Faulkner Eagles (3-1) at Reinhardt Eagles (5-0)
Ken White Field Waleska, Georgia
Saturday, October 10, 2015
Kickoff at 12:00 PM EST
Written by: Taylor Pineda and DeVante Wynn
Coming off an 80-14 victory against the Bluefield College Rams, head coach Drew Cronic and his undefeated Reinhardt Eagles host the Eagles of Faulkner University at home this weekend. Faulkner is coming off a 59-50 loss vs. Campbellsville University.
When Reinhardt Has the Ball
Niagel Curtis, a senior running back, leads the Eagles and averages 80.8 yards per game. He also leads the Eagles with nine rushing touchdowns. In the last game against the Bluefield College Rams, Curtis scampered for 116 yards on the day and had three touchdowns. Additionally, L.J. Stegall and Sam Jones are two other prominent players of the Eagle’s offensive rushing attack. Stegall, who averages 60.2 yards a game, found the end zone on three occasions this season while Sam Jones, who averages 52 yards a game, found the end zone twice. Currently, Reinhardt is the top-ranked rushing team in the nation averaging 374.2 yards per game. Because of the team’s overall success, the Eagles will continue to execute their Wing-T style offense with outstanding force and speed.
For Faulkner, senior linebacker Caleb Taylor and senior defensive back Dennis Thames are the strong points for the defense. Taylor leads the team in tackles with 42, 13 of them being solo. Thames is trailing behind with 34 tackles, including 13 solo stops. This season, the Eagles recorded 29 sacks and 51 tackles for loss against their previous opponents.
Photo Credit: Stephanie Scott, Reinhardt Football
When Faulkner Has the Ball
Offensively, Faulkner has plenty of weapons. Quarterback, Clayton Nicholas is a Texas Tech transfer with a big arm who slings it all over the yard. Nicholas is 103/176 for 1,385 through the first four games. Nicholas has totaled 16 touchdowns with only three interceptions so far this season. Nicholas had four touchdowns, one interception, and 380 yards in a 28-of-59 effort last Saturday against the Campbellsville Tigers. At wideout, Faulkner receiver Rob Lockhart leads the talented bunch with 8 touchdowns this season and is coming off another big game. Lockhart caught nine passes for 187 yards and three touchdowns in the loss. Tailback Joe Jones is Faulkner’s primary option on the ground accumulating 363 total yards this season. Jones added 123 of those yards and two of those touchdowns this past Saturday.
Defensively for Reinhardt, the Eagles will rely on the consistent play of sophomore linebacker Jacob Gross who leads the team with 40 total tackles through five games. Defensive end, Javier Dyer will need to add to his sack total of 3.5 if RU plans to slow down the passing game of Faulkner. Cornerbacks Nick Johnson and Christian Hill, who combine for a career total of 5 interceptions, will need a big day against the talented bunch of receivers from Faulkner if RU wants to remain undefeated.
Keys to the Game
Reinhardt’s offense must continue to build on their scheme’s success. If the Eagles are able to establish a running game as they did prior to this game, they will have a great chance of winning.
Offensively, Niagel Curtis must carry the rushing attack for Reinhardt. In addition, L.J. Stegall and Sam Jones must have a great game as well.
Reinhardt must win the turnover margin and secure the ball. The offense must protect the ball while the defense must create turnovers and continue to give scoring opportunities for their offense.
Reinhardt must be able to get pressure on Faulkner’s quarterback. Nicholas is not a dual threat and has absolutely destroyed defenses who allow him to sit in the pocket.
The Reinhardt offensive line must continue to provide support and protect their quarterbacks. The Eagles only allowed two sacks on the season.
Both of the Eagles’ teams look to come out victorious this Saturday afternoon. These teams are well-known rivals and the game will be a battle. The Reinhardt Eagles hope to remain undefeated, improving their record to 6-0, while Faulkner seeks to earn their first win in Mid-South West Conference play. Kickoff is set for 12:00 PM EST on Saturday, October 10, 2015 from Ken White Field in Waleska, Georgia.
Prediction: Reinhardt 42 Faulkner 28
These teams will be meeting for the third time in the Mid-South Conference. The first two meetings were decided by a total of 7 points, and the series is tied at 1-1. In 2013, Reinhardt won 28-24. In 2014, Faulkner won 52-49 due to a last-second overtime touchdown.
August 29th @ Point University W 73-21
September 12th vs Kentucky Christian W 52-3
September 19th @ Georgetown College W 22-19
September 26th vs University of Pikeville W 32-28
October 3rd @ Bluefield College 1:30 PM EST W 80-14
October 10th vs #10 Faulkner University 12 noon EST
October 17th @ Cumberland University 1 PM EST
October 24th vs #1 Lindsey Wilson 12 noon EST
November 7th @ Campbellsville University 12 noon EST
November 14th vs Bethel University 12 noon EST