JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. - This is the final part in an 11-part series breaking down all of Carson-Newman football's opponents for the 2018 season. The Eagles wrap up the regular season with a road trip to UNC Pembroke.
The last remaining independent in Division II and SAC scheduling alliance partner UNC Pembroke wraps up the Eagles' 2018 regular season schedule with a nonconference game.
The Braves will be looking to improve after going 2-8 last season. After returning just six starters total in 2017, the Braves bring back 10 starters on offense and seven on defense.
Even though the Braves return starters in bunches, they'll have to improve up their 2017 seasons.
Dominick Samson appeared in all 10 games for the Braves at quarterback last year. He completed 59 percent of his passes for 1,749 yards and 14 touchdowns. The rub? He also threw 11 interceptions. Samson didn't get the start against Carson-Newman in the finale, that honor went to Austin Foley, who was efficient, but didn't really wrack up yardage.
Foley completed 18-of-25 passes against the Eagles for 109 yards. He tossed a touchdown, but was also picked off twice.
Their top target Jojo Spann is gone, the lone starter lost offensively. Spann was in competition with the Eagles' Dorren Miller for being one of the nation's top big-play receiving threats. Spann was in the top five nationally, averaging 20 yards a catch.
Now the Braves turn Quay Threatt in the receiving corps. He led the Braves with 17 catches for 185 yards and two scores last year.
The Braves also return leading rusher Josh Sherian and his 81 carries, 369 yards and four scores. The Braves struggled to run the ball against Carson-Newman last year, gaining 29 yards on 27 carries.
Defensively, things are rosy with All-American defensive end Tyler Hinton back for his senior season.
Hinton became the 15th different football player in the 11-year history of the program to pick up all-America honors. It is the ninth time in the last 10 years that the Braves have been represented on at least one all-America squad.
Hinton, a three-year starter at defensive end for the Braves, amassed 44 tackles (22 solo) during the 2017 campaign, including 15-1/2 tackles for loss (-74 yards) and a team-best nine sacks. His sack total marked the second-most single-season sacks in school history, and moved him past former UNCP defensive lineman and current assistant coach DeVante Bush atop UNCP's career sacks list with 20.0.
Hinton has played in 31 games for the Black & Gold during his collegiate career and has logged 100 career tackles (53 solo), including 32-/12 tackles for loss. He has also registered three career forced fumbles and 24 quarterback hurries, including a career-best 12 hurries in 2017.
Carson-Newman opens its season Aug. 30 at West Florida. Kickoff with the second-ranked Argos is set for 8 p.m. eastern, 7 p.m. central/local time. Pregame coverage on the Eagle Sports Network begins at 6 p.m. EDT/ 7 p.m. CDT with the AEC Tailgate Show on Joy 620 (WRJZ-AM, Knoxville), Mountain Country 106.3 (WPFT-FM, Sevierville) and online at cneagles.com.