JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. (release) -- Carson-Newman (3-0, 1-0 SAC) built a 34-0 lead in their South Atlantic Conference opener Saturday afternoon and turned in a solid defensive effort as they cruised to a 41-14 victory over Brevard (1-2, 0-1 SAC).
Tyron Douglas (Clover, SC) led the Eagles offense with 112 rushing yards on 11 carries and two touchdowns. Andy Hibbett (Corryton, Tenn.) added two scores on 13 carries and 81 yards. The Eagles (3-0, 1-0) finished the game with 406 yards of total offense.
The Eagles’ defense was stellar as the starters only allowed 184 yards of offense to the nation’s sixth best rushing attack before exiting the game late in the third quarter. They forced three fumbles, recovered two, had three sacks, seven tackles for loss and an interception.
Head coach Ken Sparks said his defense was top-notch against the Tornadoes.
“That defense came out and hit some people today and really got after it,” Sparks said. “It’s what’s up front that wins ball games and I thought for the first time in a while that up front, both offensively as well as defensively, I thought we did some great things. That was exciting.”
Brevard (2-2, 0-1) was paced by Kelvin Jeter (Gastonia, NC) who had 75 yards on 14 carries and quarterback Tanner Wright (Clayton, Ga.) who toted the ball 16 times for 59 yards. The Tornadoes ran more plays that Carson-Newman, 71 to 61 but finished with only 290 yards.
Last season, Brevard’s Andre Overholt and Jordan Ollis both crested 100 yards rushing. Ollis was limited to 32 yards, while the Eagles held Overholt to 45. After two weeks of keeping up five, 20-yard plus plays to both Wayne State and Colorado Mines, the Eagles limited Brevard to a lone 23-yard scamper by Wright.
“The kids were determined to get it done today,” Sparks said of his defense’s effort. “They were excited about playing today and it’s been a while since I have heard that much excitement. Our coaches did an unbelievable job with the game plan. I think we beat a pretty good football team and I think Brevard will beat some people before the year is over. This was a good win and I was excited about it.”
Michael Gruber (Walterboro, SC) had a game-high 17 tackles for the Tornadoes after picking up 19 last season against the Eagles.
The Eagles would need just over a minute to get on the scoreboard as Brandon Baker (Miami, FL) had a 39-yard run for the score. C-N had a number of miscues on the extra point which included a penalty and a bad snap which put the Eagles up 6-0.
The next C-N drive took only two plays and 33 seconds as Douglas broke off a 64-yard run and with Duncan’s point after put the Eagles up 13-0.
Hibbett’s one-yard dive put the Eagles up 20-0 and Douglas’ second score of the day, this time on a one-yard plunge that capped a 67-yard drive, put the Eagles up 27-0. That would be the way the first half would end.
The Eagles pushed their advantage to 34-0 when Hibbett ran in from 18 yards out on the first drive of the second half. Carson-Newman has scored on its first possession of the first and second half in every game this season.
On the next Brevard drive, the Tornadoes were aided by several Carson-Newman miscues.
The Eagles had a blocked punt when Jarrett East Brown (Burlington, NJ) came through the line but the great defensive play was negated by an offside penalty. A pass interference call on the Eagles put Brevard on the C-N nine yard line and Andre Overholt (Tyron, NC) finished the drive with a nine-yard score. Ben Noboa’s (Deltona, FL) extra point was successful as the Tornadoes were finally on the board.
The Eagles last score of the game came in the fourth quarter when the C-N defense forced a turnover deep in Brevard territory and Marcellas Pope (Ellenwood, Ga.) scored his first collegiate touchdown on a 21-yard run to make it 41-7.
The final score of the game was produced by the Tornadoes when they went to their running game and produced a 14-play, 81-yard drive that chewed up nearly seven minutes off the clock. Wright scored from six yards out and Noboa’s point after produced the 41-14 final.
The win improves Carson-Newman to 7-0 all-time against the Tornados. Saturday’s win is the first for the Eagles over Brevard by more than 18 points since a 77-7 Eagle win in 2009.
Carson-Newman is off to its first 3-0 start since 2007. C-N started 6-0 that year before a loss to Catawba derailed the Eagles’ playoff chances.
The Eagles host Catawba next Saturday with kickoff set for 1 p.m. at Burke-Tarr Stadium. The game will be available on the Eagle Sports Network starting with the Tailgate Show at noon on Joy 620 (WRJZ-AM, Knoxville), 106.3 ESPN Radio The Zone (WPFT-FM, Sevierville) and online at cneagles.com/live.