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Fighting Tigers tally two TDs in final two minutes

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CU overcomes five-turnover game for 21-20 MSC triumph at Belhaven.

By The Staff

Campbellsville University needed to find lightning in a bottle and came up with just enough electricity in the final 2:06 in Jackson, Miss. to defeat Belhaven 21-20 on Saturday afternoon.

"Sometimes you win pretty and sometimes you win ugly," coach Perry Thomas told radio play-by-play man Jim Freeman in his post-game interview. "Today we won ugly."

And it was real ugly early.

The Tigers fumbled the opening kickoff and lost four other turnovers that allowed Belhaven to score 14 points. But not only that, the Tigers incurred some untimely interference plays that kept giving the Blazers new life.

"It was one of those days when not much went our way," Thomas said. "We've been having real good ball control, but today we couldn't get in any (offensive) rhythm."

Trailing 21-7 with 5:41 to play, Campbellsville accomplished the improbable. The Tigers hadn't scored in the fourth quarter since the Shorter game on Oct. 1.

Calvin Mann caught a 14-yard touchdown from Nathan Cooper at the 2:06 mark, and then Tyler Jackson recovered an onside kick that gave the Tigers the last possession they would need.

Cooper, who had thrown three interceptions, took the Tigers on a 55-yard, 18-play drive culminated by a Dy'lan Underwood dive from a yard out.

The drive included two of the Tigers' five fourth-down conversions and a big pass completion from Cooper to Mann and another drive-continuing pass to Harold Small, who tied a CU record with 10 catches in a game.

"Nathan did an excellent job," Thomas said. "He had all those turnovers and some missed calls. It could have been easy for that to slip into his thinking."

But Cooper evidently has a short memory. The freshman completed 24-43 for 264 yards to help the Tigers account for 365 yards of total offense.

Jackson, who recovered the ensuing onside kick, also made the game-ending tackle.

"We tell everyone they have a role, we just don't know whose turn it is," Thomas said. "Today it was Tyler's turn."

Belhaven got on the board with less than three minutes gone in the game on a three-yard TD pass from Jarred Wallace to Cordario Calvin. The point-after by Justin Miller made the score 7-0.

CU struck on its next possession to tie the score as Cooper hooked up with Small on a 56-yard aerial.

With 4:10 left in the first quarter, Tremaine Brock returned an interception 73 yards. Miller's PAT made it 14-7.

Belhaven scored on its first possession of the second half as Barry Johnson orchestrated a 12-play, 60-yard drive culminated by reverse pass from Wallace to Calvin. But Miller missed the extra point.

Campbellsville's defense was nothing but spectacular, shutting Belhaven down on eight plays, inside the five on one occasion, and forcing the Blazers to punt after Trapper Williams caught Johnson for a sack.

The rest is history.

The win propels Campbellsville to 4-3 overall and 1-1 in the division and the most wins in a season since 2004. Belhaven is 4-3, 3-0.

The Tigers host Georgetown on Saturday at 1:30 at Ron Finley Stadium.