For the third consecutive year, the Eagles will open under the lights at Burke-Tarr Stadium on a Thursday night. This time, C-N welcomes in the Edinboro Fighting Scots. The Fighting Scots are coming off back-to-back losing seasons, but are looking to return to the form of a 2009 club that made the DII semifinals.
"We're grateful that Edinboro's coming to play us," Sparks said. "We had a three-year series with them back in the 90s. They were ahead of us one year 41-17, and we came back to beat them 45-44 in one of the greatest games in Carson-Newman history. They're still a potent program that will give us a great challenge."
The Eagles have scored at least 55 points in each of their last two Thursday night openers, a 56-46 win over Glenville State in 2012 and a 55-28 win over Wayne State last year.
Carson-Newman will play out the month of September as road warriors. The Eagles travel to Wayne State for a return game in week two before opening up conference play in week three at Brevard. The Eagles close out the month with a trek to Salisbury, N.C. to face the only team not named Lenoir-Rhyne that handed C-N a loss – Catawba.
"Catawba beat us last year, Wayne State will be angry when we get up there and Brevard's always challenging under Paul Hamilton," Sparks said. "We're young so we'll be scrambling to be the team that we need to be. That's a challenging schedule to open up against."
The Eagles return home to open up October by welcoming in one of the best running back's in the SAC in Mars Hill's Shaikel Davis. The Eagles were able to hold the all-SAC pick 100 yards below his average in the meeting last year.
A bye week demarcates the season into halves on Oct. 11. After which, the Eagles hit the road for a week seven contest with archrival Tusculum.
"I think it's good timing for an open week right in the middle of the season." Sparks said. "The best thing though is having three home ballgames in the last four. It's so much fun to be playing at home, especially at the end of the year. You know how things are stacked up and what's at stake."
Homecoming hits in week eight against nonconference foe North Greenville on Oct. 25 with a 3 p.m. kick. The Eagles thumped the Crusaders 52-10 when they were C-N's homecoming opponent in 2012.
November kicks the difficulty up an extra notch for the Eagles. C-N tangles with two SAC opponents that made the NCAA playoffs a year ago.
Nov. 1, C-N plays host to defending national runner-up Lenoir-Rhyne before turning around to travel to the graveyard and Setzler Field on Nov. 8. Wingate comes to town on Nov. 15 to close out the regular season with the Eagles.
"I don't see any easy games for us this year," Sparks said. "The conference will be balanced so every week we'll need to line up and be ready to play."
For more offseason information on Carson-Newman football, check cneagles.com and follow the athletic department on Twitter @cnathletics.
|Sep 4, 2014||Edinboro||7:00 PM|
|Sep 13, 2014||at Wayne St. (Mich.)||6:00 PM|
|Sep 20, 2014||at Brevard *||1:00 PM|
|Sep 27, 2014||at Catawba *||1:30 PM|
|Oct 4, 2014||Mars Hill *||1:00 PM|
|Oct 18, 2014||at Tusculum *||2:30 PM|
|Oct 25, 2014||North Greenville||Homecoming||3:00 PM|
|Nov 1, 2014||Lenoir-Rhyne *||1:00 PM|
|Nov 8, 2014||at Newberry *||2:00 PM|
|Nov 15, 2014||Wingate *||1:00 PM|