NAIA
NAIA
Football - Sat, Oct. 8, 2016
News Photo
43
VS
27
(19)Bethel
Union
Final1234F
Bethel (Tenn.) (5-0)131461043
Union (3-3)777627
Barbourville, KY
Bethel (Tenn.)Indv. LeadersUnion
#34 Devan Raymer - 102Rushing #21 Izayah Riettie - 80
#2 Kerry Sellers, II - 177Passing #8 Alex Bell - 311
#21 Jaquell Fitts - 98Receiving #5 Bradley Elkins - 116
Bethel (Tenn.)Team StatisticsUnion
310Rushing Yards 206
177Passing Yards 311
0Turnovers 1
28:49Possesion Time 31:11

BARBOURVILLE, Ky. – In a game that was a lot closer than the final score might indicate, the Union College football team dropped a 43-27 contest to No. 19 Bethel (Tenn.) on Saturday.

The loss drops Union to 3-3 overall, while visiting Bethel improves to 6-0.

"I can promise the folks out there, our kids are giving everything they've got," Union head coach Zak Willis said of the Bulldogs' effort. "Bethel's a top-25, undefeated team. And we've got to learn from this."

The Bulldogs outgained the Wildcats 517-487 and won the time of possession as they held it for 31 minutes and 11 seconds. Yet, a couple of plays on special teams turned the tide in favor of the Wildcats.

Down 13-7 early in the second quarter, Union attempted a 26-yard field goal, but Bethel blocked it to keep it a six-point game.

The Bulldogs attempted another field goal right before the half. Trailing 20-14, Derek Burgett (FR/Somerset, Ky. ) lined up for a 31-yard attempt, but it too was blocked. Eriq Hicks busted through the line to block, sending the ball toward midfield, where Wildcat Christopher Burney scooped it up at the 50 and returned it for a touchdown. Following the PAT, Bethel's lead stretched to 27-14 at the half.

Union struck first in the second half as Izayah Riettie (FR/Lakeland, Fla.) punched the ball in on a 3-yard run with 10:18 to go in the third. The Bulldogs needed only seven plays to cover the 65 yards on the scoring drive, cutting the margin to 27-21.

However, Bethel added a 2-yard touchdown run and a 35-yard field goal to up its lead to 36-21 with 13:16 to play in the game.

The Bulldogs responded with another quick score. Alex Bell (JR/Daytona Beach, Fla.) orchestrated a seven-play, 66-yard scoring drive to pull Union within 36-27. Bell capped the drive with a 17-yard pass to Timius Lowe (FR/Decatur, Ala.) with 10:17 remaining.

The Wildcats sealed the victory when Ayaunta Davis scored his fourth rushing touchdown of the day, a 4-yard scamper to make it 43-27 with 4:35 left on the clock.

Making his second start of the season, Bell recorded his second 300-yard passing game in completing 27-of-46 passes for 311 yards and two scores.

Bradley Elkins (SO/Pikeville, Ky.) has a great day receiving, hauling five passes for 116. One of the top highlights for the Bulldogs was Elkins' 79-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter. Bell hit Elkins around the 50, and the sophomore slot receiver weaved his way down the field, using his fellow wideouts well as blockers in finding the end zone.

"That touchdown run was one of the smartest runs I've seen," said Willis. "He used his blockers well. He's not a speed demon, but he's one smart guy and one tough cookie."

Elkins also handled punting duties for Union, putting the ball three times for 141 to average 47.0 yards per kick. He had a long of 53 yards and placed one punt inside the Bethel 20.

The Bulldogs racked up 206 yards rushing with Riettie leading the way with 80 yards and two scores on 13 carries. Lowe followed with 60 yards on 14 attempts, and Bell scampered for 57 yards on 10 carries.

Bulldog Notes

  • Ryan Coleman (JR/Dacula, Ga.) led the Bulldog defense with 12 total tackles, while Justavious Robinson (FR/Alexander City, Ala.) had 10 total stops.
  • Serge Vita (SR/Pasadena, Calif.) continues to make his presence felt in the opponents' backfield as he finished with a sack and 2.0 tackles for a loss. He ended the day with eight tackles.
  • Bethel collected 310 yards rushing with Devan Raymer leading the way with 102 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries. Davis ran the ball 22 times for 92 yards and four scores.
  • Deyontre Jordan (FR/Lakeland, Fla.) hauled in a team-high six passes for 59 yards. He leads the Bulldogs with 24 catches on the year for 352 yards and 6 touchdowns.
  • The 79-yard touchdown pass to Elkins is the second-longest play from scrimmage for Union this season. The Bulldogs had an 82-yard pass play against Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) on Oct. 1.
  • Riettie now has five rushing touchdowns on the year.

Up Next

Union welcomes No. 11 Georgetown (Ky.) to Williamson Stadium on Saturday. Game time is set for 6 p.m.