PEMBROKE, N.C – The Carson-Newman Eagles (5-2, 2-2 SAC) used a strong second quarter and a stifling defense to defeat the UNC Pembroke Braves (5-3) by a 31-10 score at Grace P. Johnson Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
After trailing early in the second quarter 3-0, the Eagles stormed back with a stretch of 31 unanswered points until the fourth quarter as Carson-Newman has won its last three games.
"Our kids came out attacking," said Carson-Newman head coach Ken Sparks. "They certainly weren't interested in coming out and not having an attack mentality. I thought we had great inner-team leadership; they were encouraging each other and pulling for each other. I thought we took a major step forward today."
Carson-Newman had several players on offense crack the century mark, as running backs Tyron Douglas (Clover, S.C.), and Brandon Baker (Miami, Fla.), both rushed for over 100 yards, while quarterback Brandon Haywood (Rockmart, Ga.), passed for 124 yards, and receiver Jason Brown (Plant City, Fla.), caught two passes for 108 yards. Brown is the first Eagle wide receiver since 2009 to collect more than 100 receiving yards.
UNC Pembroke had the edge early with a 17 play drive for 79 yards that took eight minutes and forty-three seconds that stalled near the goal line, as the Eagles forced the Braves to settle for a field goal, which put them ahead 3-0 on the first play of the second quarter.
Carson-Newman answered on the next drive, as Haywood connected Brown on a 48-yard touchdown pass to put the Eagles ahead 7-3. After the next drive stalled for the Braves at midfield, Carson-Newman once again marched down the field with Douglas scoring on a 40-yard touchdown run to give the Eagles a 14-3 lead with just over seven minutes left in the half.
The Eagles added another Douglas touchdown with 40 seconds left in the half, this time from four yards out to give Carson-Newman a 21-3 lead, which would be the halftime score.
Carson-Newman picked up where it left off in the third quarter, forcing the Braves to go three-and-out on offense before the Eagles struck again through the air. Haywood and Brown connected once again, this time on a 60 yard touchdown pass that would give the Eagles a 28-3 lead with 13 minutes left in the third quarter.
The Braves once again showed promise on offense on the next drive, going into the Carson-Newman red zone. However the drive ended when cornerback Oliver Davis (Acworth, Ga.), intercepted his first pass of the season to end the drive and give the football back to Carson-Newman.
The Eagles took advantage of the turnover with a 15-play, 88-yard drive that ended in a 25-yard Curt Duncan (Morristown, Tenn.), field goal to put Carson-Newman's lead at 31-3 with 37 seconds left in the third quarter.
The Braves would add a fourth quarter touchdown on a 64-yard pass from Luke Charles to Donald Britt to cut Carson-Newman's lead to 31-10, which would be the final score.
Carson-Newman gained 351 yards on the ground, led by Douglas' 117 and Baker's 102. Quarterback Haywood also carried the ball 20 times for 91 yards, as he accounted for 215 yards of total offense.
Defensively the Eagles were led by defensive back Issac Kinley (Johnson City, Tenn.) with his seven tackles, and defensive tackle Deshon Collins (Birmingham, Ala.), led Carson-Newman with two tackles for a loss.
Carson-Newman will next play next Saturday Oct. 27 on the road against Brevard at 1 p.m. Fans can listen to the contest on the Coca-Cola Eagle Sports Network, with coverage beginning with the Farm Bureau Tailgate Show at noon.