ASHEVILLE, N.C. — The Carson-Newman College needed to bounce back after a tough loss last week to No. 24-ranked UNC-Pembroke. Using a balanced offensive attack, the Eagles cruised to a 35-17 victory over Brevard College in their South Atlantic Conference opening game at Asheville High School Memorial Stadium.
"I think the kids enjoyed this a lot more and I know the coaches did," Carson-Newman head coach Ken Sparks said. "The kids kept believing in each other and kept going. I hope that we can build on it."
The Eagles move to 3-2 on the season and 1-0 in the SAC. Brevard is also 3-2, but 0-1 in conference play.
The Tornadoes struck first on their opening drive. Calling 13 consecutive running plays in their triple-option offense, Brevard ate over six minutes of clock on a drive culminating in a Chase Henry 22-yard field goal.
After going three-and-out on their first possession, Carson-Newman got untracked thanks to a spark from a 33-yard Tyron Douglas (Clover, S.C.) kick return. Quarterback Doug Belk (Valdosta, Ga.) reeled off a 23-yard rush early in the drive, with Brandon Baker (Miami, Fla.) pushing the ball inside the Breveard 10 yard-line with a 22-yard gain. Baker finished off the drive with a 7-yard touchdown run.
A 50-yard pass from Belk to wide receiver Marcus Huie (Knoxville, Tenn.) set up Carson-Newman's next score. Belk found Huie again for 11 yards, then ended the drive with his legs, rushing in from five yards out.
It didn't take long for Brevard to strike back. Kelvin Jeter took a pitch 59 yards to the endzone on fourth down.
With momentum turning the Tornadoes way, Carson-Newman answered the call. Belk laid down a 49-yard run on an option keeper down to the Brevard two. Baker punched it in for a 21-10 lead at the half.
"That was huge," Sparks said. "We needed to answer that way. It was critical for us."
The Eagles stalled for most of the third quarter, allowing Brevard back into the game. The Tornadoes called 10 straight rushing plays beginning at their own 35 yard-line and ending with a 1-yard plunge from Derek Church to pull within four points.
Carson-Newman again responded, with Belk and Nate Inman (Fitzgerald, Ga.) doing most of the work down the field. Belk kept the ball and ran towards the right pylon for a 10-yard touchdown.
The Eagles slammed the door shut later in the fourth quarter. Belk, Inman and Baker traded rushes in an eight-play, 70-yard drive culminating in a 1-yard QB sneak from Belk.
Baker rushed 18 times for 142 yards and two touchdowns. Belk carried the ball 13 times for 121 yards and three scores while adding 76 yards through the air.
Freshman linebacker Jarell Emanuel (Kissimmee, Fla.) and defensive end Zeke Andrews (Eastman, Ga.) led the team in tackles with each recording 10. Freshman strong safety Nathan Jones (Gainesville, Ga.) had seven tackles and a forced fumble.
Next up for the Eagles is Homecoming as they host Wingate next Saturday at Burke-Tarr Stadium. Kick off is set for 3 p.m.
Courtesy: Carson-Newman sports information