VIDEO: Ken Sparks Interview
VIDEO: Joe Harris Interview
VIDEO: Jared Dillingham Interview
VIDEO: Tyson Herron Interview
VIDEO: Brandon Staton Interview
BREVARD, N.C. – Carson-Newman (3-3, 2-2, South Atlantic Conference) jumped out to a two-score lead six minutes into the game and never looked back in a 47-0 lambasting of Brevard (1-5, 0-3 SAC) Saturday afternoon at Brevard Memorial Stadium.
The Eagles picked up their first shutout in 121 games and 11 years. The Eagles blanked Webber International on Aug. 31, 2006 to open up that season with a 44-0 win. It marked the Eagles first shutout of an NCAA and SAC foe since a 38-0 win at Tusculum on Oct. 15, 2005.
Carson-Newman defense was at its finest on the day. The Eagles limited Brevard to 56 yards of total offense on 41 plays. The Tornadoes averaged a paltry 1.5 yards per play.
"We proclaimed that it was our coming out game and that we were going to block and tackle like we know we are capable of doing," Carson-Newman head football coach Ken Sparks said. "I think we did some good things. I know Brevard is struggling with personnel and struggling with a situation that they have. I was really proud of the way we responded and didn't let where we were playing, who we were playing or the wind condition how we played. I thought that was an improvement because that is not what we have been doing, so that was a great improvement."
The 56 yards the Eagles allowed are the second fewest in program history. The Eagles were on pace to beat the school record of 35 yards allowed to Saint Augustine's in 2007; however, the Tornados tallied 23 yards on their final two drives to avoid going down at the top of the record book.
Brandon Staton (Barnwell, S.C.) led the Eagle defense with 10 tackles, including a pair for a loss. C-N made nine stops behind the line, including sacks from Joe Harris (Lithonia, Ga.), Sha'Heem Stupart (Taylors, S.C.) and Thomas Brown (Macon, Ga.).
Joe Harris tallies a pair of sacks as the Eagles pick up their first shutout since the 2006 season opener.
Senior linebacker Brandon Staton leads the charge for the Eagles defense to hold Brevard to 56 yards of total offense.
"Brevard is struggling with offensive lineman and I think they only had about five in uniform," Sparks said. "They were having a hard time blocking the line of scrimmage. I'll give our kids a little credit too because we had some guys flying around and controlling the line of scrimmage. We tackled pretty well and I don't believe we missed as many tackles as we have been. All of that was improvement and all of that was needed improvement, so we are grateful for that. I think we did a pretty good job on defense. Anytime you only give up 56 yards on defense, I don't care if it's in the backyard, that's pretty good."
While Carson-Newman's defense was hegemonic, the Eagles' offense moved the ball nearly at will. C-N only punted three times, all in the second half. Carson-Newman pounded out 420 yards rushing and 108 yards through the air for its fifth game this year with 500 yards of total offense.
Herron completed 5-of-9 passes for 100 yards while tallying up 35 yards on the ground with a touchdown. Evans was 3-for-4 aerially for eight yards. He rushed for 38 yards and a score.
"The main thing our young quarterbacks did was they took care of the football," Sparks said. "They made some mistakes and gave up a lot of negative plays that we shouldn't have. They did a good job some of the time. A couple of times they both looked good. On one play, Derrick went one play and flicked it the other way to really look like an all-world option quarterback. Tyson really got up in the line of scrimmage all game long. I was really proud of them. We are still making freshman mistakes in not getting the ball out when we need to or not reading the option. But, it was definitely an improvement."
The Eagles ground game featured seven different rushers who all tallied at least 30 yards on the ground. Starters Montavious Taylor (Atlanta, Ga.), Antonio Wimbush (Kingsland, Ga.) and Jamal Jones (Chattanooga, Tenn.) tallied 130, 63 and 47 yards, respectively.
Carson-Newman scored six rushing touchdowns by six different players. Demetri Saulsberry (Saint Mary's, Ga.) and Herron each found the end zone for the first time in their careers.
Lonnie Williams (Philadelphia, Pa.) led the Eagles' receiving corps with three catches for 73 yards.
A dominant first half saw the Eagles move the ball virtually at will while stonewalling the Tornadoes at every turn.
Tyson Herron throws for 100 yards in his first-career start as the Eagles pile up 500 yards of total offense in a 47-0 victory at Brevard.
Jared Dillingham runs the ball for 46 of the 500 yards of total offense as the Eagles blank Brevard 47-0.
Carson-Newman got the ball first and pushed the ball down the field at will on the ground. The Eagles marched 75 yards in 15 plays before Tyson Herron (Bogart, Ga.) converted a fourth and one with a quarterback sneak to put C-N up 7-0 after 5:10.
Brevard fumbled away its first play of the day, and Braxton Butler (Tallahassee, Fla.) recovered to give the Eagles a short field. Two plays, and a 25-yard Antonio Wimbush (Kingsland, Ga.) run later, the Eagles were up 14-0.
Following a Brevard punt, Carson-Newman moved the ball at will again, this time with Derrick Evans (Macon, Ga.) at quarterback. Jamal Jones (Chattanooga, Tenn.) accounted for the touchdown on a six-yard trap around the left side of the line. That pushed the Eagles' lead to 21-0 with 1:23 left in the third quarter.
Carson-Newman added two field goals in the second quarter, Jonathan King (Knoxville, Tenn.) powered through 30 and 46 yard kicks to set the halftime margin at 27-0 Eagles. The 46-yard kick was a career long for King and the longest kick by either he or Carson Wise (Blacksburg, Va.) in their respective careers.
Carson-Newman rolled up 356 yards of total offense in the first half on 45 plays. Brevard was held to 17 yards on 17 plays.
The dominance rolled over to the second half. Brevard's first six possessions of the second stanza featured four three-and-outs with an interception and a fumble lost. Meanwhile, the Eagles' offense clicked back into gear late in the third quarter. Marcus Williams (Apopka, Fla.) took a pitch around the left side of the line, got hit at the two, but spun and lurched his right arm with the ball over the goal line for his second touchdown of the season.
The 12-yard score for the sophomore put the Eagles in front 34-0 with 3:22 left in the third quarter.
Carson-Newman got a pair of fourth-quarter scores from Evans and Saulsberry to close the contest with the dominating 47-0 win in hand. Evans struck on a seven-yard option keeper around the right side of the line, while Saulsberry tallied a five-yard score on a pitch to the right.
Carson-Newman did not allow Brevard to run a play for more than 20 yards on the day. Of the 41 plays Brevard ran, 26 went for two yards or less.
The Eagles remain on the road next Saturday. Kickoff from Newberry is set for 4 p.m. Pregame coverage on the Eagle Sports Network starts at 3 with the AEC Tailgate Show on Joy 620 (WRJZ-AM, Knoxville), Mountain Country 106.3 (WPFT-FM, Sevierville) and online at cneagles.com/live.