JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Carson-Newman head coach Ken Sparks will coach in his 395th game on the Eagle sidelines when no. 11 Carson-Newman travels to Golden, Colo. to do battle with Colorado Mines (1-0) Saturday at 2 p.m.
The contest will be just Carson-Newman's third in the Centennial State and first outside of playoff competition.
The Eagles fly into Golden fresh off a 55-28 win over Wayne State; Mines enters off a record-setting 72-6 win over South Dakota Mines.
Colorado Mines rolled up a school record 727 yards of offense in 108 plays against the Hardrockers and matched an NCAA record with 42 first downs.
Meanwhile, in the Eagles win, quarterback De'Andre Thomas (Milledgeville, Ga.) became the first Eagle to pass for 200 yards in four years while setting the school's single game pass efficiency record with a 357 mark.
His counterpart for the Orediggers Matt Brown is the reigning RMAC player of the week following his three touchdown, 72-yard performance on the ground and 401-yard, three-TD performance through the air.
"They have a very mobile quarterback, who can frequently break contain and mix in the pass," Carson-Newman head coach Ken Sparks said. "He makes it tough on you defensively. They've got quality football players on both sides of the ball."
The Orediggers have plenty of weapons at wide receiver, especially preseason first team RMAC wide receiver Diamond Gillis and Ty Young, who snagged seven passes for 79 yards in a score in the opener.
Offense could be a plenty. After week one, the Orediggers are second in the nation in total offense while the Eagles rank sixth after putting up 576 yards.
While the Eagle primarily get the job done offensively on the ground, the Orediggers do it through the air. Mines was the top passing team in the country a year ago.
"You hope you have enough energy to get some kind of pass rush," Sparks said. "They'll try to mismatch you in zones with the patterns they run. To be ranked as high as they are, you have to be a good football team."
Mines is receiving votes in the latest AFCA Coaches' poll. The Orediggers sit three spots outside of the top 25.
Carson-Newman has had nine days to prepare for the game, but Sparks said that's a bit misleading, in spite of progress from week one to two the Eagles may have made.
"We hope from week one to week to that you make some strides in preparation," Sparks said. "It's a shorter week than you'd expect because we flew out on Thursday."
Carson-Newman is 1-1 all-time in Colorado, winning the 1983 national title game over Mesa State in Grand Junction 36-28, but losing in the first round of the 1991 NAIA playoffs to Western State 38-21.
The contest will be available on the Eagle Sports Network on Joy 620 (WRJZ-AM, Knoxville), 106.3 ESPN Radio The Zone (WPFT-FM, Sevierville) and online at cneagles.com/live starting with the Tailgate Show at 1 p.m. leading up to the 2 p.m. kickoff.