The Ottawa University and Bethel College football teams have contrasting offensive styles. Bethel College is a running team, while Ottawa picks up nearly two-thirds of its offense through the air.
The Threshers average 330.3 yards rushing per game on 55.6 attempts. Bethel ranks second in the NAIA in rushing per game. Bethel averages 5.6 pass attempts per game and completes two. Ottawa is bit more balanced averaging 279 yards passing and 107 yards on the ground. In fact, Ottawa has consistently been a passing team. Dating back to last season, the Braves’ offense has more than 200 yards passing in eight straight games and 11 out of the past 12. Since Oct. 27, 2018, the Braves have thrown for 2,299 yards for an average of 287.3 passing yards per game.
The two KCAC foes meet 1 p.m. Saturday — the first of three straight home games for Ottawa — on the AdventHealth Field turf.
Ottawa comes into the game — riding a five-game skid — after winning the season opener. Four of the five losses were by seven points or less, including last week’s 19-17 setback to McPherson. Bethel, which started the season 4-0, lost two of its past three games. The Threshers snapped a two-game slide with a 25-20 victory at home last week against Friends.
Saturday’s meeting is the 74th between the two rivals. Ottawa leads the series 59-12-2 and is 31-4-2 against the Threshers in Ottawa. The Braves own an 11-game winning streak against the Threshers.
The last time Ottawa lost to Bethel was on Oct. 27, 2007 when Ottawa fell to then No. 10 Bethel, 31-6, in North Newton. Ottawa has not lost to BC in Ottawa since the last game of the 2006 season, which was played at Ottawa High School’s Steve Grogan Stadium. Bethel defeated Ottawa, 42-21, on Nov. 11, 2006.
The Ottawa defense limited McPherson to a season-low 19 points. The Braves defense gives up 34 points and 427 yards per game. Bethel surrenders 310 yards per game, which is ranked 21st in the NAIA for the fewest yards. Bethel’s rush defense ranks No. 9 in the NAIA at 95 yards per game.