Cardinals fall to Eagles in season finale on Senior Day

WASHINGTON – CUA’s Mike Smith scored his third touchdown of the day to pull the Cardinals within ten early in the fourth quarter vs. Bridgewater on Saturday, but that was as close as CUA got as it fell 38-28 in the season finale on Senior Day.  With the loss the Cardinals finish the year with a record of 4-6 overall and 2-4 in the ODAC.

Both teams ran the ball very well on Saturday with Bridgewater totaling 197 yards on the ground and the Cardinals rushing for 175.  Freshman Mike Pitsenberger led the way for the home team with 80 yards on 19 carries, while Smith added 40 yards on just four carries. 

Sophomore Greg Cordivari completed 14 of 26 passes under center for the Cardinals, including three touchdowns, with Smith hauling in six of those passes for 35 yards and two scores.  Sophomore Alonzo Cooke caught the other TD and pulled down two passes for 33 yards in all.

The CUA defense was led by senior Christian Pavik, who had an outstanding final game for the Cardinals with a career-best 16 tackles including one for loss.  Freshman Conor Stueckler also registered double-digit stops with 11 tackles, while Kirk Kasa and Vinny Cortese both registered a sack.

CUA hampered itself all afternoon with penalties, as the Cardinals committed 11 for 87 yards, including several costly personal fouls.

Bridgewater’s Hagan Driskell was near perfect under center for the visitors as he completed 20 of 23 passes for 274 yards and four touchdowns, three of which went to Tyler Beiler.  Beiler caught six passes in all for a game-high 125 yards, while Keenan Tillar hauled in six receptions for 92 yards.

Thomas Tate led the Eagles with 83 yards on the ground and T.J. Montague was the team leader in tackles with nine.

After the ball exchanged hands several times, Bridgewater jumped out in front with a three yard scoring pass from Driskell to Nick Wimer at the 1:38 mark of the opening quarter. 

CUA came right back and answered with a score though as Cordivari hit Smith for the first of his touchdowns, this one covering ten yards.  The touchdown was set up by a terrific kick return by freshman Andrew Ouellette that covered 65 yards and put the Cardinals deep in Bridgewater territory.

The Eagles began the second quarter with the ball in CUA territory and four plays later Driskell hit Beiler for a 25-yard score and a 14-7 Bridgewater lead.

The Cardinals got the ball back and marched right down the field to tie things at 14 with a seven-play, 65-yard drive.  The touchdown came on a dazzling 13-yard run by Smith up the left sideline as the Cardinals made it a 14-14 game with 10:13 to play before halftime.

CUA’s lead was short lived however, as Bridgewater answered with a touchdown on its very next drive as Driskell hit Beiler for another score, this one spanning 45 yards.  That capped a quick, three-play, 61-yard drive that took only 1:24 off the clock.

The score remained 21-14 as the teams entered halftime.

Bridgewater received the opening kick of the second half and upped its lead to 28-14 on yet another Driskell to Beiler touchdown pass.  The 31-yard score finished off a 52-yard drive that took just 1:23 to complete.

Unfazed, CUA answered the Eagles with a score of their own, this one coming from the speedy Cooke.  The sophomore caught an eight-yard touchdown from his classmate Cordivari and with 9:48 to play in the third CUA was within seven, 28-21.

The teams continued their back-and-forth affair as Bridgewater scored on its very next drive, with Driskil scoring on a one-yard keeper with 5:07 to play in the quarter.  That was the final score of the third, sending the teams into the final 15 minutes with CUA trailing 35-21.

Early in the fourth Bridgewater added to its lead with a 44-yard field goal by Jordan Thacker, but once again the Cardinals had an answer as they took the ensuing kick-off and went 54 yards in eight plays to pull within ten.  The touchdown came from Smith on a 27-yard pass from Cordivari, and with 10:14 to go CUA had life, down just 38-28.

The Cardinals defense then did its job and got the ball back for the offense, but CUA was unable to score as Cordivari was picked off by Terrell Corley with 5:29 to play.

Bridgewater was then able to gain four first downs and run the clock out as the Eagles ran their winning streak to 11 straight over the Cardinals dating back to 1999.