Reinhardt University made the best case it could for a spot in the NAIA Football Championship Series, setting program records for passing, total yardage, and scoring as the Eagles won the Mid-South Conference West Division with a, 66-49, win over Campbellsville in Campbellsville, Ky., Saturday afternoon.
“It was exciting, and it was stressful, but it was great. To do this without a key starter on either side of the ball is really special,” said RU head coach Dr. Danny Cronic.
Coach Cronic wasn’t going to play a political game as to whether or not his team deserves a playoff spot. “I don’t know if my opinion will carry a lot of weight,” said Cronic. “If it came down to between us and Faulkner, I think we should get in there since we beat them. But there are a lot of great teams in the conference. It’s so tough to take a lot of teams from one conference. We would love to be in the playoffs, but I’m not trying to say we should be. But we were very happy with how today went. They might try to give out stuff that says we end up as co-champions, but in my opinion, because of what we did on the field [against Faulkner], we are the champions. I feel very strongly about that.”
Ryan Thompson threw for 424 yards and three touchdowns on the day, with each scoring strike at least 40 yards. Twice, Thompson hooked up with Tyler Bradley, including a 44-yard strike for RU’s first touchdown. After a Campbellsville score, Thompson aired it out again for Aaron Kennedy, who raced 79 yards for an Eagles touchdown.
P.J. Greene finished the day with 114 rushing yards to lead RU as the Eagles rolled up 359 yards on the ground. The Eagles had six touchdowns rushing for the game, also the most the program has ever scored in one game. Jaylen Dodd finished the day with 132 all-purpose yards on 34 yards rushing, 58 receiving, and 40 returning kicks.
Philip Leconte and D.J. Brown each had a sack on the day for RU, with A.J. Thomas, Mike Miller, Trey Bartlett, and Blake Rushing each getting one tackle for a loss. Adrian Hayes hauled in an interception on the final play of the first half for RU.
RU finishes the regular season 6-4, with a 4-1 mark in the MSC-West. Reinhardt lost this season to an NCAA FCS program by three points (40-37), the current No. 1 team in NAIA (28-24), and the current No. 15 team in NAIA (50-45).