JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. - From now until Jan. 1, the Carson-Newman Athletic Communications Department will debut the Frosty Award nominees for the fall semester. Here are the fall nominees for Comeback of the Year. Wednesday, the nominees for Game of the Year will be released.
The second annual Frosty Awards will take place in April and honor athletic excellence in Carson-Newman's athletic department.
Football at Tusculum
No. 18 Carson-Newman ratcheted up its defensive efforts in the second half to get head coach Ken Sparks his 323rd career victory and move him into a tie for fifth on the all-time wins list with legendary Alabama coach Bear Bryant with a 55-35 win over Tusculum Saturday afternoon at Pioneer Field.
After Tusculum scored a school-record 35 second-quarter points to take a 35-27 lead into the locker room, Carson-Newman limited the Pioneers to just two first downs and 14 yards on 22 plays in the second half.
However, Sparks' 323rd career win was in doubt at the break. Tusculum had used the final 5:27 of the second quarter to score 21 unanswered points and take a 35-27 lead into the locker room. The Pioneers rounded out their scoring for the quarter, the half and the day with a Justin Houston 32-yard touchdown catch from freshman quarterback Malcom Pendergrass with 11 seconds left in the second quarter. Tusculum gained 252 yards – 79 percent of its offensive output – all in the second quarter.
William Alderman (Brooksville, Fla.) and Javaris Neal (Columbia, Tenn.) combined to generate a bevy of pressure up front that led to six sacks, six quarterback hurries and 11 tackles for loss. Alderman finished with nine stops to lead the team while Neal scattered five stops, two sacks and three tackles for loss.
The party was slow to start in the second half for the Eagles offensively. C-N got the opening kickoff, but failed to convert on a fourth down conversion from the Tusculum 18-yard line. However, the Eagles forced the Pioneers off the field after Alderman and Neal chased down Pendergrass in the backfield to force a punt.
The Eagles' offense methodically worked its way 69 yards down field in 17 plays to punch Damian (Columbus, Miss.) into the end zone off a two-yard dive play. The Eagles used an identical play to convert a two-point conversion and knot the game at 35.
Another Alderman-Neal sack forced the Pioneers off the field on their next drive and gave way early in the fourth quarter to a steady does of Andy Hibbett(Corryton, Tenn.). The senior from Gibbs scored three times in the fourth quarter, from 12, 41 and three yards, to cement the game for the Eagles.
For the second consecutive week, Hibbett turned in a record book-altering performance. With 30 carries and 221 yards, Hibbett had the 14th-best single game rushing yard tally in school history. By rushing for more than 100 yards, Hibbett tied Buck Wakefield's school record of five consecutive weeks rushing for at least 100 yards.
Football versus North Greenville
Carson-Newman head coach Ken Sparks' 324th career win wasn't an easy one. The Eagles trailed by 21 points midway through the second quarter, but rallied to outscore North Greenville (4-4) 28-6 over the final 32:16 of the game to move Sparks past Bear Bryant and into sole possession of fifth place on the all-time wins list Saturday afternoon at Burke-Tarr Stadium.
Carson-Newman received gritty rushing performances from Andy Hibbett (Corryton, Tenn.) and Damian Baker (Columbus, Miss.). Hibbett broke a school record for consecutive 100-yard performances with 187 yards on a career high 33 carries.
He crested the century mark for a sixth straight game to surpass Buck Wakefield's school mark of five straight games. Hibbett also became the 23rd Eagle running back with 1,000 yards rushing in a season. He also moves past Vernon Turner and into 11th place on the career rushing yards list.
Meanwhile, Baker had a career day himself with 25 carries for 133 yards and three touchdowns. Baker scored the game-winner for the Eagles on an 18-yard draw play with 9:15 left in the fourth quarter.
North Greenville outgained the Eagles 414-400. Carson-Newman had 383 of its yards on the ground. The 400-yard output for total offense is the Eagles' lowest of the year. Carson-Newman was held without a 20-yard play for the first time since losing 37-3 to Lenoir-Rhyne during the 2013 regular season.
Turnovers plagued both teams. The Eagles coughed it up twice on interceptions and twice on fumbles, while North Greenville lost four fumbles.
The Crusaders were led by Trey Walker on the ground. He rushed 12 times for 136 yards and a score. Simeon Byrd was 14-for-84 on the ground with two TDs.
Quarterback Nelson Hughes completed 19-of-34 passes for 199 yards and the game's opening touchdown.
North Greenville built its lead on the ground. Trey Walker found the end zone as time expired in the first quarter on a 32-yard draw play. The Crusaders capitalized on a pair of picks to push the lead out to three touchdowns with 6:22 left in the second thanks scores from one and 20 yards from Byrd.
However, that's when Carson-Newman started to find its gear offensively. The Eagles rattled off a 12-play 74-yard drive to get Baker into the end zone for the first time from a yard away. A North Greenville fumble gave the Eagles a short field the next drive. Five plays and 22 yards later, Baker was into the end zone again, this time from eight yards away and the Eagles were within seven.
The Crusaders would push the lead back to two possessions before the half let out on a Justin Gravely 38-yard field goal.
Another Gravely field goal moved the lead to 13 6:14 into the second half. The Crusaders wouldn't score again.
Hibbett bounced into the end zone with 2:36 left in the third before Carson-Newman's defense got a stop to force another Gravely field goal – albeit one he would shank left.
That set the stage for Baker's dramatics. The Eagles churned down the field in 4:50 with a 14-play 77-yard drive that found Baker waltzing into the end zone on second and 15 from 18 yards away.
North Greenville had chances to retake the leading, driving down to the Eagles 39 with six minutes left. However, a David Crumitie (Monticello, Fla.) interception erased the Crusaders chances of a win. The Eagles were able to wind the final five minutes off the clock with a 10-play possession.
Volleyball versus Newberry
On senior day for the Eagles, C-N overcame a 2-0 deficit for the only time during the 2014 season. After dropping the first two sets 25-20 and 25-23, the Eagles pummeled the Wolves winning the final three sets 25-14, 25-21 and 15-8 to send off four All-Conference seniors in style. Senior outside hitter Rachel Harper matched a season-high with 18 kills on a .318 attack percentage to go along with a career-high seven assists and 19 digs for her 12th double-double of the year.
Volleyball at Mars Hill
In an October 14 match with the Lions, it looked like the Eagles need to pack their bags and come back to Jefferson City after a four-set loss to Mars Hill until a clutch fourth set surge gave the Eagles the kick they needed. The visiting unit was on the ropes in the fourth set trailing 21-16 before a 6-1 spurt equalized the contest at 22 before winning the three of the final four points to extend the match. C-N held on to a 15-13 win in the fifth set to complete the comeback. Senior middle blocker Jenna Wilson led the Eagles offensive attack by matching a season-high with 20 kills on a .429 attack percentage to go along with five block assists, a solo block and four digs.
Men's Basketball v. L-R
Carson-Newman \fought back from a 14-point halftime deficit with a 22-8 second-half run to take an 80-76 decision over Lenoir-Rhyne in the Eagles' final SAC game before the Christmas break. The Bears drained 10-of-13 first half threes en route to a 46-32 halftime lead. The Bears' 10 treys matched their season high set earlier this year in a win over Anderson. However, the Eagles kept L-R to just 3-for-12 shooting from deep in the second half to help spark the rally. The Eagles exploded out of the gates in the second half. C-N brought the deficit inside 10 points on a Josh Rogers (Bristol, United Kingdom) short-corner jumper with 18:25 left in the game, inside 5 points on two Sawyer Williams (Owenton, Ky.) free throws at the 16:00 mark and finally knotted the game at 54 with 12:16 to play on a Jared Johnson (Springfield, Mass.) three.
C-N took its first lead of the game since an opening 3-0 advantage 25 seconds into the contest with 8:51 to play on a Johnson transition triple from the right wing. Neither team would lead by more than four points the rest of the way. The Eagles got the lead for good with 1:58 left in the contest when Andy Barnett(Pigeon Forge, Tenn.) buried his fifth trey of the game from the right corner.