McKENZIE, Tenn. - Union stood toe-to-toe with host No. 21 Bethel (Tenn.), but the Wildcats made the most of their opportunities as they scored the 24-17 Mid-South Conference West victory Saturday.
The Bulldogs held ball for over 32 minutes and ran 77 plays to the Wildcats' 52. However, Bethel's big play ability helped it grab the victory despite Union outgaining the hosts by a margin of 370-303.
Unlike it has done all season, Union scored first and scored the final touchdown. However, in between, Bethel took care of matters, outscoring the visitors 24-3 to propel itself to the win.
With the loss, Union falls to 2-4 overall and 1-1 in the MSC West. Bethel improves to 5-1 overall and 3-0 in conference play.
The Bulldogs got another 100-yard game out of Rob Brown (Daytona, Fla.), who finished with a career-high 130 yards on 23 carries. Ryan Moses (Williamsburg, Ky.) completed 17-of-35 passes for 178 yards and a touchdown, and he ran for 39 yards and a touchdown on 12 attempts.
Union took the opening kickoff and and drove it 67 yards in 12 plays to grab a 7-0 lead. Facing second-and-5 from the 8, Moses scrambled his way to the end zone to left the Bulldogs to a 7-0 advantage with 10:21 left in the first.
Bethel then scored on its first three possessions to build a 17-7 advantage. A Tim Donegan 25-yard field goal cut the margin to 7-3, but a Wil Masoud 1-yard plunge put the Wildcats up 10-7 with 2:00 to go in the opening period.
After an interception gave it the ball on its own 28, Bethel marched 72 yards in five plays to extend the margin to 17-7. A 40-yard pass from Masoud to Michael Newbern set up Patrick Cann's 1-yard scoring run with 10:24 left in the half.
With 10:38 to play in the third, Union cut the margin to 17-10 thanks to a 43-yard field goal by Chad Boyington (Stockbridge, Ga.).
But once again, Bethel had an answer as it responded with a five-play, 65-yard drive. Cann scored his second touchdown of the day on a 28-yard run with 8:06 on the clock to make it 24-10.
Union tried to mount a comeback and finally cut the deficit to 24-17 when Moses hit Demetrius Hicks (Frankfort, Ky.) for a 13-yard scoring strike with 1:34 remaining in the game. The Bulldogs attempted an onside kick, but Bethel recovered it and ran out the clock to seal the seven-point decision.
Hicks finished with three catches for 56 yards and a score, while Brown had four receptions for 30 yards and Rolando Dyer (Lawrenceville, Ga.) had four catches for 34 yards. Defensively, Jacob Crothers (Fort Thomas, Ky.) and Zach Eagler (Florence, Ky.) led the way with six total tackles. Jontrel Colbert (Dublin, Ga.) picked off a pass as well.
For Bethel, Masoud completed 9-of-14 passes for 130 yards and rushed for 87 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries. Cann finished with only 46 yards rushing but did score twice.
Union returns home on Saturday, Oct. 15, to play host to Lindsey Wilson (Ky.). Kickoff is set for 12 p.m.