VIDEO: Ken Sparks Interview
VIDEO: Austin Lewis Interview
VIDEO: Antonio Wimbush Interview
VIDEO: Jerry Miclisse Interview
VIDEO: Lane Bloom Interview
JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Carson-Newman (4-5) rallied from a third quarter deficit for the first time in the last three years to snag a fifth consecutive Homecoming win, 39-25 over Limestone (5-4), Saturday afternoon at Burke-Tarr Stadium.
The Eagles trailed by a point at the end of 45 minutes, but scored 15 unanswered fourth quarter points to cement the victory and get back into the win column. It marked Carson-Newman's second win since 2012 when trailing after three quarters. Coincidentally, the only other time its happened was also a homecoming game. The Eagles rallied to beat North Greenville 35-32 on homecoming in 2014.
"Winning's a lot more fun than losing, I can't recommend it enough," head football coach Ken Sparks said. "Our kids responded great. Think about what all we've been through and where we are as far as playing so many young people. We're starting to see some growth and maturity."
The Eagles tallied 541 yards of total offense on 79 plays, 349 yards came on the ground with 192 through the air.
The day celebrated not only Homecoming for the Eagles, but also senior day, the induction of five new members into the Carson-Newman Athletics Hall of Fame (including former football players Mike Clowney and Cedric Killings) and the 20-year reunion of the 1996 NCAA Division II national runner-up team.
"I saw more former players today than I ever have at a ballgame," Sparks said. "For me to be able to hug so many necks today. I was so grateful to see them and to get to fellowship with them."
Lane Bloom records six tackles and an interception in C-N's 39-25 win over the Saints. Stay current with all of the latest Carson-Newman athletics news by following the Eagles on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. https://www.facebook.com/CNEagles http://instagram.com/cnathletics https://twitter.com/CNathletics The official website of Carson-Newman athletics can be found by visiting http://cneagles.com/
Carson-Newman got started quickly and efficiently, marching down the field on a 14-play, 83-yard drive on the opening possession. Noah Suber (Asheville, N.C.) capped the drive with a one-yard quarterback sneak. The QB sneak was the shortest play of the drive. C-N gained at least four yards on all but one play of the possession. Of the 14 plays, C-N ran the dive for 11 of them.
The Eagles' offensive efficiency waned a touch as the quarter wore on, but Carson Wise (Blacksburg, Va.) was able to push C-N's lead to 10-0 with :27 seconds left in the quarter on a 32-yard field goal.
Limestone's defense once again proved to be its best offense early in the second quarter. The Saints, who lead the nation in turnovers forced, picked up a fumble recovery early in the second to set up a 21-yard field.
Jerry Miclisse notches seven tackles including 1.5 for loss on his senior day during a 39-25 win over Limestone. Stay current with all of the latest Carson-Newman athletics news by following the Eagles on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. https://www.facebook.com/CNEagles http://instagram.com/cnathletics https://twitter.com/CNathletics The official website of Carson-Newman athletics can be found by visiting http://cneagles.com/
Four plays later, Ga'Quan Maize used a cut-back lane for a 13-yard touchdown. The PAT was blocked and the Saints trailed by four with 10:26 to play in the second quarter.
The sides battled to a stalemate for the rest of the first half before the Eagles broke through in the final 40 seconds. Suber floated a deep ball along the right sideline to Aaron Seward (Charlotte, N.C.). The senior wideout made an over-the-shoulder grab at the Saints' 20, the raced the final 20 yards into the end zone for a 70-yard score that put the Eagles ahead 17-6 at the halftime break.
The touchdown pass gave C-N its third 70-yard TD pass this season, the most for the program in one year this decade.
Limestone wasn't about to go quietly though.
The Saints outscored the Eagles 19-7 in the third quarter to grab the lead with 2:50 to play in the frame.
"I want to compliment Limestone and coach Mike Furrey," Sparks said. "They've brought that program around quickly. They really played hard today."
The Saints opened the third-quarter scoring with a six-play 78-yard drive that saw QB Ivan Corbin hit D'Anta Fleming on a 19-yard TD over the middle of the field. It marked the first time C-N had given up a touchdown on the first drive of the second half since week three against Catawba.
Antonio Wimbush racks up 143 yards rushing as the Eagles blast past the Saints 39-25. Stay current with all of the latest Carson-Newman athletics news by following the Eagles on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. https://www.facebook.com/CNEagles http://instagram.com/cnathletics https://twitter.com/CNathletics The official website of Carson-Newman athletics can be found by visiting http://cneagles.com/
An Antonio Wimbush (Kingslamd, Ga.) 20-yard TD run gave the Eagles a 24-12 advantage before Limestone got another TD from Fleming and a pick six from Joshua Simmons to take the lead with 2:50 left in the third quarter.
However, the Eagles closed things down in the fourth. Darvia DuBose (Darlington, S.C.) caught a 28-yard TD pass from Suber and Wimbush used a second effort to get in on a two-yard trap play to cement the final score in favor of the Eagles 39-25.
"We had some breakdowns and they scored off our turnovers," Sparks said. "It was just a matter of getting all of us on the same page. Defense got stops and offense answered. We're grateful for the win and the lessons we can learn from it. Hopefully we can have some positive reinforcement from what came out of today."
For the second time this season, Carson-Newman featured a pair of 100-yard rushers. Both Wimbush and Montavious Taylor (Atlanta, Ga.) topped the century mark. Wimbush came within five yards of his career with his fifth career 100-yard performance thanks to 143 yards on 18 carries. He also found the end zone twice.
Austin Lewis recaps his senior day as the Eagles rack up 541 yards of total offense in the win over the Saints. Stay current with all of the latest Carson-Newman athletics news by following the Eagles on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. https://www.facebook.com/CNEagles http://instagram.com/cnathletics https://twitter.com/CNathletics The official website of Carson-Newman athletics can be found by visiting http://cneagles.com/
Taylor had 121 yards on 25 carries. Jamal Jones (Chattanooga, Tenn.) also factored in prominently with 10 touches for 78 yards.
"They run so hard," Sparks said. "Those kids are winners. They enjoy playing and make everyone else around them better. There were times today where we didn't block it for them, but they got yardage anyway. An average back gets what you block for. Great backs get more yardage than what you block for. Those guys did that today."
Suber was more than capable in the passing game, completing 8-of-13 pass for 192 yards and the two touchdowns. Six different receivers caught passes for the Eagles. DuBose and Taylor each had two, while Seward's 70 yards were the top mark for the Eagles.
Maize led a tri of Saints rushers with 66 yards and a score. Limestone QB Ivan Corbin was just 3-for-13 through the air at halftime, but finished 17-for-35 with two picks, two TDs and 247 yards. He also rushed for 34 yards.
Jyquis Callahan and Evan Patrick each had 15 stops for the Saints' defense.
Desmond Fairell (Miami, Fla.) led Carson-Newman in tackles for the first time in his career with eight stops, an honor he shared with Sha'Heem Stupart (Taylors, S.C.). Stupart also had 1.5 sacks. Jerry Miclisse (Homestead, Fla.) tallied seven tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss.
The Eagles remain in nonconference play in week 10 with a road trip to North Greenville. Kickoff against the Crusaders is set for 1 p.m. 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.