SU Football Week 2: Bridgewater Preview
Greetings From The Booth!
The Shenandoah University Hornet football team started it’s 2019 season (finally) with a nice win at NC Wesleyan. Our 2 “Bens” played well at QB (more on that to follow), and the Hornets picket off 5 Bishops passes, a school record in the 35-19 win. Things got dicey for a while as “Big Mo” took a turn toward the home team in the 3rd quarter, before SU reeled things back in.
There’s an old football saying that if you have 2 starting quarterbacks, you don’t have any. During SU Football Media Day several weeks ago, Coach Yoder told me that indeed his plan was to have just one starting quarterback to begin the 2019 season. On Saturday in Rocky Mount, the time was split evenly between sophomore Ben Rhodenizer and junior Ben Agostino. Both performed well, each showing very different skill sets. Rhodenizer added a running dimension we haven’t seen for awhile at Shenandoah, while displaying a patience that belied his sophomore status. Agostino, meanwhile, fired lazers into tight windows with confidence, trusting his experienced receivers to make plays.
We mentioned the turnovers from the defense, but I want to single out the defensive line. The Hornet D-line, significantly outweighed by the Wesleyan O-line, held their own and allowed the SU linebackers to fill gaps and make plays.
And, the Hornets also showed an ability to overcome adversity on the road Saturday. When things took a drastic turn in the second half and the Bishops got to within 21-19, SU found a way to keep it’s composure and regain separation on the scoreboard. All-in-all, a fun day in North Carolina and a solid team win.
Now, it’s a dive headlong into ODAC play, as the Hornets host Bridgewater Saturday at Shentel Stadium. This will be the 22nd meeting between two teams in a series that goes back to 1932. In the early years following the revival of football at SU in 2000, BC had it’s way with the Hornets, but Shenandoah has won 4 of the last 5 meetings. I should be saying “5 in a row”, but for a crushing defeat last year at Jopson Field that saw the Hornets give up a 20-0 lead and lose 28-20.
BC doesn’t do anything fancy, but what they do, they do well. They will run some multiple-look formations, and even throw in some old fashioned I-formation and option football. And, you always have to be on your toes for a Bridgewater special teams surprise. And they are stingy on defense.
The Eagles are also a veteran group, returning 15 seniors to the starting lineup, including QB Jay Scroggins, who ran for 2 scores and threw for 2 in last years win against SU. With a 2-0 start, Bridgewater will be a confident bunch that marches into Shentel on Saturday night.
For the Hornets to win Saturday, it will again take winning the turnover battle. If the running game can take the pressure off of the inexperienced SU QB’s, I think that Shenandoah will have more than a fighter’s chance to get the “W” at home. It will not be easy.
Again, no prediction this week. I do think that SU will play well, and this game will not be decided until the 4th quarter. The radio coverage from “The Booth” starts at 6:30, with kickoff at 7. Until then…
GO HORNETS…BEAT BC!