NORTH NEWTON, Kan. - The Bethel College Threshers Football team visited the University of Saint Mary on Saturday. It was a ground and pound type of matchup for the Threshers, who continue to have a Top 10 defense in the NAIA. After the dust settled on this tough game for both sides, Bethel came up short on the scoreboard 17-10.
The Threshers came out of the gates with their strong run game. They strung together a drive capped with a 24 yard touchdown run by Jaylen Sykes (SR/Bakersfield, CA), accompanied with a Brett Mathis (JR/Long Beach, Calif.) extra point to take an early 7-0 lead.
The defense played a tough hard nose game. They held the Spires passing attack to just 88 passing yards.
The first score by the Spires came in the first quarter with a 35 yard field goal to cut the Threshers lead 7-3.
Bethel ended the first quarter just as it started. Sykes continued to roll on through holes the offensive line paved for him. A 37 yard field goal by Mathis gave Bethel a 10-3 lead.
The Spires scored a touchdown before the half and evened up the score at 10-10.
The second half lacked scoring by both teams until Saint Mary was able to run in a touchdown from ten yards out with eight minutes to go. The score held at 17-10 in favor of Saint Mary.
Defensive standouts for the Threshers were Jariah Booker (JR/Oroville, CA) and Tyree Bostick (FR/Daytona Beach, Fla.), who led the Threshers in tackles with seven each. Booker led the defense with two tackles for loss in the game. Accounting for tackles for loss as well were Rickey Rodriguez (SR/Port St. Lucy, Fla.) and Charles Johnson (SO/Phoenix, Ariz.), each accounting for one in the game to go along with a pass break up each. Bethel's defense after five games is now #2 in the country in terms of pass defense per game (only allowing an average of 118 YPG). They are also #3 in total defense, having held opponents to an average of 262 YPG.
Jaylen Sykes led the ground game for the Threshers with 226 rushing yards on the day and one rushing touchdown. Sykes is now #8 in the country in terms of rushing yards per game (114.8), and second in the KCAC. The holes that were paved for Sykes to have a great rushing performance were made by the offensive line which includes, Santiago Aragon (SR/Mora, NM), Kyle Wilson (JR/California City, CA), Anthony Romero (SR/Salinas, CA), Henry Baxter (SO/Dothan, AL), and Kerry Washington (SR/Wichita, KS).
The Threshers next game will be an away contest against Sterling College on 10/15/16, set for a 1:30pm kickoff.