Tabor College climbed into a three-way tie for first place in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference by rolling over Bethany College, 44-7, and spoiling the Swedes’ homecoming in the process.
The Bluejays now stand at 4-1 in the KCAC and 5-2 overall. They share the top spot with Ottawa and Kansas Wesleyan.
Tabor set the tone for the game by converting on a fourth-and-one pass from quarterback Simon McKee to running back Nate Harrison with 5:12 left in the first quarter. Joe Cannon’s kick made it 7-0.
On the ensuing kickoff, Tabor’s Cody Godshall recovered a Bethany fumble, setting up an 21-yard field goal by Cannon for a quick 10-0 lead.
Midway through the second period, Bethany pieced together a 12-play drive and capped it with a 16-yard scoring pass from quarterback Darby House to James Johnson.
But Tabor got the score back when running back Brandon Johnson capped a 42-yard drive with a 26-yard touchdown pass from McKee with 5:32 left in the half.
An interception by Tabor defensive back Nik France at the Bluejays’ 20-yard line preserved the 17-7 lead going into halftime.
The Bluejays continued their dominance in the second half, holding Bethany scoreless while rolling up 27 more points.
Korie Lewis got it going for Tabor when he intercepted a Bethany pass at the Swedes’ 20-yard line. Roger Mujica scored moments later on a 2-yard pass from McKee for a 24-7 Bluejay bulge with 11:38 left in the third quarter.
With 1:04 left in the quarter, Harrison scored his second touchdown of the game on a five-yard run.
In the final seconds of the quarter, an interception by Tabor’s Daniel Krehbiel set up a 13-yard touchdown run by James Monroe Jr. on the first play of the fourth quarter.
France then rounded out the scoring when he snagged his second interception of the game and raced in for a 44-yard touchdown at the 6:32 mark.
The two teams were about even in first downs, but the Bluejays finished with 354 yards of total offense to Bethany’s 234. Tabor’s ground-based attack amassed 253 yards with Monroe finishing with 91 yards on 18 carries to lead the way. McKee added 101 yards through the air on 9-for-14 passing with no interceptions.
Tabor’s defense, meanwhile, limited the Swedes to 16 rushing yards on 23 carries. House finished with 218 passing yards on 18-for-38 passing, but the Bluejays generated four sacks and four tackles for losses to go with its four interceptions.
“This was the most complete game we’ve had all season,” coach Mike Gardner said. “We took advantage of turnovers and field position. We finished drives and played like we were supposed to in all three phases.
“Nik France had a great game as did Simon (McKee),” Gardner added. “We allowed him to audible and he did a nice job of guiding the offense.”
Coming—With the cancellation of the McPherson game Saturday, the Bluejays will get a chance to sharpen their skills before returning to action Oct. 27 with a home game against Bethel (0-6, 0-5). Kickoff is 1:30 p.m. at Joel H. Wiens Stadium.