Senior Jordan Hartman returned the opening kick of the second half and the Bridgewater Eagles defense held 22nd-ranked Hampden-Sydney to a season-low nine points as the Eagles rolled past conference-leading Hampden-Sydney by a 34-9 score on Saturday afternoon.
The win for the Eagles marks their first victory over Hampden-Sydney since 2006, snapping a seven-game losing streak.
Hampden-Sydney (6-2, 4-1 ODAC) struck first to open the scoring. Nash Nance connected with Mitch Pereira on a 42-yard touchdown strike to build a 6-0 Tigers lead with 9:07 to go in the first.
After an exchange from both squads, Bridgewater struck back to take the lead for good. Ross Rushing punched it in from the two yard line on a keeper to put the Eagles up by a 7-6 score with 46 ticks to play in the first frame.
Bridgewater’s defense rose to the occasion at the start of the second quarter posting back-to-back stops. The Tigers punted the ball away on their first possession of the second stanza and the Bridgewater defense stopped Hampden-Sydney on fourth down to give the ball back to the offense with 10:28 to play in the first half.
Following the defensive hold, a quick six-play drive was capped off by a Rushing to Tyler Moneymaker 23-yard touchdown pass to put Bridgewater out in front, 14-6, which is where the score would stay at the intermission.
Bridgewater’s (6-2, 3-2 ODAC) defense was stellar in the second quarter, limiting the Tigers to just 36 yards on 17 plays as the Eagles took an eight-point lead to the locker room.
Out of the halftime break, the Eagles used a big special teams play to extend the lead to 21-6. Hartman fielded the opening kickoff of the second half at the Bridgewater two and made multiple players miss on his way to a 98-yard touchdown return, handing the Eagles a 15-point advantage.
The Bridgewater defense continued to shine as Lucas Elliott thwarted a promising Hampden-Sydney drive when the senior picked off Nance to end the Tigers’ drive in Eagles territory, but the Tigers wouldn’t be denied on the next series. Hampden-Sydney turned to a heavy ground attack and pushed the ball to the Bridgewater three-yard line. Max Antwerpes split the uprights from 20 yards to trim the Bridgewater lead to 21-9 with 6:58showing on the third-quarter clock.
Bridgewater responded to the Hampden-Sydney score with one of its own. The Eagles went back to the ground and moved into Tigers’ territory on a late-hit penalty. Five plays later, Rushing hooked up with Keith Jenningson a 32-yard seam pattern to cap off an 11-play, 81-yard scoring drive which extended the lead to 27-9 afterChandler DeHaven‘s point after attempt missed.
Hampden-Sydney once again looked to answer but a big hold by the Bridgewater defense kept the Tigers off of the scoreboard. On 4th-and-8, Nance was halted after a seven-yard gain when Samuel Poole pushed the triggerman back to give the ball back to the offense.
Bridgewater went three-and-out prior to the Tigers embarking on a 16-play drive. Nance pushed the Tigers to the Eagles’ 33 and it appeared that the defense held after linebacker Alex Collins intercepted a Nance pass. The interception was overturned on a pass interference call, but on the next play, Sammy Coleman stepped in front of a Nance pass and halted the drive to set up the final score of the game.
Rushing picked up a 19-yard gain on first down but the Eagles effectively put the game away two plays later.Jacob Wright bolted off the left side of the line and sprinted 61 yards to the end zone to extend the lead to 34-9 midway through the fourth quarter.
Both teams were slowed over the final seven-plus minutes of play as the Eagles rolled to their biggest win over the Tigers since 2002 with a 34-9 triumph on Senior Day.
Wright rolled to his second-straight, 100-yard game behind 133 yards on 21 carries. The Manassas Park, Va. native also rushed for a score for the sixth consecutive game.
Rushing was stellar through the air, completing 15-of-25 passes for 189 yards and two scores. The junior was intercepted once.
Moneymaker led the way with three catches for 49 yards and a score.
Defensively, the Eagles were led by nine-tackle efforts from Alex Collins and Nicholas Anthony. Bridgewater amassed 10 tackles behind the line of scrimmage and sacked the Tigers five times on the day. The Eagles held Hampden-Sydney to 310 yards which is its lowest offensive output since the season-opener at Wabash. The nine-point outing for Hampden-Sydney marked a new season low.
Hampden-Sydney was led on the ground by a 37-yard game from Craige Sprouse. The Tigers were limited to 102 yards on 38 carries.
Nance was held in check all afternoon. The senior finished the day 15-of-34 for 204 yards and a score, but he was intercepted twice.
Holton Walker was held to a season-low 37 yards on four receptions.
Defensively, the Tigers were paced by the efforts of John Moore. Moore tallied nine tackles on the day.
The Eagles defense limited the Tigers to a 3-for-18 effort on third down and a 3-for-6 showing on fourth down.
Bridgewater returns to action on Saturday at Randolph-Macon. Start time from Day Field is set for 1 p.m.