TIGERVILLE, S.C. — The Carson-Newman College and North Greenville football teams fought each other to a standstill for most of three quarters Saturday at Younts Stadium, but a late turnover and mishandled snaps on the field goal unit were the difference as the Eagles fell 34-27 to the Crusaders.
The loss puts Carson-Newman at 3-4 on the season and realistically ends any postseason hopes for the 2011 squad. The Crusaders are 5-2 and are 4-1 against the South Atlantic Conference this season, with their only loss coming from a 38-28 defeat by Mars Hill on Sept. 14.
The Eagles had reason to believe early as sophomore running back Tyron Douglas (Clover, S.C.) took the second play from scrimmage 63 yards for a touchdown run.
C-N couldn't add to it on its next possession, going three-and-out. North Greenville got on the board with five minutes left in the opening quarter on a 30-yard field goal from Justin Gravely.
The Crusaders took their first lead of the game in the second quarter on a 16-yard touchdown pass from Clemson-transfer quarterback Willy Korn to running back Idris Anderson.
It took the Eagles two drives to answer back, but when they did it appeared they had taken control of the game. Carson-Newman, led by junior quarterback Brandon Haywood (Rockmart, Ga.) in only his second start, unleashed a 10-play 70-yard scoring drive, ending in a three-yard Haywood touchdown keeper.
C-N needed just four plays to score on its next possession after taking over at the North Greenville 30 yard-line after defensive tackle DeShon Collins forced and recovered a Freddie Martino Jr. fumble.
Haywood tossed a swing pass to Douglas this time for a 20-yard touchdown. The first of three disastrous kick attempts followed, costing the Eagles an extra point. Still, Carson-Newman led 20-10 with a little over two minutes to go in the opening half.
Korn and the Crusaders wouldn't let it stay that way, converting a fourth-and-seven at the C-N 44 yard-line with a 37-yard pass to running back Harold Small. Korn took the ball in the final seven yards himself to pull within three.
The Eagles and North Greenville traded punts to begin the second half but another mishandled snap on a kick, this time on a field goal attempt gave the Crusaders the ball on the C-N 41. North Greenville needed just one play to capitalize, with Anderson scoring on a 41-yard run to give the Crusaders a 24-20 lead.
North Greenville pushed its lead to 27-20 with a 25-yard field goal from Gravely to open the fourth quarter.
For the third time in the game another field goal attempt was squandered by the Eagles, this time thanks to a low snap, leading to a low-angled kick from junior kicker Carlos Lopez (Seymour, Tenn.).
The Eagles had one more chance to tie the game, but a bobbled Haywood to freshman wide receiver Anthony Eubanks (Pendleton, S.C.) ended up in the hands of North Greenville linebacker Nathan Batchelor at the C-N 25.
Korn put scored 10 plays later on 10-yard touchdown run that left just 1:19 on the clock.
C-N managed a quick scoring drive of its own, ending with a 2-yard Nate Inman TD run, but could not recover the ensuing onside kick as time expired.
Douglas finished the game with 17 carries for 156 yards and a touchdown, adding two catches for 42 yards and a score.
Collins led the C-N defense with 10 tackles, four for a loss, one sack, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.
Junior linebackers Larry Lumpkin (Grand Bay, Ala.) and Ryan Helton (Tazewell, Tenn.) each had eight tackles apiece. Sophomore cornerback Tarvin Jones (St. Petersburg, Fla.) had four tackles and an interception.