Football Set for Rare Thursday Night Affair with Guilford
BRIDGEWATER, Va. – After a tough loss less than a week ago at home, the Bridgewater Eagles football team is back in action against Guilford College on the road in a rare Thursday night matchup against the Quakers at Appenzeller Field at the Armfield Athletic Center in Greensboro, N.C.
Bridgewater last played on Thursday night in 2010 when the Eagles tangled with Southern Virginia at Salem Stadium, the home of the Stagg Bowl. The Eagles took down the Knights by a 32-23 tally in that game which marked the first regularly scheduled Thursday night game in program history.
This time, the Eagles will do battle with a Guilford squad that hasn't earned a victory in the series since 2006. In the 2007 game which started Bridgewater's current five-game winning streak against the Quakers, the Eagles tallied their highest scoring offensive performance in program history in a 76-28 win.
Last season, the Eagles scored 52 unanswered points in a 59-13 victory over the visiting Quakers on Homecoming Saturday at Jopson Field. Bridgewater's offense was outstanding in the win, racking up a season-best 554 yards. On the ground, the Eagles bulled for 364 yards, led by Anthony Carter's 131 yards on 16 carries. Darrin McKenzie added in 62 yards on six carries, while Willie Logan chipped in 72 yards on just a trio of runs.
Last week, Bridgewater and Guilford each posted different outcomes as the Quakers earned a solid 20-7 victory at Shenandoah. The multiple-touchdown victory for the Quakers was their first since the 2011 season opener against cross-town rival Greensboro in the Gate City Soup Bowl.
Guilford is paced offensively by the play of freshman quarterback Matt Pawlowski. Pawlowski is completing 58.5 percent of his passes for more than 200 yards per game. He has nine touchdown passes on the year but has been picked off four times.
On the ground, tailback Mike Williams is pacing the rushing attack with 313 yards and one touchdown on the season.
Offensively, the Quakers are averaging just shy of 344 yards per game and are putting up 24 points a week.
On the defensive side of the ball, reigning Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) Defensive Player of the Week Robert Smith leads the way for the Quakers. Smith, a linebacker, led the Quakers' defensive effort that limited the Hornets to 206 total offensive yards last Saturday. He had four solo tackles and nine assists, extending his streak of games with 10 or more takedowns to six. Smith leads the ODAC in tackles with 64.
Bridgewater continues to find its offensive identity behind the play of Logan. The junior is averaging 197 yards per game through the air and has thrown seven touchdown passes against just one interception. Logan has tossed 71 straight passes with being picked off and aside from his aerial assault, the Luray, Va. native has rushed for an additional two scores on the season including a one-yard run a week ago.
Sophomore Jacob Wright was limited to a season-low 48 yards last week but is still in the top five in the ODAC in yards per game, averaging 83 yards per outing.
The Eagles have utilized 15 different receivers on the year and are led by the play of tight ends Michael Colee and Cord Keating. The tight end duo has combined for nearly a third of Bridgewater's receptions on the year with 27 total grabs for nearly 293 yards and three scores.
Junior linebacker Andrew Palmer leads a Bridgewater defense that ranks among the nation's leaders in a number of categories. Palmer's recorded 42 stops on the year, including six tackles for a loss. Defensively, the Eagles are ranked in the Top 40 in Division III in total defense, rushing defense and scoring defense. Bridgewater ranks 20th in scoring defense, allowing 13.2 points per game; No. 28 in total defense, giving up 272.4 yards per game; and No. 31 in rushing defense, allowing just 95.6 yards per game.
Guilford owns a 21-17 lead in the series with Bridgewater, which dates back to 1936. The Quakers won 15 of the first 17 meetings, including 12 straight from 1956-1985. Bridgewater has won 12 of the last 13 games, including the last five. Since Guilford joined the ODAC, the Eagles hold a 15-6 series advantage.
For fans who are unable to attend Thursday's contest, the game will be aired live on Fresh 96.1 in the Shenandoah Valley starting with the pre-game show at 6:55 p.m. The game will also be video streamed via Guilford's partnership with NMTVNetworks.