VIDEO: Ken Sparks Interview
VIDEO: Noah Suber Interview
VIDEO: Darius Williams Interview
VIDEO: Darvia Dubose Interview
VIDEO: Lane Bloom Interview
RALEIGH, N.C. – Carson-Newman (1-1) grabbed a lead 15 seconds into the contest and never looked back as the Eagles cruised to a 48-14 triumph over Saint Augustine's (0-2) Saturday afternoon at a balmy George Williams Complex.
Carson-Newman got the party started in a hurry when Kevin Snead (Richmond, Va.) took the opening kickoff 90 yards to the end zone. He stuttered stepped up to the 30, then proved why the USTFCCCA calls him the fastest man in college football by kicking on the afterburners to the SAU 20 and coasting the rest of the way down the sideline to give the Eagles the initial lead.
"We won the kicking game," head football coach Ken Sparks said. "And I thought won it decisively. We were better blockers and tacklers and I thought we played harder and with better urgency. We're grateful for a win though and an opportunity to improve on that and get better for next week."
C-N did most of its damage in the air. Noah Suber (Asheville, N.C.) completed 12-of-21 passes for 220 yards and two scores to go along with five rushes for 35 yards and another touchdown.
Suber became the first C-N quarterback since the year 2000 to throw 20 passes in a first half. He completed 11 of them for 205 yards. Suber led the Eagles on their first drive of the second half to a score before sitting the rest of the game. The Eagle only had four rushing yards in the first quarter and 70 yards by halftime.
"They were giving us an eight-man front," Sparks said. "They were determined to stop the run. We tried to take advantage with the pass. We're still not completing the percentage that we should. We had too many open receivers that we didn't get the ball to. That's got to start working for us instead of against us."
Suber also becomes the first C-N QB with back-to-back 200-yard passing performances since Alex Good hurled for 261 yards and 230 yards against Wingate and Tusculum, respectively, at the end of the 2007 season.
Darvia Dubose (Darlington, S.C.) led the Eagles' wide receivers with a 100-yard day, Carson-Newman's second such performance in three games. Aaron Seward (Charlotte, S.C.) had a pair of catches for 34 yards and a touchdown, while Snead grabbed a pass for a 48 yard score.
Snead's game-opening kickoff return for a touchdown is the first such score for the Eagles since Lonnie Williams (Philadelphia, Pa.) housed on from 100 yards out against Brevard in 2014.
"The analysis is that Hallelujah, we're up seven points," Sparks said. "We had the blocking on it. Then when Kevin gets a crease, he's 88 and out the gate. That was a tremendous way to start the game."
The Eagles made it back-to-back special teams touchdowns after SAU went three and out on its first possession. Ben Davenport (Aragon, Ga.) burst through the center of the line as SAU punter Sean Smith bobbled a low snap. Davenport blocked the punt, then Darius Williams (St. Petersburg, Fla.) scooped it up at the 20 and returned it past the left pylon for a score.
Williams scoop-and-score is the first punt block return for a touchdown since Elliot Tarplin returned one nine yards against Lenoir-Rhyne on Oct. 20, 2007.
After another SAU three-and-out, the Eagles took advantage of a short field. After six plays and 45 yards, Montavious Taylor (Atlanta, Ga.) blasted in over left guard for a three-yard score to put C-N up 21-0 seven minutes into the contest.
SAU struck for its only points of the first half on its next drive. The Falcons moved the ball methodically across the field, converting on three third down and another fourth down. The drive went for six when Sam Boyd snared a fade pattern along the left side of the end zone from eight yards out. The drive lasted nearly seven minutes and took 13 plays.
Carson-Newman rounded out the half aerially. Noah Suber (Asheville, N.C.) connected with Aaron Seward (Charlotte, N.C.) on a 20-yard TD pass over the left side of the field to finish off a four-play 45 yard drive. Then, Darvia DuBose (Darlington, S.C.) found the end zone on a 42-yard catch and run over the middle of the field. That set the halftime score at 34-7.
The Eagles picked up where they left off in the second half. The defense forced the Falcons off the field with a three-and-out before Suber led the Eagles on a 10-play, 73-yard drive that he punctuated with a lion's effort, mauling a pair of SAU defenders, on a 13-yard quarterback sneak.
Evans connected with Snead on a 48-yard go pattern along the right hash to finish out the Eagles' scoring and make it 48-7. Evans touchdown pass came on his second career pass attempt.
The Falcons added one touchdown with 1:24 left in the game on a Malik Mapps two-yard run. The drive took 5:35 off the clock.
Ervin Nard (Waycross, Ga.) led the Eagle defense with 10 tackles. Lane Bloom (Maryville, Tenn.) added seven stops. Ja'Quan Smith (Greenville, Ala.) had six tackles and a pick in the second half alone.
The Eagles limited SAU to 348 yards of total offense and 4.5 yards per play. C-N tallied 488 yards of total offense, 282 of which came through the air.
The win moved Carson-Newman's win streak against CIAA competition to 12. The Eagles haven't lost to a CIAA foe since 2001 season (Winston-Salem State).
The Eagles return to action Saturday at Catawba, the preseason favorite to win the SAC. Kickoff against the Indians is slated for 1:30 p.m. Saturday. Pregame coverage begins at 12:30 on the Eagle Sports Network with the AEC Tailgate Show on Joy 620 (WRJZ-AM, Knoxville), Mountain Country 106.3 (WPFT-FM, Sevierville) and online at cneagles.com/live.