincent to Reeves Stadium next Saturday for a 4 pm homecoming kickoff. For Bethany, it goes back on the road to face Waynesburg next week.