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The Campbellsville University Tigers fought hard but came up short in a 48-38 season opening loss Saturday on HIG Field to Cumberland (Tenn.) University.
Ross Deaton had a record-breaking day for the Tigers in his collegiate debut passing 31-54 for 392 yards and a touchdown.
Deaton, a redshirt freshman from Somerset, set the record for most pass attempts in a game, most pass completions in a game, most yards passing in a game, total number of offensive plays (70) and total number of offensive yards in a game with 452.
Campbellsville scored first at the 13:21 mark in the first quarter when Deaton hit Calvin Mann for a 17-yard touchdown score and David Hon's point-after kick gave the Tigers a 7-0 lead.
Cumberland marched right back down the field to score on a 67-yard pass less than two minutes later, but missed the extra point attempt and the Tigers led 7-6.
The Tigers would go up 13-6 when Greg Fountain scored on a 6-yard run but Hon's PAT kick missed.
It would be the last lead of the game for Campbellsville as Cumberland tallied three unanswered touchdowns before the Tigers scored again on Hon's 31-yard field goal with 8:36 remaining in the half to pull Campbellsville within 27-16.
Cumberland built the lead to 41-16 in the third quarter before a late Tiger rally led by Detrick Briggs' 6-yard touchdown, a Deaton 7-yard score and Fountain's 1-yard run to pull within the final 10-point margin.
The game was the first in the collegiate coaching career of Perry Thomas.
"We knew that with so many young players it would be a difficult game," Thomas said after the game.
"Early in the game, Cumberland found our freshmen cornerbacks and went to the air to build a lead. But our guys showed a lot of composure and character to not give up.
"We fought back, and with a break here or there we would have had a chance at the end of the game.
"We know that 'Restoring The Roar' is a process but I think that the effort we left on the field today went a long way towards bringing CU football back to where it used to be."
The Tigers now have an off week and will face No. 5-ranked Ohio Dominican on Sept. 13 at 1:30 p.m. at Finley Stadium.