Sparks enters game with 296 career wins; C-N holding Take-A-Kid to the Game Promotion
JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. — A week after dropping their second consecutive game to Lenoir-Rhyne University for the first time in 33 seasons, the No. 25-ranked Carson-Newman College football team must regroup as they host South Atlantic Conference rival Newberry Saturday at 1 p.m. at Burke-Tarr Stadium.
The Eagles (2-1, 0-1 SAC) were shut down last week against the Bears, scoring just one touchdown in the opening minute of the game. Lenoir-Rhyne's defensive plan against C-N worked to near perfection, holding Carson-Newman to only 11 first downs, 121 yards rushing and 126 yards passing. Eagles coach Ken Sparks, now in his 32nd season, expects the Wolves to use the same strategy.
"They'll do some things a whole lot like Lenoir-Rhyne did to stop the run game," Sparks said. "We'll have to execute. We wasted a lot of possessions and kept the defense on the field. We couldn't do a lot offensively. I didn't do a very good job to get us ready."
Newberry (1-2, 1-0 SAC) and Carson-Newman have traded games in recent years, with the Eagles winning back-to-back games the last two seasons for the first time since 2004-05.
Two of the last three games between the Wolves and the Eagles have come down to the final play.
In 2008, Newberry scored from 25 yards out in overtime to beat the Eagles, while in 2009, C-N's Carlos Lopez drilled a 33-yard field goal in a torrential downpour to give C-N a 23-20 win.
"Newberry has always played us tough," Sparks said. "The last time they played us here (at Burke-Tarr) it was in a downpour.
They'll threaten you with the passing game and their balanced with their runners. It seems like we'll get a lead and they'll complete a long one on us."
C-N is led on offense by sophomore quarterback Johnny Foster (Roebuck, S.C.). With the exception of the Lenoir-Rhyne game,
Foster has helped the Eagles roll up points and yards. Foster is 16-of-25 passing this season with 301 yards and two touchdowns. Foster has added 39 carries for 141 yards and one touchdown.
Senior running back Nate Inman (Fitzgerald, Ga.) is the primary scoring threats for the Eagles. Inman has 245 yards on 38 carries and three TDs on the ground, in addition to 60 yards and a touchdown through the air.
At receiver, sophomore Jason Brown (Plant City, Fla.) can strike quick and fast, leading the team with 146 yards receiving and a touchdown. Brown leads the Eagles in total offensive yards with 371.
Junior linebacker Larry Lumpkin (Grand Bay, Ala.) leads Carson-Newman on defense with 27 tackles, three for a loss. Junior free safety Issac Kinley (Johnson City, Tenn.) is second on the team with 14 tackles with two for a loss. Senior defensive end Byron Bell (Knoxville, Tenn.) has eight tackles and two sacks on the season.
The Wolves run a spread offensive attack run by junior QB Bryan Ehrlich. Ehrlich has been roughed up for eight interceptions this season. Ehrlich has thrown for 575 yards and five TDs, but has just 46.2 completion percentage.
Wide receivers Jason Livingston and Brandon Bostick are Erlich's primary targets. Livingston has caught 11 passes for 165 yards and a touchdown. Bostick has 10 catches for 149 yards and three touchdowns.
Newberry is a misleading 1-2 on the season. The Wolves controlled their meeting at Valdosta State for four quarters, but their 200-plus yard edge in total offense was undone by turnovers and special teams.
"There aren't many people that aren't doing the spread," Sparks said. "It comes down to personnel match up and trying to put their best on your best."
On defense, linebacker Apollo Stretch has already recorded 25 tackles, with two for a loss.
Radio: Carson-Newman's Saturday game against Newberry will be broadcast on the Eagle Radio Network beginning at 12:30 p.m. The Flagship Station for Carson-Newman Football, WRJZ-AM 620 (Knoxville) and WPFT-FM 106.3 (Sevierville) will carry the broadcast. The game can also be watched and the broadcast heard on the web at www.cneagles.com on a pay-per-view basis.
Take-a-Kid-to-the-Game Day: Carson-Newman College will host Take-a-Kid-to-the-Game Day on Saturday when the Eagles host Newberry College. Children 13 and under will be admitted free.