Carson-Newman downs Brevard in SAC play

Box Score

JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Brevard trimmed Carson-Newman’s lead to seven early in the second quarter, but 31 unanswered points by the homestanding Eagles proved to be Brevard’s undoing in a 45-14 loss at Burke-Tarr Stadium.

Brevard (0-6, 0-3 SAC) was unable to exorcise its demons against Carson-Newman (4-2, 2-2 SAC), falling to 0-9 all-time against the 21-time South Atlantic Conference champions. The Eagles improved to 10-2 in their last 12 home games and gave head coach Ken Sparks his 329th career victory, moving him within three wins of tying Mount Union’s Larry Kerhes for fifth on the all-time college football wins list and placing him 55 victories ahead of Virginia Tech’s Frank Beamer for most among active coaches.

T.J. Lett’s first career touchdown cut Carson-Newman’s lead to 14-7 with 11:03 remaining in the second quarter. Lett, who had never recorded a catch in his collegiate career prior to the 18-yard reception, broke free down the middle of the field and tiptoed into the back of the end zone to cap a 47-yard scoring drive.

Brevard had gained possession following Amir Williams’s first career interception late in the first quarter. Williams perfectly read Carson-Newman quarterback De’Andre Thomas, stepping in front of the intended receiver to pick off the pass and race down the sidelines. Brevard marched to the end zone in 11 plays, converting a pair of fourth down plays on the drive.

Carson-Newman’s next drive was thwarted by a missed field goal from 41 yards away following a pair of penalties against the Eagles. But the defense stood tall, forcing a three-and-out on the ensuing Brevard possession and setting up the table for a scoring drive moments later to extend the lead to 14 points heading into the locker room.

The Eagles set the tone for the second half on the first play from scrimmage, stripping quarterback Tyler Gregory to set up a short field. While Carson-Newman came away with only a field goal on the possession, the Eagles would score touchdowns on each of their next three drives to put the game out of reach.

Kevin Rucker ensured that the Tornados ended the game on a positive note. The sophomore from Dayton, Ohio scampered around the left side of the line for a 13-yard touchdown with four minutes remaining. The second touchdown in Rucker’s career capped a 16-play, 83-yard drive that took 9:05 off the clock, representing Brevard’s longest drive of the season in all three categories.

Rucker finished as Brevard’s third-leading rusher on the afternoon, carrying six times for 20 yards and the score. Anthony Washington led the Tornados with 68 yards on nine carries, including a 48-yard run early in the third quarter that fell one yard shy of matching his career long rush. Arvin Berry chipped in 43 yards on 12 carries, doing most of his damage up the middle of the field.

Jason Nieradka led Brevard in tackles for the third straight game, totaling 11 stops on the afternoon and notching half of a tackle for loss for the first time this season. Jinsley Jhon had a career-high eight stops and his first tackle for loss, while Mitch Watson was close behind with seven tackles.

Carson-Newman was paced by Noah Suber, who split time with Thomas as the Eagles’ signal-caller. He was a perfect 5-for-5 for 100 yards and a score through the air and carried the ball 12 times for 104 yards and two scores as well. Damian Baker, who entered the game leading the conference with 143.6 rushing yards per game, was second for the Eagles with 86 yards on six carries.

Brevard will return to Memorial Stadium next Saturday to host Limestone in a game televised locally by WMYA My40. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.

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Featured image courtesy of Neil Hayes. Click here to view more photos by Neil.

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