Oct 03, 2018

Game Preview: Bruins Host No. 22 Whitworth On Homecoming Weekend

A Winning Tradition

  • One post-season appearance (1960 Crusader Bowl)
  • One AFCA Division III Coaches' All-American (Nolan Schuler, 2017)
  • One CoSIDA Academic All-American (Caleb Dalzell, 2017)
  • Two CoSIDA Academic All-District (Caleb Dalzell, 2017; Grant Schroeder, 2017)
  • Three D3football.com All-Americans
  • Four D3football.com All-Region Honorees
  • 37 All-NWC Athletes 
  • Five D3Football.com Team of the Week
  • Nine NWC Student-Athlete of the Week Awards 
  • One Cliff Harris Award Finalist (Charles Riga, 2017)
  • Two NSCA All-American (Justin Kruse, 2015; Dane Jensen, 2017)
  • Two NFL Draft Picks 

By: Jake Bienvenue

NEWBERG –  After dropping a nail-biter in last week's Northwest Conference opener at Pacific, George Fox has the chance to bounce back at home on Saturday, Oct. 6, with a conference matchup against the Pirates of Whitworth University.

George Fox got the better of Whitworth in last year's matchup, beating the then-No. 22-ranked Pirates 43-23 on the back of an offensive explosion. Quarterback Grant Schroeder threw for 261 yards, running back Wesley Riddell rushed for 121 yards, and wide receiver Brad Lander racked up 163 receiving yards to lead the way.

The matchup looks different this time around. At this time last year, the Bruins were surging, looking to extend their win streak to four with a statement victory over a nationally ranked program. This season, George Fox is coming off a tough 19-13 overtime loss to Pacific while the Pirates are on fire, having bested No. 11 Linfield last week to move to 3-0 on the season.

The Pirates are led by junior quarterback Leif Ericksen, who, through three games, has thrown for 804 yards and four touchdowns against just three interceptions while completing 63.7 percent of his attempts. He also leads the Northwest Conference in yards per game, averaging 268. Senior wide receiver Garret McKay has been Ericksen's favorite target, racking up 328 yards and two touchdowns on 25 receptions. Senior running back Mason Elms has been a force as well, rushing for 182 yards and finding the end zone four times.

Although Whitworth has averaged 29.3 points per game in 2018, the Bruins have the personnel to contend with the Pirates' high-powered offense. Charles Riga leads a stacked group of linebackers, which includes Daniel Campos and Austin Shadbolt. Riga has 31 tackles on the season to go along with a pair of sacks and an interception. Campos has 27 tackles and an interception, and Shadbolt has 23 tackles, three sacks, and a pick as well. The Bruins have allowed just 12 points per game while forcing a whopping 14 turnovers through four contests.

The key on Saturday will be stopping the Pirates in the air, where they average 272 yards per game. If the Bruins manage to somehow contain Whitworth's offensive attack, quarterback Jaden Sheffey and company have a good chance to get a win in front of the homecoming crowd.

George Fox and Whitworth kick off at 1:30 p.m. in the Bruins' Stoffer Family Stadium.