Brevard, N.C. – The Brevard College men’s football team opened up their 2008 slate on Saturday night in front of a large crowd of close to 2,500 spectators, losing at home to the Braves of UNC Pembroke 28-0.
With the loss the Tornados fall to 0-1, while UNC Pembroke improves to 1-0 on the year. The Tornados are winless in their three season openers since the program was established in 2006.
In the season opener for both young programs, Brevard in their third year and UNCP in only their second season, the Tornados struggled offensively while the Braves capitalized on three key BC first half turnovers to help seal the victory.
Both teams struggled out of the gates offensively, as the Braves led off the game with a punt, giving the Tornados the ball with 8:35 remaining in the opening frame.
After the Tornados running back John Taylor open up the offensive series with a 13 yard run up the middle, the drive was brought to a quick halt only four plays later as freshman receiver Michael Gist could not hold on to a low screen pass, fumbling the ball and giving the Braves new life at the Brevard 39 yard line.
UNC Pembroke capitalized on the BC blunder, as running back Rashon Kennedy capped off a seven play, 39-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown run putting the Braves on the board first. Kicker Taylor Baskett added the extra point to give UNC Pembroke an early 7-0 lead.
The Braves would again take advantage of a BC turnover in the second quarter, as BC junior quarterback Kye Hamilton had a pass intercepted by Caylon Hann, giving UNC Pembroke the ball at the Brevard 39-yard line.
Again Kennedy found the end zone, this time from eight-yards out, helping to put the Braves on top by two scores at 14-0.
On the ensuing offensive possession, the turnover bug would again bite the Tornados as Hann picked off a long throw by BC’s Hamilton, this time returning it 41-yards to the Tornados 8-yard line.
Only one play later, UNCP quarterback Cory Smith connected with wide receiver Jamal Williams in the end zone, putting the Braves up 21-0 with a little over five minutes remaining in the first half.
The second half saw both teams continue to struggle offensively and saw the defenses hold their ground, with the lone score coming by way of a Keith Gore one-yard touchdown push up the middle at the 10:16 mark of the third quarter to put the score at 28-0.
For the game, the Tornados had 107 rushing yards on 32 rushing attempts, while the Braves rushed for 116 yards on 30 carries.
The difference in the game was by the air, as UNCP passed for 221 yards and one touchdown, while the Tornados threw for 65 yards and two interceptions.
Taylor led the offensively, as he recorded 113 total yards for the game – 61 yards rushing on 15 carries and 52 yards on four catches. Junior slot receiver Donald Hudson had 21 rushing yards for the game, while fellow classmates Shaton Pratt and Desmond Wilson had 17 and 15 yards, respectively.
In his first game in two years, Hamilton was 9-of-18 with two interceptions through the air, starting the game hitting on his first five pass attempts.
Defensively, junior linebacker Stanley Jones, who missed three-series due to an injury, led the Tornados with six total tackles, three of which were solo tackles. Safety’s Trey Wilborn and Josh Durm each had five tackles on the night, while linebackers Brandon Rawls and Elliot Collins each recorded a sack for the game.
For UNC Pembroke, Williams led the way with 48 yards on the ground, all of which were on one carry. Kennedy and Gore both had seven rushing attempts apiece, with Kennedy picking up 32 yards and two touchdowns, while Gore had 18 yards and one score.
The quarterback duo of Smith and Sutphen were a combined 23 for 35 through the air for 221 yards, with Smith throwing a touchdown.
The Tornados will return to action again at home next week as BC will play host to Pikeville College on Saturday, August 30, at 6 p.m. UNC Pembroke will also be in action next Saturday night, as the Braves will host Davidson College in their home opener.