|September 26, 2009||1st||2nd||3rd||4th||Final|
|C-N||FG||14:55||Lopez 23 Yd|
|C-N||TD||13:00||Wakefield 8 Yd Run (Lopez kick)|
|C-N||TD||06:59||Good 6 Yd Run (Lopez kick)|
|NEW||TD||02:11||K. Tindal 56 Yd Pass From B. Gantt (N. Toole kick)|
|NEW||TD||11:08||B. Bostick 38 Yd Pass From B. Gantt (N. Toole kick)|
|NEW||TD||07:05||B. Gantt 1 Yd Run (N. Toole missed kick)|
|C-N||FG||11:38||Lopez 27 Yd|
|C-N||FG||00:37||Lopez 35 Yd|
|Stats at a Glance||NEW||C-N|
|3rd Down Conversions||3-14||3-10|
|4th Down Conversions||1-1||0-1|
|Passing (Comp-Att)||275 (14-33)||11 (2-6)|
|Rushing (Att)||80 (28)||356 (59)|
JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. - The 16th-ranked Newberry College football team came back from an early 17 point deficit, but two late Eagle field goals gave Carson-Newman a 23-20 victory to open the South Atlantic Conference season.
Newberry (2-2, 0-1 SAC) rattled off 20 straight points, but poor ball security in a constant driving rain doomed the scarlet and gray in a gutsy effort. The two teams fumbled the ball 16 times, with Newberry losing the ball five times via the fumble and Carson-Newman (3-2, 1-0 SAC) turning it over four times on the turf.
Josh Williams (Duncan, S.C.) put together a career day on the defensive side of the ball. The senior linebacker made an astounding 17 tackles, forced a fumble and recovered another. Ron Parker (St. Helena Island, S.C.) continued his excellent season with nine tackles and a pass breakup, while preseason all-SAC pick Lance Clark (Florence, S.C.) made nine tackles, including one for a loss, and notched a quarterback hurry.
Offensively, senior quarterback Brandon Gantt (Lexington, S.C.) once again led the way, completing 14-of-33 passes for 275 yards and two touchdowns. Gantt has now passed for 1,020 yards this season and 2,412 yards in his career. Kelton Tindal (Sumter, S.C.) was the leading receiver with four catches for 103 yards and a touchdown, while David Brown (Goose Creek, S.C.) had four catches for 56 yards. Brandon Bostick (Florence, S.C.) caught three passes for 63 yards and a score and David Smith (Union, S.C.) had three catches for 53 yards.
S.J. Worrell (Madison, Ga.) was the leading rusher for Newberry with 11 carries for 37 yards, while Gantt carried the ball seven times for 21 yards and a touchdown.
Carson-Newman was led by senior quarterback Alex Good, who rushed 25 times for 203 yards and a touchdown and completed 2-of-6 passes for 11 yards and a touchdown. It was the second consecutive season Good rushed for over 200 yards against Newberry. Carlos Lopez broke the stereotype of poor Carson-Newman kicking by single-footedly winning the game, going 3-for-3 on field goal attempts, connecting from 23, 27 and 35 yards out.
Defensively for the Eagles, it was the Mario Russell show as the senior safety tied the Division II record with four forced fumbles, made eight tackles and broke up five passes. No other Eagle had more than four tackles, but Russell's performance made up for it.
Both sides had trouble adjusting to the torrential rain in the early going, as neither team could generate a score until Lopez' field goal from 23 yards out on the first play of the second quarter. After the field goal, Newberry fumbled the ball on its own 35-yardline and Carson-Newman converted that turnover into a touchdown in just three plays to take a 10-lead with 13:00 left until the half.
The fumble bug hit both teams following the score, as the teams traded possessions on three fumbles over the course of seven plays. Carson-Newman recovered the last of those fumbles at the Newberry 35 and took six plays to punch it into the endzone for a 17-0 lead.
The Newberry offense continued to scuffle until the last four minutes of the half, but answered quickly after Andre Moyd (Andrews, S.C.) recovered a fumble forced by Marcus Nelums (Columbia, S.C.) at the Newberry 30 with 3:24 left in the half.
Back-to-back 7-yard carries by Gerald Legree (St. Helena Island, S.C.) and Alkeem Sherman (Conway, S.C.) gave Newberry a first down for the first time in the game with about two and a half minutes left. The second first down came in quick succession as Gantt connected with Tindal for a 56 yard touchdown pass to cut the C-N lead to 17-7 with 2:11 remaining in the half.
It was the first time Newberry scored in the second quarter this season, and gave the scarlet and gray momentum as they received the kickoff to open the second half.
The offensive efficiency was much tighter for Newberry in the third quarter, with the scarlet and gray taking the opening drive 79 yards in eight plays to cut the lead to 17-14. Gantt hooked up with Bostick for a 38-yard touchdown on third-and-27 after an apparent touchdown was wiped out for offensive pass interference on the previous play.
Just two plays later, Newberry found itself on the move again, as Derrell Kinard (Boiling Springs, S.C.) recovered a Ricky Harris fumble. After a 38-yard completion from Gantt to Tindal put Newberry in the Eagles' red zone, the guests kept the ball on the ground and took the lead on a 1-yard quarterback keeper touchdown by Gantt. The PAT was missed to make it a 20-17 Newberry lead.
Good was the catalyst for the next drive, but Newberry buckled down inside the red zone, limiting C-N to a Lopez field goal that tied the game at 20-all. After Newberry went three-and-out on the next drive, the Eagles drove deep into NC territory, but the War Party defense kept the hosts off the board, stopping Good on fourth down at the Newberry 9.
Newberry moved the ball well to get out from the shadow of its own goalpost, but Russell's fourth forced fumble was the biggest, as Carson-Newman was able to recover David Smith's fumble at the NC 32. As Carson-Newman drove into Newberry red zone again, the Eagles fumbled the balls on back-to-back plays with Good coming out of the pile with the ball both times.
Lopez was forced into the toughest kick of the day, but drilled the 35-yarder with 37 seconds to play to put Carson-Newman up, 23-20.
Newberry was able to gain 16 yards on the last drive of the game, but an aggressive Carson-Newman defense forced five incompletions to secure the victory for the hosts.
Carson-Newman slightly outgained Newberry in total offense, 367 yards to 355 yards, with 356 of Carson-Newman's yards coming on the ground. Carson-Newman held onto the ball for 35:53 compared to Newberry's 24:07. The Eagles were 5-of-7 in the red zone, while Newberry scored on its only venture inside the C-N 20.
Newberry will stay on the road for another tough South Atlantic Conference test, taking on nationally-ranked Catawba College in Salisbury, N.C. on Saturday, October 3. Kickoff at Shuford Stadium is set for 1:30 p.m.