Griggs Kick Lifts BC In ODAC Opener
Posted: September 22, 2012
BRIDGEWATER – At one point during its game Saturday, Bridgewater College faced a third-and-48 – yes, third-and-48 – after a pass interference penalty and a high snap moved the Eagles back 38 yards.
“That’s one of the tougher calls you’re going to have to make in football,” BC coach Michael Clark said.
It made more standard difficult calls like fourth-and-7 and third-and-18 seem much more manageable.
BC did more than manage.
Junior quarterback Willie Logan threw for two touchdowns with those downs-and-distances – one for 27 yards in the first quarter, another for 63 in the third – and freshman John Griggs’ 33-yard field goal early in the fourth lifted BC to a 17-14 win over Shenandoah in both teams’ conference opener that turned into an expected defensive battle at Jopson Field.
The Eagles (3-0, 1-0 in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference) got their first serious challenge of the season from the Hornets (1-3, 0-1), who played their first ever game in the ODAC after spending their first 12 years in the USA South.
“[A close game] is something we definitely needed,” said senior defensive tackle Danny Grogg, who had 3 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks. “Because in the first two games, we won by pretty big margins, but that’s something we’re not going to face down the road.”
For most of the afternoon, neither defense gave up much ground. Shenandoah totaled just 212 yards of offense – including 32 on a successful fake-punt pass – while BC had 316. Both teams had exactly 55 rushing yards.
Take out BC’s two explosive scoring plays, and the total yards statistics are almost identical.
The first came with 5 minutes remaining in the first quarter, as BC coach Michael Clark elected to go for it on fourth-and-7 from the 27-yard line rather than have Griggs try a 43-yard field goal in swirling winds.
“We were just going to [try] to get the first down,” Clark said.
Instead, Logan hit sophomore wide receiver Tyler Moneymaker on a curl route around the 15-yard line, and he sprinted into the end zone for a 27-yard touchdown.
“It was just a broken play for them, a blown coverage,” Logan said. “He [Moneymaker] ran a curl and was wide open.”
That score stood into halftime – thanks in part to the Eagles’ miscues that led to the third-and-forever in the second quarter, as the ball moved backward from the Hornets’ 15-yard line to BC’s 47.
Shenandoah tied it early in the third when sophomore quarterback Corey Taylor, who hadn’t played a snap in the Hornets’ first three games, capped a 10-play touchdown drive with a 14-yard keeper early in the third quarter.
But Logan, who went 17-of-31 passing for 261 yards while throwing the first interception of his career, followed with another unlikely touchdown pass. BC ran three vertical routes on third-and-18 from its own 37-yard line, and Logan found the middle man: 5-foot-4 junior wide receiver Shawn Lee.
A Shenandoah defensive back gambled to break up the pass and whiffed, giving Lee room to explode to the sideline and cruise to his second career touchdown midway through the third.
“It was just in the heat of the moment – once I got the ball in my hands and turned, and I felt that he was behind me,” Lee said. “So I just took off right away.”
Again, the Hornets responded, this time by intercepting Logan. SU corner Brandon Martin jumped Logan’s short pass intended for wideout Jayme Perry and returned it to BC’s 3-yard line before a hustling Logan made a touchdown-saving tackle.
It still set up Taylor’s second touchdown of the game, a 1-yard sneak to make it 14-14 as Shenandoah, which was picked tied for last in the ODAC preseason poll, threatened to beat BC (picked fourth) for just the second time since 2000.
“We’re that close to where we need to be,” SU coach Paul Barnes said. “…We can compete in the ODAC. I’m not worried about that.”
Griggs, too, said he wasn’t worried before his second college field-goal try.
Freshman Antonn Briley’s 23-yard punt return set the Eagles up. A few plays later, the 5-foot-7, 150-pound Griggs trotted onto the field, later claiming that he wasn’t nervous – “I was in the zone,” he said.
His 33-yarder from the right hash had a low trajectory and wobbled sideways, but it ended up straight down the middle to give BC its final lead with 8:47 to go.
“One of my coaches always told me, ‘Ugly good is better than pretty bad,’” said Griggs with a smile, noting that he’s most comfortable on the right hash. “I was just happy it went through.”
The Hornets got the ball back three more times, but always with poor field position, and they always stalled early.
BC helped ice the game when Logan completed a 36-yard pass down the sideline to John Lezcano on third-and-8 from its own 9-yard line, as Lezcano ran by Sean Blackman in one-on-one, press coverage with about four minutes remaining.
All of the Hornets’ last three possessions ended with a tackle for loss, including two sacks – a theme of the day, as BC totaled 15 TFL on the game.
“We knew they were going to come out and punch us in the face with the run,” Grogg said. “…We knew coming into this game that we had to just come out and match them.”
Shenandoah 0 0 7 7 — 14
Bridgewater 7 0 7 3 — 17
BC – Moneymaker 27 pass from Logan (Griggs kick), 4:48
SU – Taylor 14 run (Gay kick), 7:53
BC – Lee 63 pass from Logan (Griggs kick), 5:52
SU – Taylor 1 run (Gay kick), 14:56
BC – Griggs 33 field goal 8:47
First Downs 9 12
Rushes-Yards 42-55 40-55
Passing Yards 157 261
Total Yards 212 316
Comp-Att-Int 10-17-0 17-31-1
Punts 9-39.2 8-37.6
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 2-1
Penalties-Yards 7-52 9-83
Time of Poss. 26:35 33:25
RUSHING—Shenandoah, Joseph 19-29, Taylor 12-16, Smith 11-10. Bridgewater, Wright 16-50, Wimer 4-12, Green-Ellis 5-11, Logan 12-8, Lee 1-0, Ayers 1-(minus 3), TEAM 1-(minus 23).
PASSING—Shenandoah, Taylor 9-16-0-125, Gay 1-1-0-32. Bridgewater, Logan 17-31-1-261.
RECEIVING—Shenandoah, Bell 5-53, Wilmott 2-19, Wright 1-38, Blackman 1-32. Bridgewater, Colee 4-18, Wimer 3-40, Lee 2-71, Moneymaker 2-40.