MEADVILLE, Pa. - Sophomore quarterback Matt Grimard threw for 232 yards and a pair of first half touchdowns and then rushed for two scores in the second half, as the Bethany College football team opened the 2011 season with a 28-7 victory at Allegheny on Saturday night.
The Bison built a 14-0 halftime lead behind two second-quarter touchdowns. The first was a 55-yard scoring pass from Grimard to sophomore Daryl Powell. Bethany then closed the half with a 12-play, 95-yard drive capped by a 6-yard touchdown pass from Grimard to junior Ed Holmes with 11 seconds showing on the clock.
Allegheny was held to 62 first-half yards, but did have one scoring chance in the first quarter after recovering a fumble at the Bethany 21. The threat was thwarted when junior cornerback Jeff Joyce picked off a pass in the end zone.
Allegheny opened the second half with an eight-play, 66-yard drive and found the end zone on a 31-yard scoring pass from Jordan Fowler to Sean Griffin. The Bison controlled the majority of the third quarter, using nearly 7 minutes for their next scoring drive late. Using 11 plays to march 77 yards, Grimard kept it for an 11-yard touchdown run to push the lead back to 21-7 after three quarters.
Bethany secured a victory in the final quarter thanks to a Gators turnover. An Allegheny fumble was recovered by defensive end Kasib Taalib-Din at the Allegheny 31. After a 26-yard run by Holmes, Grimard bulled in from 5 yards out to extend the lead to 28-7. Allegheny's last chance ended when Jeff Joyce picked off his second pass of the game and the Bison ran out the clock to win their first season opener since a 24-7 triumph at Hiram in 2007.
Grimard had a big effort, going 11-for-18 through the air for 232 yards and the two scores, and adding 69 yards on the ground to go along with those two touchdowns. Senior running back Eric Walker finished as the game's leading rusher with 80 yards on 17 carries, and Holmes was the top receiver with four grabs for 72 yards.
The Bison defense had an impressive performance, holding Allegheny to 189 total yards, including 61 on the ground. Junior linebacker Kyle Arrington made a team-best 10 stops and the Bison forced three turnovers and had two sacks.
Bethany will open the home portion of the schedule next Saturday with a matchup against King's (Pa.) College at 1 p.m.