HICKORY, N.C. – No. 22 Lenoir-Rhyne (8-1, 6-0 South Atlantic Conference) used a crushing defense to waylay No. 16 Carson-Newman (7-2, 3-2 SAC) 37-3 Saturday afternoon at Moretz Stadium in Hickory, N.C.
The Bears limited Carson-Newman to less than 100 yards rushing for the first time this century. The Eagles rushed for 90 yards and had 155 yards of total offense.
"It's on me," Sparks said. "We've got a great group of kids who are playing as hard as many of them can. I thought we had a good game plan, but evidently not. I thought we were pretty geared up to play this game, but evidently not. We got dominated today. I've had a hard time trying to think of a game where we've been dominated like this."
The contest is the fourth since 1996 that C-N has been held without a touchdown. Curt Duncan gave Carson-Newman its only lead when he hit his 27th career field goal – a 23-yarder – with 7:08 left in the first quarter.
The score capped off a 13-play, 75-yard drive that accounted for half of C-N's offense for the game.
Lenoir-Rhyne then ripped off 37 unanswered to skirt to the victory.
The Bears held C-N to season lows for points, rushing yards, total offense and first downs (10).
L-R racked up 327 yards on the ground, led by Graham Duncan's 99 yards and Jarrod Spears' 82. Quarterback Miles Freeman rushed for 47 yards and pair of scores.
Tyron Douglas (Clover, S.C.) had 45 yards on 11 carries for the Eagles.
Carson-Newman was held without a 20-yard rush for only the second time this year and had a season worst one play – a 24-yard completion to Aaron Seward (Charlotte, N.C.) – that went for more than 20 yards.
Sparks said it was C-N's worst defeat since a loss at Newberry last season.
"Newberry whipped us pretty good last year," Sparks said. "That's what I'd compare this to. Hopefully we can have some heart and rebound. The difference is that one happened early, this one happened late. Hopefully this will help us learn and we can grow from this."
Jaycob Coleman (Norton, Va.) led the Eagles defensively with 14 tackles. The total marks his fourth straight game with 13 or more stops.
The Eagles return home next Saturday for another game with a nationally ranked opponent. No. 25 Newberry comes to Mossy Creek off a 28-21 win over Brevard. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. Pregame coverage begins at noon on the Eagle Sports Network with the Tailgate Show on Joy 620 (WRJZ-AM, Knoxville) and online at cneagles.com/live.