Senior outside receiver Andrew Bodenheimer
Nov. 23, 2012
By Bill Woodward
GREENVILLE, N.C. - Early in the first quarter on Friday against Marshall, East Carolina's Andrew Bodenheimer caught a 37-yard pass to set up the Pirates' first touchdown against the Herd and extend his consecutive games with a reception streak to 32.
Four hours later, he was celebrating a senior day to remember - capping his final game in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium with a 25-yard touchdown catch in the first overtime and moments later celebrating a 65-59 double-overtime victory over Marshall.
"It was so sweet," Bodenheimer said of the victory. "Just a crazy game. I have never been a part of such a back-and-forth game. It was awesome to get that win. It felt good to contribute to that. Being senior day, I wanted do everything I could for my team. It just happened that I was able to make that play [in overtime] and contribute to my team. I am just so happy that my guys fought to the end and played with their hearts and we were able to get that win."
That sums up the career of the 6-foot-3, 202-pounder from Clemmons, who walked on for the Pirates and went on to become one of the most consistent receivers in ECU history.
He has caught passes in 32 straight games now, having grabbed a pass in every contest since a game on Oct. 10, 2010 against Southern Miss. Bodenheimer's 306 yards receiving this season give him 1,247 for his career.
"It was a great feeling to be able to be a part of something like this," Bodenheimer said Friday, reflecting back on his career after his final game at Dowdy-Ficklen. "Coming from a walk-on to a starter and being able to make plays for my team and do whatever I can for my teammates. I am so happy and so blessed to be a part of it."
Bodenheimer has earned the respect of his teammates and his coach.
"He epitomizes what we want on this team in the intangibles, no ego, no entitlements, team first," ECU coach Ruffin McNeill said. "He's never late for anything, works hard and gives his all on every single play. He's smart, an exceptional student.
"I love Bodi. He is the epitome what it means to be on this football team. I am proud of Bodi and what he brings to the table. He comes to work every day and brings his lunch pail every day."
Bodenheimer had a senior day - and a senior season to remember. There is still the possibility of a spot in the Conference USA championship game if UAB upsets UCF on Saturday. And a bowl game is there for the Pirates, who finished the regular season 8-4 overall and 7-1 in C-USA.
The Pirates were a relatively young team this year, with their quarterback and top receiver both sophomores and a roster full of underclassmen.
But Bodenheimer made sure that he set the tone before the season started.
"After the season last year, we got together as a team," Bodenheimer said. "I told them we are not going to be a stepping stone, not going to be a foundation. We are going to make things happen this year and let people know what Pirate football is going to be about now and for the future. I think we have done this so far."
Bodenheimer showed the way each week, always there to grab a pass at the right moment. Always working in practice. And on Friday, just like every other week, he was up to the challenge. In a game that needed every ounce of energy that the Pirates had in them.
"Coach Ruff told us it was going to be a dogfight," Bodenheimer said. "We knew we had to fight to the end and find a way to win like we have all season.
"I'm so proud of my teammates for showing a lot of heart."
Just like Bodenheimer, the walk-on who became a big contributor to the Pirates' success, did his entire career.