FERRUM, Va. – Bridgewater College controlled play in the first half and had opportunities in the second half, but a number of missed opportunities and a dominating performance from Ferrum in the second half proved to be too much to overcome as the Eagles football team fell in a non-conference affair by a 37-6 score to the Panthers.
Ferrum quarterback Marcus Mayo went over 100 yards passing and rushed for an additional 128 yards on the afternoon to hand the Eagles their first loss of the season.
The Eagles struck first out of the gate when Gonzalez led the team downfield into the Panthers redzone. Bridgewater's drive stalled out inside the ten before a 22 yard Will Davis field goal put the Eagles up by a 3-0 tally with 10:09 to play in the first.
Ferrum looked to respond immediately when they pushed the ball inside the Eagles redzone, but the Panthers field goal attempt went wide left keeping Bridgewater ahead by a 3-0 score.
After the next Eagles drive went three and out, Ferrum answered on its next offensive possession when the Panthers moved to the Eagles 17 before a Scott Puschell 34 yard boot knotted the game at three each with three and a half left in the first stanza.
Following a Gonzalez interception on the ensuing Bridgewater drive which set the Panthers up with good field position, an option pass on the first play of the drive went 25 yards to the endzone to give Ferrum a 10-3 advantage with 1:48 to play in the opening frame.
Bridgewater looks to answer on its next drive as tailback Anthony Carter moved the Eagles back inside the Ferrum redzone, but a Gonzalez pass was intercepted at the four to keep the game at a seven point Panthers advantage.
Both defenses settled in during the second quarter, before Bridgewater mulched its way downfield on its next offensive possession to move into field goal range, but the kick was blocked, keeping the game at a 10-3 Panthers advantage as the two teams headed to the locker room.
After receiving the ball to start the second half, Ferrum pushed the ball across midfield before a 49-yard touchdown strike from Marcus Mayo to Tyler Brubaker put the Eagles in a hole at a 17-3 tally.
Bridgewater responded to the Ferrum score, moving the ball back inside the Panthers five, but had to again settle for a Davis chip shot, cutting the deficit to 17-6 midway through the third quarter.
Ferrum moved the ball at will on the ensuing drive as Mayo broke free on a 30-yard run and completed a 38-yard pass to set up a QB keeper from the one to push the Panthers lead to 24-6 with 3:07 to play in the third quarter.
Things started to look up after a Eugene Cummings kick return gave the Eagles good field position across midfield to start the offensive set. Following a 15 yard Carter carry which put the senior over the century mark, Bridgewater moved back into the Ferrum redzone but the drive stalled out on fourth down at the 18, keeping the score at a 24-6 tally as the game headed to the fourth.
Ferrum put the game away on a two-yard Darrick Young carry to extend its lead to a 31-6 margin with nine minutes and change to play.
The Panthers added a late score on a two-yard Corey Smith carry to finalize the scoring at a 37-6 tally.
Ferrum outgained Bridgewater by a slim 370-to-341 tally, with the majority of the Panthers' yards coming in the final 30 minutes.
Bridgewater outpassed Ferrum by a 157-to-147 tally behind a 14-of-29 performance from Gonzalez. The junior tossed two picks in the game.
The Eagles controlled the time of possession battle by 31:29-to-28:31 margin and posted 21 first downs on the day, while holding the Panthers to 16 first downs.
Carter rushed for 100 yards on 19 carries in his first game of the season.
Linebacker Chris Wholey paced the way for the defense with 10 tackles, including eight solo stops.
Ferrum was led defensively by Melvin Trotter and Marocco McNeil's 10-tackle performance.
The loss was the most lopsided loss for the Eagles since a 46-7 loss to Wesley in the third round of the 2005 NCAA Division III Playoffs.
Bridgewater is back in action on Saturday, October 1 when Apprentice comes to town. Action is slated for a 1:00 p.m. start.