JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. — The Carson-Newman College football didn't make up for three straight bad performances against South Atlantic Conference opponents, but did make an example out of Catawba Saturday at Burke-Tarr Stadium.
The Eagles rolled up nearly 600 yards of offense and the starting defensive unit gave up just one score in a 55-21 victory over the Indians.
Carson-Newman evens its season record at 3-3 with the win, but still has some digging to do with a 1-3 record in the SAC. The Indians leave Mossy Creek 2-4 with a 1-2 conference record.
Saturday was the first start for junior quarterback Brandon Haywood (Rockmart, Ga.). Haywood led an up-tempo, high-powered C-N offensive attack that pushed the Indians around all game and seemingly scored at will.
On the game's opening drive Haywood turned an option call on third-and-13 into a 52-yard gain and never looked back. Haywood finished the game 5-of-6 passing for 125 yards and added 13 rushes for 99 yards and three touchdowns on the ground.
After the 52-yarder, Haywood, senior running back Nate Inman (Fitzgerald, Ga.) and sophomore runner Tyron Douglas (Clover, S.C.) alternated carries before Douglas punched the ball in from the one yard-line. Douglas led all rushers with 13 carries for 117 yards and three touchdowns. The Eagles were 8-of-9 converting third downs in the first half.
Catawba answered back in the second quarter with a desperation QB scramble from Jacob Charest that ended up turning into a 51-yard touchdown run. It would be the only score the Eagles' starting defensive rotation would surrender in the game. C-N got to Charest for three sacks and a forced fumble. Junior linebacker Larry Lumpkin (Grand Bay, Ala.) led the Eagles with 10 tackles, a half sack and one and a half tackles for a loss.
Senior safety Blaine Ruttan (Ottowa, Ontario) had six tackles and a tackle for a loss. Free safety Antonio Koone (Asheville, N.C.) finished with five tackles.
Carson-Newman blew the game open in the second quarter. After Catawba tied the game 7-7, Haywood set the Eagles up deep into Catawba territory with a 37-yard completion to junior wide receiver Patrick Miller (Sevierville, Tenn.). Four plays later Haywood ran the option to the left, pitching the ball to Douglas who took it the final yard for the score.
C-N's defense held the Indians to a three-and-out and the offense didn't waste the chance to increase its lead. Haywood opened up the drive with a 16-yard pass to Douglas. Inman and Douglas pushed the ball the rest of the way down the field but it was Haywood this time who kept the ball on the final play for a one-yard TD run.
It was time for the Eagles' special teams to make a play. With Catawba facing a fourth down from its own 13 yard-line, Carson-Newman blocked the punt and took over at the three. Douglas walked in untouched for the touchdown.
The Eagles added one more score before the first half ended. With just over 30 seconds on the clock, Inman blasted through the line and took off for a 40-yard touchdown run.
Douglas added a 23-yard TD to open the third quarter and take a 41-7 lead. Haywood scored from six yards out in the fourth before taking a well-deserved rest on the bench.
Running the offense live for the first time this season, reserve freshman quarterback Sean Seabolt (Kingsport, Tenn.) led a scoring drive of his own with fellow freshman Andy Hibbett (Corryton, Tenn.) pushing into the end zone from the five.
Inman finished with 15 carries for 92 yards and a score. Hibbett had 10 carries for 91 yards and a touchdown.
Carson-Newman returns to action next Saturday against North Greenville University in Tigerville, S.C.