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For 28 minutes of football, Carson-Newman College had its work cut out Thursday night, as the Campbellsville University Tigers pulled within a touchdown of the NCAA Division II perennial power.
However, the Tigers were unable to overcome their deficit, falling 38-10, as Carson-Newman found the end zone with big plays. “I thought for the most part our guys got after it and competed well. We had a few spots where we got worn down at the end. They were just the better team, and it showed the second half. But at the same token, we showed that we can play. We just need to continue to develop our depth and not make mistakes,” CU head coach Perry Thomas said.
Carson-Newman managed to put points on the board in the first quarter for the first time this season, with an 11-yard touchdown pass from Alex Good with 5:45 to play in the opening period. The Tigers, though not able to answer, held the Eagles at bay most of the first half until two big plays broke the game open late.
Eagle running back Nate Inman, who finished the game with 114 yards rushing, scampered 53 yards on the second play of a drive with 3:47 to play in the first half. The Tigers answered, driving 62 yards in seven plays to score their only touchdown of the game -- a 28-yard pass to the back of the end zone from Nathan Cooper to Stan Warren-Huffman.
With a minute left in the first half, the Tigers looked to enter halftime own only 14-7. However, Good found Belk on another touchdown strike that went 38 yards for a touchdown with 23 seconds to play.
“That’s what we were scared of defensively coming in. They (CN) have the ability to big play us. You kind of expect that and hope that you don’t give it up, but we gave up a few,” Thomas said. “The score before the half was huge, but our guys continued to battle.”
CNC (1-2) piled on 526 yards of total offense in its home opener to down the visiting Tigers.
The Eagles picked up 114 yards on the ground from running back Nate Inman and another 93 from quarterback Alex Good, who also threw for 104 yards and three touchdowns.
Cooper led Campbellsville after Robert Hill went down with an ankle sprain. Cooper threw for 231 yards and one touchdown. Warren-Huffman had a season-high nine receptions for 155 yards in the game. The Tiger offense, which picked up 416 yards rushing in the opening game of the season last week, was held to 27 yards on the ground.
“They’re just a more mature team. We still have to remember that we’re playing with some sophomores and freshman on our O-line and they’re playing with men, so that’s going to shut it down. But at the same time, it opened up our passing game,” Thomas said.
Inman picked up two touchdowns for Carson-Newman on runs of 53 and 34 yards. Good connected with Doug Belk on all three of his touchdown passes.
David Hon kicked a 36-yard field goal for CU, while Carlos Lopez had a 19-yarder for C-N.
Jeffrey DeMary and Rashad Harrison paced the Tiger defense with 12 and 10 total tackles, respectively, while Sherman Williams and Dwight Houston were in on eight tackles and Trey Mayes seven.
Campbellsville (1-1) will host Lambuth University in its first home game this season on Saturday afternoon (1:30) at Ron Finley Stadium.