JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn.— The No. 20-ranked Carson-Newman College football team dismantled visiting Fayetteville State Thursday night. The Eagles defense recorded five sacks and the offense scored eight touchdowns on its way to a 56-7 victory over the Broncos at Burke-Tarr Stadium.
"It was very pleasing," head coach Ken Sparks said. "I was excited about how they responded. We just have to keep it going. We're glad to be where we are right now. I think we've got something special going. I thought the offense, at times, was very solid and the defense, at times, was almost spectacular. "
It was a banner day for the Eagles defense. In addition to the five sacks and seven tackles for a loss, Carson-Newman picked off two passes and held Fayetteville State to just 165 total yards.
On offense, the Eagles were nearly unstoppable. C-N piled up 478 total yards, with 417 coming on the ground. Carson-Newman was 7-of-9 on third down conversions and 5-for-5 in the red zone. The Eagles' first punt came with 2:31 left in the fourth quarter.
"They were pumped up and ready to play," Sparks said. "It's been a good week for us. You don't just show up and play like that. It's something that comes from preparation and working to improve. I thought our coaching staff did an unbelievable job for us."
Carson-Newman's defense held the Broncos to three-and-out on their first possession. The Eagles offense had no such trouble, driving down the field in six plays, capping the drive with a one-yard walk-in touchdown from junior running back Brandon Baker (Miami, Fla).
Sophomore linebacker Jaycob Coleman (Norton, Va.) ended the Broncos' next possession, picking off a pass from quarterback Brandon Blumears-Cluff and setting the Eagles up at the Fayetteville 18 yard-line. Johnny Foster kept the ball himself four plays later for the touchdown.
On C-N's next possession, Nate Inman (Fitzgerald, Ga.) broke free for a 25-yard touchdown run. Inman led all rushers with 14 carries for 122 yards and a touchdown.
Sophomore quarterback Johnny Foster (Roebuck, S.C.) bought time with his agility on C-N's next scoring drive, before tossing a screen pass to Inman, who took the ball in from 18 yards out.
"Johnny is a good athlete," Sparks said. "He's starting to understand the urgency and the discipline it takes to be a college quarterback. He did some good things for us tonight."
The Eagles ended the half with a Baker 3-yard run with no time left on the clock.
Fayetteville State had only four first downs in the opening half.
Sophomore running back Tyron Douglas (Clover, S.C.) didn't give Fayetteville a chance to catch its breath as the second half began, returning the opening kick off 90 yards for a touchdown.
William Alderman (Winston-Salem, N.C.) led the Eagles defense with 11 tackles. Senior defensive end Byron Bell (Knoxville, Tenn.) had five tackles and two sacks. Senior linebacker Elmore Maiden (Boyton Beach, Fla.) recorded six tackles.
On offense, Foster finished a perfect 3-for-3 passing for 49 yards and a touchdown. Foster added 41 yards on the ground. Baker carried the ball 15 times for 80 yards and two scores. Freshman Andy Hibbett (Corryton, Tenn.) had five carries for 72 yards and a touchdown.
Sophomore Jason Brown (Plant City, Fla.) did a little of everything for Carson-Newman, catching two passes for 31 yards, tossing a 30-yard pass to wide receiver Zach Witherspoon (Oak Ridge, Tenn.) and rushing three times for 52 yards and a touchdown.
"There's some special chemistry with this football team," Sparks said. "There's some heart and some character with this football team. We're getting some outstanding leadership out of some kids. It's fun to coach."
The Eagles return to action on Saturday, Sept. 17 at 7 p.m. against Lenoir-Rhyne in Hickory, N.C. The game is the Eagles' South Atlantic Conference opener.