LINDSBORG — The Avila University Eagles may be just what the doctor ordered for the Bethany College Swedes.
Bethany, coming off an emotionally draining 33-31 loss to arch-rival Kansas Wesleyan in the 100th meeting between the teams last week, hosts winless Avila University of Kansas City, Mo., at 2 p.m. Saturday, the Swedes’ first game in the daylight.
Bethany was a 30-13 winner in the game between the teams last year. Avila limps in with an 0-4 record, including back-to-back losses to No. 5-ranked Missouri Valley (55-6) and 13th-ranked MidAmerica University (38-9).
“They’ve played some good people,” Bethany coach Jamie Cruce said. “They’re probably the best 0-4 team out there. I thought they were a good team when we played them last year and I think they’re better this year.”
Bethany was a 13-12 winner over Southwestern Assemblies in its other nonconference game this year. The Swedes are 1-2 in the KCAC, 2-2 overall.
The Eagles have a balanced offensive attack, rushing for 164 yards a game, while passing for 157. Quarterback Dominic Carmazzi has thrown for 333 yards and Jacob Hicks has added 282, as both see time.
Da’Veion Sullivan has been targeted 20 times for 142 yards, while Robert Johnson is the only other receiver in double figures with 10 catches for 192 yards.
On the ground, Harley Kriesman is the leading rusher with 225 yards and Carmazzi adds 190, though he averages 5.4 yards a rush.
The Bethany offense, which had sputtered through three games, finally found its form in the second half last week against Kansas Wesleyan. Held to just a field goal in the first half, the Swedes put four touchdowns on the board after intermission. They had more than 500 yards of offense, after three games where they were held to just 9.3 points a game.
“To be honest, we didn’t really do anything different except maybe execute a little better,” Cruce said. “And we didn’t turn the ball over. When you execute and don’t turn it over, you have a good chance to win.”