In the world of the NAIA, today’s match-up between Reinhardt University and Pikeville University looms large, as both teams seek to solidify their positions within the Appalachian Athletics Conference (AAC). The stage is set in Waleska, Georgia, where football fans are anticipating a pulsating encounter.
After Reinhardt’s nail-biting 28-24 win over #12 ranked Georgetown, tensions are expected to be high. Taylor Jackson, who threw for 183 yards and played a pivotal role in the come-from-behind victory against Georgetown, will be scrutinized closely. Reinhardt’s propensity to pivot during a match, evident when they made a second-half comeback and despite being out-possessed (25:09 to Georgetown’s 34:34), might be a telling strategy in the forthcoming game. With Reinhardt’s passing and rushing yards almost neck-and-neck (270 and 156 yards, respectively) against Georgetown, Pikeville’s defense needs to anticipate a dual-threat offense.
Pikeville, fresh off a 52-10 demolition of Union College, leans heavily on the arm of QB Lee Kirkland. The senior made his mark by setting school and AAC records, not only with a colossal 614 yards but also with 38 completions from 58 attempts. Kirkland’s ability to connect on deep throws, evidenced by an 86-yard TD pass to Derrick Griffith, alongside achieving six TD passes overall, will be something Reinhardt’s defense must suppress. Pikeville’s total offense yards of 681 will certainly loom large in Reinhardt’s defensive planning.
NAIA GAME BROADCAST INFO:
2023 Regular Season, NAIA Conference Game
Reinhardt Eagles vs Pikeville Bears
Date: October 7th | Time: 1:30pm EST
Location: University Stadium – Waleska, Georgia
TV: Southeast Sports Network | TV: Reinhardt University
Radio: Unavailable | Stats: Eagles Athletics
Announcer(s): Gabriel Schray, N/A
The crucial battle likely comes down to how effectively Reinhardt can slow down Pikeville’s aerial attack. Kirkland is coming off a game where he shredded records; keeping him contained or forcing him into mistakes will be vital for Reinhardt. Keon McGhee, who made two vital interceptions in the closing stages against Georgetown, will be paramount in this strategy.
Pikeville, meanwhile, will need to navigate Reinhardt’s potential to switch QBs mid-game, a tactic successfully implemented in their previous matchup. The adaptability to shift from Stephin Craig to Taylor Jackson introduces variability in play style and strategy that Pikeville must be ready to counter.
Reinhardt’s management of time and ball security will be under the microscope, especially considering they were out-possessed and had two turnovers against Georgetown. Pikeville, having witnessed these aspects, might plan to control the clock and apply pressure to exploit potential weaknesses.
Reinhardt Players to Watch:
- Taylor Jackson (QB): His ability to switch the game tempo and connect in crucial moments can be a game-changer.
- Jerdavian Colbert (RB): A consistent running game from Colbert could balance Reinhardt’s offensive approach and prevent Pikeville from solely zeroing in on their passing game.
Pikeville Players to Watch:
- Lee Kirkland (QB): Clearly the linchpin of Pikeville’s offense, his arm and decision-making will significantly impact the game’s outcome.
- Derrick Griffith (WR): His ability to haul in deep throws and accumulate massive yards after catch (YAC) can break open the game at any moment.
This match could be a pivotal moment in the AAC narrative, with both teams showcasing potent offenses in their recent outings. It will likely be a contest of differing offensive philosophies – Pikeville’s potent aerial attack against Reinhardt’s more balanced offensive approach. Which defense manages to make the crucial stops may well determine who emerges victoriously in this pivotal NAIA clash. It’s not just a game; it’s a battle for establishing dominance and solidifying playoff aspirations in the competitive arena of college football.