Reinhardt Eagles (4-0) at Bluefield Rams (0-5)
Mitchell Stadium Bluefield, Virginia
Saturday, October 3, 2015
Kickoff at 1:30 PM EST
Written by: Kraig Doremus and Ally Hurd
Coming off a 32-28 victory against the University of Pikeville Bears, head coach Drew Cronic and his undefeated Reinhardt Eagles head to Bluefield, Virginia, to face the 0-5 Bluefield College Rams. Bluefield is coming off a 40-14 loss at the hands of Campbellsville University.
When the Eagles Have the Ball
Ryan Thompson, a junior quarterback, leads the Eagles in passing with a completion rate of 67%. In the last game against the University of Pikeville he accounted for 174 yards, with 149 of them coming through the air. Reinhardt has a “big time back,” Niagel Curtis, who averages 72.3 yards per game. He leads the Eagles with six rushing touchdowns on the season. Additionally running back L.J. Steagall averages 52.5 yards a game and has found the end zone on two occasions.
For Bluefield, senior linebackers Ernest Moore and Harry Casseus anchor the defense. Moore leads the team in tackles with 49, including 28 solo stops. Casseus is just behind him with 45 total tackles. Through five games, the duo has combined for 10.5 tackles for a loss. In the Rams most recent game against Campbellsville, Moore led the team with nine tackles, while senior cornerback Anthony Rivers had five. On the season, Bluefield has three interceptions, with sophomore Carlton Toussaint tallying two of them.
When the Rams Have the Ball
On offense, Bluefield is led by sophomore quarterback Cason Whitt, as well as running backs Adrian Pope and Marion Harris, a junior and senior respectively. Whitt is averaging 136 passing yards per game, but has thrown only one touchdown through five games. On the ground, the Rams average an impressive 192 yards per game. Adrian Pope leads Bluefield’s rushing attack, accounting for 72.8 yards, while Marion Harris averages 60.4 yards per game of his own. The two backs anchor a rushing attack that is 16th nationally in total rushing yards with 962 and 25th in rushing yards per game. Against Campbellsville, Harris carried the pigskin 25 times for 189 yards and two scores. He became the third Bluefield Ram to rush for over 100 yards this season. On the season, Harris and Pope have combined to find the end zone seven times, scoring half of Bluefield’s touchdowns.
On the defensive side of the ball for Reinhardt, sophomore Jacob Gross leads the Eagles with 38 tackles and Marcus Miller has 26. Through five games, five different Eagles have interceptions. Sophomore defensive lineman Javier Dyer leads the Eagles with 2.5 sacks. Dyer and fellow lineman Hunter Oswald are ranked 4th in the NAIA Division 1 in fumbles forced per game.
Keys to the Game
Reinhardt’s defense must contain the Bluefield running backs and not allow Pope or Harris to find the end zone. Hitting the duo early and often will be crucial if Reinhardt desires to keep Bluefield off the scoreboard.
Offensively, Niagel Curtis must carry the Reinhardt rushing attack, which averages 333.3 yards per game, good enough for third in the nation. Look for Curtis to get a significant number of caries and test the Bluefield defense.
The Reinhardt offensive line must contain Ernest Moore and Harry Casseus, the two Bluefield linebackers. If Reinhardt can contain the duo and not allow them near the ball carrier, look for the Eagles to have plenty of offensive success against the Rams.
Both the Eagles and Rams look to come out victorious on Saturday afternoon. The Eagles hope to remain undefeated, improving their record to 5-0, while the Rams seek their first victory of the 2015 season. Kickoff is set for 1:30 PM EST on Saturday, October 3, 2015 from Mitchell Stadium in Bluefield, Virginia.
Prediction: Reinhardt 49 Bluefield 14
While this is Reinhardt’s third year in the Mid-South Conference, this is the first meeting between the two schools.
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
October 10th vs #2 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