A Top 25 upset was Campbellsville University’s for the taking Saturday, but three late Tiger turnovers inside Bulldog territory allowed No. 25 Cumberland University to hold on for a 28-23 win in its second night game in program history.
Campbellsville posted its most offense of the season with 377 yards, including a career-high 259 yards passing by quarterback Bryan Parnes.
The Tigers turned the ball over on downs at the Cumberland 9, lost a fumble at the 45 and threw an interception at the 41 on the final three drives of the game.
“I thought we played well against a very good team,” CU head coach Perry Thomas said. “It’s one of those things. That black cloud has hung over us all year where things that can go wrong do.
“You can’t fault our guys’ effort. They continue to fight really hard and really believe and come to work every day.
“It’s easy for our guys to give up on this year, and they haven’t done that. One of the reasons is they are a good group of young men, but the other reason is we’ve been so close.”
The loss is the third this season by seven points or less for the Tigers (2-6, 1-3 MSC West).
Both teams combined for 140 yards on 10 plays to each score a touchdown in the first five minutes of play. With 9:53 to play in the opening quarter, all was even, 7-7, after a 31-yard touchdown pass from Parnes to Demytreus Gipson.
The Tigers trailed 14-7 and were held three-and-out, but Eric Krivitsky pinned the Bulldogs deep with Rico Dickerson downing the ball at the Cumberland 3 where a high snap bounced off the cross bar for a Tiger safety, 14-9.
CU trailed 21-9 at half-time, but out-scored the Bulldogs 14-7 in the second half starting with an 18-yard touchdown pass from Parnes to Steph’Von Haynes for Haynes’ first score of his CU career, and a 28-touchdown pass from Parnes to Demetric Ray with 10 seconds left in the third quarter.
Neither team scored in the fourth quarter.