#1 Lindsey Wilson Blue Raiders (6-0) at #8 Reinhardt Eagles (7-0)
Ken White Field Waleska, Georgia
Saturday, October 24, 2015
Kickoff at 12 Noon EST
The 8th ranked Reinhardt Eagles are coming off a 52-18 defeat of Cumberland University, which improved their record to 7-0. Head coach Drew Cronic’s team faces as stiff this weekend as the top ranked Lindsey Wilson Blue Raiders come to Ken White Field in Waleska. The #1 Blue Raiders defeated #18 Faulkner this past weekend 24-19.
When the Eagles Have the Ball
The Reinhardt offense has been excellent when passing or running the ball this season and will look to continue that success against Lindsey Wilson this weekend. Ryan Thompson has been the main quarterback this season and with earning the National Player of the Week award last week, the Eagles will look to him when they need to covert on big plays throughout the game. Thompson has thrown for 934 yards this season while throwing seven touchdowns and averaging 155.7 yards per game. On the ground, the Eagles will look to continue their success by giving the ball to star running back Niagel Curtis. Curtis, the 5’9” 205lb senior, has been the biggest tool that the Eagles have used this year when they needed to find momentum. Averaging 82.3 yards per game, Curtis has found the end zone 11 times this year. Both through the air and on the ground, Reinhardt’s offense has been stellar this year will look to continue that success.
The Lindsey Wilson defense is led by a trio of senior linebackers. Michael Brooks leads the Blue Raiders in tackles with 47, while fellow seniors Jerry Long III and Kyle Curtsinger have 35 stops each. In the team’s recent victory against Faulkner, Brooks led Lindsey Wilson with 11 tackles. He needs only six more stops to break the program record for career tackles, currently held by Sam Wilson. Through six games, the Blue Raider’s defense has 10 interceptions. Freshman Joe Lewis and senior Treon Hill account for five of them. Against Faulkner, Lewis picked off two passes and returned them for a total of 71 yards. To date, Lindsey Wilson is ranked 6th in scoring defense per game among NAIA Division I schools, allowing an average of 15.2 points per contest.
When the Blue Raiders Have the Ball
Reinhardt’s defense this year is only surrendering 19.4 points per game to its opponents thanks to the stellar play of sophomore linebacker Jacob Gross and sophomore defensive lineman Javier Dyer. Gross leads the defense with 58 tackles on the season with 26 of those being solo takedowns. Gross has proven that he can step up and make the big plays when the defense needs him, and Reinhardt will continue to look to the sophomore to make big stops against the Lindsey Wilson defense. His teammate Dyer will also be someone that the team looks to when needing a big play on the quarterback. Dyer has 5.5 sacks on the season, and next to Gross who has two sacks of his own, is the biggest defensive threat for Reinhardt.
The Blue Raiders offensive attack relies heavily on the passing game and is led by sophomore quarterback Dylan Beasley. Beasley, the Bloomfield, Kentucky native is averaging 224 passing yards per game. Through six games, the sophomore has thrown 12 touchdown passes compared to only 5 interceptions and has a completion percentage of 59.4%. On the ground, the Blue Raiders average 147 yards per game. Senior running back Josh Haney has rushed for 314 yards on 50 attempts with five scores. A trio of other players have also found the endzone multiple times via the rushing game, including quarterback Dylan Beasley who has two rushing touchdowns. Junior running back Jalen Sublett is second in rushing yards with 184 but has yet to find the endzone. The Blue Raiders rank 19th in scoring offense with 235 points on the season.
Keys to the Game
Reinhardt must be aware of where Lindsey Wilson defensive back Joe Lewis is at all times. Lewis leads the Blue Raiders with three interceptions including two in their latest victory. If Reinhardt quarterback Ryan Thompson wants to find the endzone through the air he must keep the ball away from Lewis.
Offensively, Reinhardt must rely on its balanced offensive attack to defeat Lindsey Wilson. Signal caller Ryan Thompson will lead the passing game for the Eagles, while running backs LJ Stegall and Niagel Curtis will carry the ball for Reinhardt.
The Reinhardt defense must stop Dylan Beasley, the talented Blue Raider quarterback. Beasley has thrown for 12 touchdowns thus far and the Eagles cannot give him time in the pocket to complete throws if they want to come out on top.
Both the Eagles and Blue Raiders desire to be victorious on Saturday afternoon. The Eagles hope to upset the top team in the country and remain undefeated, while the Blue Raiders hope to leave Waleska with their #1 ranking and perfect record. Kickoff is set for 12 noon EST on Saturday, October 24, 2015 from Ken White Field in Waleska, Georgia and is the NAIA Game of the Week.
Prediction: Reinhardt 24 Lindsey Wilson 21
With both teams being undefeated, this is the first time in school history that Reinhardt will have the chance to start a season 8-0 while also knocking off the #1 team in the country.
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 W 80-14
October 10th vs #18 Faulkner University W 55-27
October 17th @ Cumberland University W 52-18
October 24th vs #1 Lindsey Wilson 12 noon EST
November 7th @ (RV) Campbellsville University 12 noon EST
November 14th vs Bethel University 12 noon EST