Lynch’s Two TDs Not Enough as Spartans Fall to Bethany, 25-14

Brendan Lynch scored both of CWRU's touchdowns in the loss. (photo by Tom Rodriguez)
Brendan Lynch scored both of CWRU's touchdowns in the loss. (photo by Tom Rodriguez)

CLEVELAND – Sophomore wide receiver Brendan Lynch (Sarver, Pa./Freeport Area) caught a pair of touchdowns, but a late turnover defused a potential comeback as the Case Western Reserve University football team fell to Bethany College (W. Va.), 25-14, on a cold and windy Saturday night at DiSanto Field.

The Spartans drop to 2-2 both overall and in the Presidents' Athletic Conference. The Bison move to 4-1 overall and remain tied atop the PAC standings at 3-0.

Lynch posted his second touchdown of the game on a 24-yard catch-and-run to pull the Spartans to within 19-14 with 8:43 remaining. After the CWRU defense had forced Bethany out on downs, a muffed punt deep in home territory set the visitors up for the game-clinching score.

Lynch finished the game with career highs of seven receptions and 80 yards receiving. The two scores were the first of his career. Senior quarterback Billy Beecher (Palmyra, Pa./Palmyra Area) went 16-of-33 for 208 yards.

The Bison led in yardage, 400-249, as the Spartans were limited to a season-low 41 yards rushing.

Defensively, five Spartans finished with double-figure tackles, including junior outside linebacker Everett Dishong (Chagrin Falls, Ohio/Chagrin Falls) with game highs of 13 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and two sacks. In less than three full games, Dishong has 8.5 TFL and five sacks.

Eric Blinn led Bethany with 15 receptions for 145 yards and a touchdown. Brandon Hill rushed for 87 yards and two scores.

On the opening drive of the game, the Spartan offense came out firing with a six-play, 48-yard drive that culminated in a Beecher to Lynch nine-yard touchdown pass. Freshman Ben Carniol (Vienna, Va./Thomas Jefferson Science & Technology) hit the extra point to make the score 7-0 at the 12:02 mark.

The next four possessions of the game ended in punts before Bethany got on the board with a 17-yard touchdown run by Hill at 3:28 of the first quarter. Chris Ray's extra point put the final touches on a 12-play, 57-yard drive which knotted the score at 7-7.

A three-and-out for CWRU then gave Bethany possession near midfield. Nine plays later, Hill wrestled into the endzone from a yard out as time ran out on the quarter. The extra point attempt failed, and the score sat at 13-7.

No scoring occurred in the second quarter although each team did reach opponent territory. Bethany's final drive stalled at the CWRU three as time ran out following a scramble by quarterback Brian Vales.

Several drives without points opened the second half, but a Spartan fumble gave Bethany possession at the home 47 with 5:44 left in the third. The Bethany offense then ran six plays before junior linebacker Aaron Weisberg (Plantation, Fla./American Heritage) stuffed Vales on a 4th-and-1 run at the 19.

However, the Spartans were unable to generate a first down on the following drive, and Bethany took the ensuing possession 63 yards on seven plays as Vales hit Blinn for a 26-yard TD pass. Another failed PAT left the score at 19-7 with 11 seconds remaining in the third quarter.

Refusing to go away, the Spartans marched 94 yards on nine plays to pull within one score as Lynch found the endzone for the second time. The drive included a key Beecher to sophomore tight end Zech Medved (Imperial, Pa./West Allegheny) 17-yard pass on 3rd-and-10 from the home 30. Carniol's second extra point brought the score to 19-14.

After the Spartan defensive stop and special teams turnover, Bethany put the game away when Jalen Holmes ran nine yards to "pay dirt" with 6:56 left to play.

For Bethany, Vales was 22-of-34 for 194 yards passing. He also added 42 yards rushing. Nadim Raddar posted 10 tackles, including three for loss and 1.5 sacks. Donavan Hayden also finished with 10 tackles, 2.5 TFL and a sack.

For CWRU, Weisberg and junior end Dayton Snyder (West Lafayette, Ind./West Lafayette) each made 12 stops.

The Spartans now hit the road for a Saturday, October 11 matchup at Waynesburg University (Pa.). Kickoff from John F. Wiley Stadium is scheduled for 1:30 p.m.