Tabor College dominated every aspect of the game Saturday, taking a 75-6 win from Bethel College in a home conference matchup that set eight school records.
“We could have been a little bit cleaner in the first half,” coach Mike Gardner said, “but it worked out great and it was just an excellent game that we played all the way around.”
With the win, Tabor, now ranked 22nd in the NAIA, improved to 5-1 in the KCAC and 6-2 overall. The Bluejays remain a half game behind KCAC co-leaders Ottawa and Kansas Wesleyan at 6-1.
The Bluejays hit the ground running with two touchdowns and a field goal for a quick 17-0 lead by the end of the first quarter.
They added a field goal to start the second period, before Bethel scored its only points of the game on a long pass to running back Marquis Sykes to make it 20-6.
But Tabor came right back when defensive back Daniel Krehbiel picked up a fumble on the Thresher 21-yard line to set up another Joe Cannon field goal.
With two minutes left, Cannon added a third field goal and Bluejay Donnell Davis returned a kick 50 yards to the Bethel 40 with 37 seconds left. That set up a touchdown run from running back Nate Harrison to end the half with a 33-6 Bluejay lead.
Tabor ran away from Bethel in the second half, racking up 42 more points.
“I thought we came out and did an exceptional job in the second half of just closing them down,” Gardner said. “We put together a great third quarter.”
Tabor struck early with a touchdown scramble from running back James Monroe and a Nik France interception that set up another score to make it 47-6 at 10:20.
A fumble recovery turned into another touchdown with a pass to freshman wide receiver Kaden Anderson to end the third quarter.
Another fumble and another Tabor touchdown set the tone for the fourth quarter. Two facemask penalties and one late-hit penalty brought the Bluejays to the Bethel 8-yard line. From there freshman quarterback Jacob Wenzl ran it in for the final 75-6 margin.
Quarterback Simon McKee led his team with 152 rushing yards for a touchdown and four pass completions for 101 yards and two touchdowns.
Monroe chipped in 96 rushing yards.
Tanner Giffin led the receiving core with two receptions for 58 yards and a score. Anderson contributed a 35-yard touchdown catch.
Cannon had an exceptional day for the Bluejays, kicking four field goals and nine-for-nine extra points to earn KCAC Special Teams Player of the Week honors.
Defensive end Terach Antoine anchored the defense with seven total tackles, helped by Josh Murphy with six and France, Dylan Delk, JoJo Galvez and Chris Sanborn with five each.
France also had an interception for 24 yards. Antoine, Joe Jimenez and Moustapha Mbaye each forced a fumble, with fumble recoveries from France, Krehbiel and Davis.
“It’s hard to gauge anything because it was against a team that was down,” Gardner said. “It makes it tough to get an idea of how well we played. But I couldn’t be more pleased with how the kids responded.”
Coming—Tabor heads into a conference road game with Southwestern College (3-4, 4-5) Saturday, before hosting Friends University (5-2, 6-3) the following week to conclude regular-season play.
“If we can continue to do the same things we’ve been doing on offense and on defense with takeaways,” said coach Mike Gardner, “then I feel like we can match up OK with Southwestern.”
Kickoff is scheduled for 1:30 p.m.