After struggling to put points on the board in last week?s 27-6 loss at Southwestern, the Tabor College football team responded in a big way. The 11th-ranked Bluejays provided more than enough offense in a 70-35 blowout at Kansas Wesleyan Saturday.
In his first start as a Bluejay, freshman quarterback Jordan Bernhardy made his presence known, leading a Tabor offense that rolled up 657 total yards, including 517 on the ground. Bernhardy was Tabor?s leading rusher with 15 carries for 171 yards and six touchdowns. Cody Coleman also surpassed the century-mark with 10 carries for 149 yards and two scores. Through the air, Bernhardy completed five of 11 attempts for 122 yards and two touchdowns.
Kansas Wesleyan, meanwhile, tallied 450 yards of total offense, including 363 passing and 87 rushing.
Tabor set the tone early by scoring on the game?s opening drive. A 76-yard opening kickoff return by Brandon Johnson put Tabor at the Coyote 12-yard line, and the Bluejays punched in their first score of the afternoon in four plays, scoring on a 3-yard quarterback keeper by Bernhardy. After Jared Slavens? extra-point kick, Tabor led 7-0 just 1:40 into the game.
Following back-to-back punts, the Coyotes evened the score with a 61-yard touchdown pass from Jake Curran to Mitch Kufahl on the first play of the drive. The extra-point kick tied the game at the 9:17 mark.
Two minutes later, Tabor was again in the end zone. A 35-yard run by Jonah McKee put Tabor at the Coyote 15, and four plays later, Coleman ran 7 yards for the score. Slavens? kick made it 14-7 Tabor.
After a Coyote three-and-out, the teams concluded the first quarter by scoring on three consecutive possessions. Tabor added a score on a 2-yard Bernhardy run seven plays into the drive, then Kansas Wesleyan fired back with an 8-play scoring drive capped by an 11-yard Curran touchdown pass to John Lewis with 17 seconds left in the opening period to bring the Coyotes within 21-14. With just seconds remaining in the first quarter, Bernhardy threw a 62-yard touchdown strike to Coleman on first down. Slavens? kick increased Tabor?s lead to 28-14 at the end of the first quarter.
The Tabor defense punished Kansas Wesleyan all afternoon?Tabor recorded 12 sacks on the day?and after a Coyote three-and-out to start the second quarter, Tabor scored on three consecutive drives. Bernhardy completed a 26-yard touchdown pass to Torrey Gill for Tabor?s first score of the quarter, capping a seven-play, 66-yard drive. On the first play of Tabor?s next drive, Bernhardy ran 84 yards for a touchdown. Bernhardy scored again three plays into the next Bluejay drive, this time on a 25-yard run, to put Tabor in front 49-14 after Slavens? kick.
The Coyotes responded by marching 65 yards in 11 plays and scoring on a 25-yard touchdown pass from Curran to Lewis, bringing the Coyotes within 49-21 after the extra-point kick with 3:29 left before the break. That score held until halftime.
Each team added a touchdown and extra-point kick in the third period. Tabor scored on its first drive of the second half, covering 71 yards in 11 plays and scoring on a 1-yard Bernhardy run. Kansas Wesleyan managed a score with 1:27 left in the third period when Taylor Sachs found the end zone for a 1-yard score that made the score 56-28 heading into the final quarter.
The fourth quarter began with Tabor again on the move, and Bernhardy was in the end zone three plays in for a 16-yard score. Tabor?s final score of the night came with 9:52 left in the game when Coleman scored on a 37-yard run three plays into the drive for a 70-28 Tabor margin after Slavens? kick.
Kansas Wesleyan managed one final score on a 34-yard touchdown pass from Curran to Lewis with 6:48 to go, bringing the score to the final, 70-35 margin.
Coming?Tabor (3-1, 5-1) will host Friends (3-1, 4-2) for homecoming Saturday at 2 p.m.
For scores and updates during football games, follow Janae on Twitter @janaerem13