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SAC Weekly Report
JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Carson-Newman (2-3, 1-2 South Atlantic Conference) looks to climb back to .500 overall and in SAC play this weekend against a team that has never defeated it.
The Eagles make the trek up I-40 to Brevard Memorial Stadium to take on the Brevard Tornados (1-4, 0-2 SAC) Saturday afternoon at 1. The Eagles are trying to bounce back from a 20-17 loss to Lenoir-Rhyne in week five.
"It was a tough football game on Saturday but the thing we are looking forward to the most is going out and playing the next one which is Brevard," Carson-Newman associate head coach Mike Clowney said. "We talk about it every week on how it's not really about our opponent but its more about Carson-Newman becoming the football team it needs to be and to finish the football season the right way."
Carson-Newman is going for a 10th straight victory over the Brevard Tornados. Carson-Newman has at least a nine-game win streak over every current South Atlantic Conference program at some point in the last 37 years since Ken Sparks has been head coach with the exception of Catawba and Tusculum. The Eagles have beaten the Indians on eight straight occasions and the Pioneers, seven (a streak that is still active).
Brevard has defeated every South Atlantic Conference team in its tenure in the league with the exception of Carson-Newman.
The Tornados, who move to Division III and the USA South next year, haven't won a SAC game in 16 attempts. Brevard last beat a SAC team on Nov. 9, 2013 when it down Tusculum 52-33. That was also the last time the Tornados beat a Division II foe, a streak of 25 games. Brevard did snap its NCAA losing streak at 23 games when it downed the Apprentice School 38-7 two weeks ago.
Meanwhile the Eagles have been unable to put together back-to-back wins all season. At the same time, they haven't lost back-to-back contests.
"There are points in time when we have played really good and we looked like a really good football team," Clowney said. "There are other points in time where we haven't looked so good. The biggest thing we are doing right now is to try and find that consistency. We want to have more good plays than bad, obviously, but we want to be the best football team we can be every time the football team is snapped. Our biggest focus this week is to try and find that consistency and to do things the right way all of the time."
For a series that has been lopsided in Carson-Newman's direction, the meetings at Brevard have been close. BC has kept within at 17 points of Carson-Newman every time the teams have squared off at Brevard Memorial Stadium with the exception of the 2008 meeting, the second all-time meeting between the schools, which C-N won 34-3. The teams were tied 7-7 at halftime during the 2012 meeting at BC.
Brevard once again features a flexbone offensive attack under 10th-year head coach Paul Hamilton. The Tornados have three rushers on the year that have gained over 250 yards on the ground. Fullback Karris Johnson leads the team with 340 yards, while Jarkevius Hopkins and Bubba Craven each surpassed the 250-yard mark last week at Tusculum.
Brevard was the last school to rush for more yards than the Eagles and lose. In 2014, BC outrushed the Eagles 419-306, but fell 55-42. That was 25 games and 749 days ago.
"The flex bone is unique because of all the motions and the moving around," Clowney said. "They try to get you outnumbered and out of position. The good thing for us is that we see some form of the option every day, so we won't go into a game completely unprepared. The biggest thing is that our defense probably hasn't seen the offense on a weekly bases like we normally would. It will be a little more of a challenge for them to make sure they have their fits right and so forth. Our biggest plan is to stay simple and know how to execute."
Brevard's defensive unit is vastly improved from last year's club. BC is tied with Wingate for the conference lead with eight interceptions on the year. The Tornados also rank third in fumble recoveries with six. Those totals are 20th and 62nd nationally, respectively.
Jinsley Jhon leads Brevard defensively. The linebacker is eighth in the country with 11.2 tackles per game. He enters the contest off a 15-tackle performance against Tusculum.
Carson-Newman head football coach Ken Sparks will be trying to unify title belts, so to speak. Depending upon which list you consult, Sparks is either fifth or sixth on the all-time wins list for college football. With his 337th career win, Sparks would become a unanimous fifth all-time on college football's wins list, passing Pop Warner.
Warner is credited for wins by the NCAA while coaching Cornell, Georgia and Iowa State simultaneously. A few other publications don't give Warner credit for some of the wins he obtained while coaching teams simultaneously, thus, Carson-Newman had Sparks passing Pop Warner with his 320th career win back on Sept. 20, 2014, coincidentally, with a win over Brevard.
However, with a win over Brevard Saturday, Sparks would unanimously be fifth all-time in wins with a 337th career victory.
Carson-Newman's offense features three of the top 10 rushers in the league in Montavious Taylor (Atlanta, Ga.), Antonio Wimbush (Kingsland, Ga.) and Jamal Jones (Chattanooga, Tenn.). They all average at least 65 yards per game.
Senior linebacker Lane Bloom is putting together an All-SAC, if not All-America-caliber senior season. The Knoxville, Tenn.-native has 7.5 tackles for loss, the third highest total in the league, to go along with a pair of 13-tackle performances. He's seventh in the league in stops.
Kickoff between the Eagles and Tornados is set for 1 p.m. Saturday. Pregame coverage on the Eagle Sports Network starts at noon with the AEC Tailgate Show on Joy 620 (WRJZ-AM, Knoxville), Mountain Country 106.3 (WPFT-FM, Sevierville) and online at cneagles.com/live.