#7 Reinhardt Eagles (8-0) at #17 Campbellsville Tigers (7-2)
Finley Stadium, Citizens Bank Field Campbellsville, KY
Saturday, November 7, 2015
Kickoff at 12:00 PM EST
Written by: Taylor Pineda and Malcolm Anderson
Coming off a bye week, head coach Drew Cronic and his undefeated Reinhardt Eagles travel to Campbellsville, Kentucky to face the Tigers of Campbellsville University. In the Eagles last game on October 24th, Reinhardt defeated then #1 Lindsey Wilson College 42-24. Campbellsville University is also coming off a big win over Lindsey Wilson by a score of 26-21 this past weekend.
When Reinhardt Has the Ball
Niagel Curtis, a senior running back, leads the Eagles and averages 87.1 yards per game. He also leads the Eagles with 17 touchdowns on the ground. In the last game against the Lindsey Wilson College Blue Raiders, Curtis dashed for 129 yards on 23 carries. Curtis set a program record with five rushing touchdowns earning Mid-South Conference Offensive Player of the Week honors. Additionally, L.J. Stegall and Sam Jones are prominent players of the Eagles’ offensive rushing attack. Both Stegall, who averages 71.5 yards a game, and Sam Jones, who averages 50.3 yards a game, found the end zone on four occasions. Reinhardt is the top-ranked rushing team in the nation averaging 362.8 yards per game. Because of the team’s overall success, the Eagles will not only continue to run the ball, but they also will pass the ball effectively. Ryan Thompson leads the air attack for the Eagles. On the season, Thompson averages 167.6 passing yards per game, while completing almost 67 percent of his passes. Aaron Kennedy and Tyler Bradley are the main receiving targets for this offense. Kennedy averages 57.4 yards per game while Bradley averages 55.9. Both players have found pay dirt three times.
For Campbellsville, senior linebackers Bryson Bell, Stephon Tanga, and senior defensive back Percy Minor are the anchors for their defense. Bell leads the team in tackles with 72, 39 of them being solo. He recorded five sacks, seven tackles for loss, four pass deflections, and three forced fumbles on the season. Tanga trails behind with 67 tackles, including 31 solo stops. Minor made 64 tackles, 35 of them being solo. He also tallied four interceptions, eight pass deflections, and forced a fumble on the season. As a team, the Tigers have recorded 22 sacks, 8 interceptions, and 11 forced fumbles against their previous opponents.
When Campbellsville Has the Ball
The Tigers come in with the top ranked passing offense in the NAIA and rank number one in first downs per game. Campbellsville is led by league leading 6 foot 4 inch 240-pound gunslinger Jacob Russell. Russell averages 387 total yards per game with 343 being in the air. The quarterback is also the team’s leading rusher with 495 yards on 107 attempts. Jarrod Harrington and Tyus Alcorn are his two favorite receivers with Harrington having the most receiving yards at 904 and Alcorn having the most touchdowns with 17. As a whole Campbellsville will prove to be Reinhardt’s most significant offensive threat with the most consistently successful offense they would be seeing all year.
The Eagles are led on defense by leading tackler linebacker Jacob Gross who has 60 tackles on the year, and safety Marcus Miller is right behind him with 56 tackles on the year. The Reinhardt defense has made a complete turn-around following last year’s abysmal numbers and looks to prove themselves against the Tigers top ranked offense. The Eagles secondary looks soar to the ball and will rely on excellent coverage from corners Christian Hill and Nick Johnson while linebackers Gross, Tyler Martin, A.J. Thomas and Devante Wynn lead with experience and tenacity. Coming off a bye week the Eagles defense has had time to scout the Tigers offense and by game day should have all the necessary preparations to drastically slow down-if not stop- the Campbellsville offensive attack.
Keys to the Game
Reinhardt’s offense must continue to build on their scheme’s success. If the Eagles are able to establish their offense early 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. In the passing game, Ryan Thompson must locate Aaron Kennedy and Tyler Bradley and capitalize.
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. The Reinhardt offensive line must continue to provide support and protect their quarterbacks. The Eagles have allowed only four sacks on the season.
The Eagle’s defense must apply pressure to the Tiger’s quarterback; if Russell has all day he can and will rack up the yards.
The Eagle’s defense must provide lock down coverage from the secondary, which should provide opportunities for the defensive to bring the quarterback down.
Both of the teams look to come out victorious this Saturday afternoon. These teams have become rivals over the previous years. This game will be a truly tough and hard-fought showdown. The Reinhardt Eagles hope to remain undefeated, improving their record to 9-0, while Campbellsville seeks to stay undefeated in Mid-South West Conference play and improve to 8-2 to conclude their 2015 regular season campaign.
Prediction: Reinhardt 49 Campbellsville 35
The winner of the game will determine the 2015 Mid-South West Division Champions. The Eagles are 3-0 while the Tigers are 4-0 in conference play. These teams will be meeting for the third time in the Mid-South Conference. In 2013, Reinhardt won in Campbellsville, Kentucky 66-48. In 2014, however, Campbellsville won in Waleska, Georgia 31-14. Currently, the series is tied at 1-1.
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 #10 Faulkner University W 55-27
October 17th @ Cumberland University W 52-18
October 24th vs #1 Lindsey Wilson W 42-24
November 7th @ Campbellsville University 12 noon EST
November 14th vs Bethel University 12 noon EST