JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. - This is the second in an 11-part series breaking down each of Carson-Newman football's opponents for the 2016 season. This feature breaks down the Eagles' first road game, a trek to Raleigh to play St. Augustine's.
This will mark the third time that the Eagles and Falcons have battled it out. Carson-Newman owns a 2-0 lead in the all-time series with a 45-6 decision in Burke-Tarr Stadium in 2007 following a 24-14 squeaker in Raleigh the previous year.
The Falcons certainly hope things will be different for them in 2016 after a 1-9 campaign last season.
Last year saw a midseason coaching change where Tim Chavous coached the Falcons for eight games on an interim basis. He guided the Falcons to their only victory of the season, a 31-24 win over crosstown rival Shaw University on Nov. 7, 2015.
Saint Augustine's University removed the interim tag and officially named Chavous as head football coach on Friday, Feb. 19, 2016. He is one of four first-year head coaches Carson-Newman's 37-year head coach Ken Sparks will square off with in 2016 (Lenoir-Rhyne, Limestone and Tusculum have the others).
Chavous has been with the football program for four seasons, including three full seasons as running backs coach. Under his guidance, standout tailback Roderick Davenport II became the University's career rushing leader in the modern era this past season, gaining 2,809 yards. Davenport was heady enough to work with the New York Jets through their minicamp.
Unfortunately for the Falcons, that also means they have to replace Davenport.
Aside from him, the cupboard was fairly bare last year for SAU. The Falcons ranked in the bottom 15 nationally in 10 offensive categories. SAU scored but 92 points last season (third worst nationally) while averaging 200 yards per game of total offense (second worst nationally).
Last year, the Falcons scored but 16 points in the first quarter of their games last year. Carson-Newman had eight quarters where they scored at least 17 points last year.
The bright side for the Falcons is that much of the team is back. SAU had only seven seniors last year. Of the program's top 15 tacklers from last year, 13 are back. That list includes Darius Cole, who had five picks to lead the team last year.
The Better Know the Opponent series continues July 20 with defending SAC champion Catawba.