Spartans Look to Remain Unbeaten at Home, Host Bethany Under the Lights on Saturday

The Spartans look to remain unbeaten at home and stay in the race in the PAC. (photo by Ric Kruszynski)
The Spartans look to remain unbeaten at home and stay in the race in the PAC. (photo by Ric Kruszynski)

Bethany Bison (3-1, 2-0 PAC) at
Case Western Reserve Spartans (2-1, 2-1 PAC)
Saturday, October 4, 2014 - 6:00 p.m.
DiSanto Field - Cleveland

(Dave Wilson, play-by-play; Brendan Gulick, color analyst)


Download the complete CWRU game notes in .pdf format by clicking HERE.

The Case Western Reserve University football team looks to remain unbeaten at home when it hosts Bethany College (W. Va.) on Saturday, October 4 at 6:00 p.m. at DiSanto Field. The Spartans are 2-1 (2-1 PAC) following a 23-16 home win versus Thiel College (Pa.). Tied atop the Presidents' Athletic Conference standings, the Bison are 3-1 (2-0 PAC) after a 33-27 victory against Waynesburg University (Pa.).

CWRU and Bethany have not met on the gridiron since 1983. During CWRU's first stint in the PAC, the two schools met annually from 1970-83. Bethany holds an overall lead of 12-2 in the all-time series, but CWRU won the last two meetings in 1982 and 1983. In that 1983 matchup, the Spartans finished the season at 8-1 with a 21-7 home victory against the Bison.

Case Western Reserve is coached by Greg Debeljak, who is in his 11th season in 2014 with a 74-32 (.698) record. Debeljak has led the Spartans to four UAA Championships in the last seven years with three consecutive undefeated (10-0) regular seasons and NCAA Playoff berths from 2007-09. Since the beginning of the 2007 season, Case Western Reserve has posted an outstanding overall record of 61-15, earning Debeljak and his assistants the UAA Coaching Staff of the Year award four times (2007-09, '11). In addition, CWRU has been ranked in the AFCA Top 25 in four of the past seven seasons (2007-10).

Bethany is coached by Bill Garvey, who is in his second season with a 7-7 record. Garvey, the team's offensive coordinator for seven seasons prior to his promotion, coached Bethany to the PAC's most prolific passing offense in 2013. Garvey played collegiately at Iona College (N.Y.).

Through three games, the Spartans have averaged 24.3 points, 121.7 yards rushing, 222.7 yards passing and 344.4 total yards per game. CWRU opponents have averaged 13.0 points, 83.3 yards rushing, 230.3 yards passing and 313.6 total yards per game. The Spartans have a -3 turnover ratio.

Offensively, senior quarterback Billy Beecher (Palmyra, Pa./Palmyra Area) has completed 62-of-101 passes (61.4%) for 658 yards with six touchdowns and four interceptions. Beecher has also rushed for 48 yards and a TD. Sophomore running back Anthony Bianco (Allison Park, Pa./Hampton) has rushed for 137 yards on 31 carries (4.4 ypc) with one TD, while senior running back Manny Sicre (Miami, Fla./Belen Jesuit Preparatory) has 72 yards rushing on 19 carries (3.8 ypc). Freshman wide receiver Luke DiFrancesco (Johnstown, Pa./Bishop McCort) has team highs of 12 receptions and 141 yards (11.8 ypc) with one TD, while senior tight end George Darany (Northville, Mich./Detroit Catholic Central) has seven receptions for 121 yards (17.3 ypc) and one TD. Junior WR Ethan Albers (Oviedo, Fla./Hagerty) has hauled in seven catches for 83 yards (11.9 ypc) and a team-high two TDs.

Defensively, junior linebacker KJ Pederson (Lancaster, Pa./Hempfield) leads the team with 28 tackles, including 2.5 sacks, to go along with a forced fumble and a pass break-up. Junior linebacker Everett Dishong (Chagrin Falls, Ohio/Chagrin Falls) has 16 tackles, including five for loss and three sacks, with three pass break-ups. Junior safety Jordan Esteban (Miami, Fla./Belen Jesuit Preparatory) has 14 tackles, one interception with a 72-yard return and three break-ups.

Through four games, the Bison have averaged 26.5 points, 166.2 yards rushing, 192.5 yards passing and 358.7 total yards per game. Bethany opponents have averaged 30.8 points, 156.5 yards rushing, 234.5 yards passing and 391.0 total yards per game. The Bison have maintained a +2 turnover ratio.

Offensively, sophomore QB Brian Vales is 83-of-115 (72.2%) for 753 yards with six TDs and four INTs. Vales, who ranks 11th in the nation in completion percentage, has also rushed for 226 yards on 57 carries (4.0 ypc) with three TDs. Senior RB Brandon Hill has rushed for a team-high 247 yards on 62 carries (4.0 ypc) with two TDs. Sophomore RB Jalen Holmes has 126 yards rushing on 30 carries (4.2 ypc) with two scores. Junior WR Eric Blinn has team highs of 36 catches for 391 yards (10.9 ypc) and three TDs. Senior WR Chris Collins has 14 catches for 115 yards (8.2 ypc) with two TDs.

Junior LB Larry Kpadehyea has a team-high 42 tackles, including six for loss and two sacks, to go along with an interception, two forced fumbles and two pass break-ups. Junior lineman Nadim Raddar has 38 tackles with team highs of 10 TFL and seven sacks. Raddar ranks fourth in the nation in sacks, and the Bison rank 18th in the nation in TFL (38) and 20th in sacks (15). Junior back Dion Williams has 15 tackles with one INT and three pass break-ups.

Senior wide receiver Sean Lapcevic (Presto, Pa./Chartiers Valley) has been selected amongst the best and brightest from the college gridiron as one of 167 semifinalists for the 2014 William V. Campbell Trophy®, presented by Fidelity Investments®.

Junior fullback Adam Hochman (Austin, Texas/Anderson) posted a career-long 35-yard touchdown run against Thiel. Hochman, who also found the endzone twice a week earlier at Saint Vincent College (Pa.), has eight total touchdowns (six receiving/two rushing) in just 32 career touches.

Freshman wide receiver Luke DiFrancesco (Johnstown, Pa./Bishop McCort) was named UAA Offensive Player of the Week after hauling in the game-winning 23-yard touchdown with 1:08 remaining versus Thiel. DiFrancesco finished the game with four receptions and a season-high 75 yards. The touchdown was his first in a CWRU uniform.

The Spartans intercepted four passes against Thiel, one short of tying a school single-game record. CWRU intercepted five passes against Thiel in 1983 and Earlham College (Ind.) in 1990.

Through three games, the Spartans rank 19th in the nation in rush defense (83.3 yards per game) and 21st in scoring defense (13.0 points per game).

CWRU has posted a winning record at home in eight of the last nine seasons. With two victories this season, the program is 35-14 all-time at DiSanto Field. Formerly Case Field, the facility opened in 2005.

The number of wins for Case Western Reserve since the beginning of the 2007 season. The Spartans are 61-15 overall during that span.

The number of wins for CWRU in program history. After the Case Institute of Technology and Western Reserve University federation of 1967, the first CWRU football team was fielded during the fall of 1970. Thirty percent of the program's wins have come in the last seven-plus seasons.