Tornados' gritty effort not enough against Bowie State

Box Score

BREVARD, N.C. – The Brevard College football team performed well in its first home game of the 2015 season, but visiting Bowie State scored 21 unanswered third-quarter points to stymie the Tornados in their bid to open the home schedule with a win.


In 2014, Brevard (0-2) ranked sixth in Division II by averaging over 320 rushing yards per game behind one of the nation’s best offensive lines, while Bowie State (2-0) ranked third by racking up 9.9 tackles for loss per contest. The Bulldogs flexed their defensive muscles on Saturday against a proven unit, tackling Brevard behind the line of scrimmage 14 times and sacking Tornados’ signal-caller Tyler Gregory on five occasions.


Meanwhile, the Bulldogs’ offense put up gaudy numbers in the 35-21 victory despite losing the time of possession battle by over 26 minutes. Quarterback Matthew Goggans was 19-for-33 for 352 yards and four touchdowns, finishing fourth in school history in passing yards and tying the school record for touchdowns. Wide receiver Jordan Garrison tied a school record with three touchdowns on his four catches that totaled 157 yards.


Brevard’s defense, however, kept the Tornados in the game for much of the contest as the offense struggled to find its rhythm. The Tornados won the turnover battle, recovering a pair of fumbles and picking off a Goggans pass. Brevard also forced three turnovers on downs in the contest.


The Tornados attempted to manufacture a fourth-quarter comeback, but were unable to overcome Bowie State’s 21-point advantage. After the defense forced a turnover on downs at the Brevard 28, Ashud Moore pounced on a muffed punt after the ensuing drive with under three minutes to play.


Brevard capped a six-play drive a four-yard touchdown run by Xavier McEachern two minutes later to cut the lead to 35-21. A successful onside kick gave the ball back to Brevard with under a minute remaining, but the Tornados were unable to advance past Bowie State’s 45-yard line before time ran out.


The decisive sequence came early in the third quarter, with Bowie State scoring on its first three possessions of the second half and keeping the Tornados off the scoreboard with a defensive stand and a fumble recovery. The win gives Bowie State a five-game winning streak for the first time since 2009 and was the Bulldogs’ fifth straight victory away from home.


Marcus Lunsford led the Tornados with a forced fumble and nine tackles on the afternoon, including six solo efforts, and is now tied for tenth on Brevard’s NCAA-era tackles list with 139 career stops. Mitch Watson and Ty’Reik Faulks each had six stops and combined on a tackle for loss, while Faulks added his first career interception after reading an attempted screen pass perfectly and stepping in front of the intended receiver just as the ball arrived. Kyle Jackson and Brian Hall led the Bulldogs with 10 tackles each.


McEachern paced the Tornados in rushing with 77 yards, while Arvin Berry netted 51 yards and a 26-yard score on seven carries. Gregory notched 36 yards and a five-yard touchdown following Faulks’s interception. He also threw for 42 yards on 6-for-11 through the air, targeting Darius Wade three times.


The Tornados’ season opener at Virginia Union was also decided by a 35-21 margin, marking what is believed to be the first time in Brevard football history that consecutive games ended with the same final score.


Brevard returns to action next Saturday as the Tornados travel to face Wingate in the South Atlantic Conference opener for both teams. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. with the game slated to be broadcast on ESPN3, which is available through www.watchespn.com, and the WatchESPN app.


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