Defense, passing game shine in annual media day scrimmage

VIDEO: Scrimmage Highlights

VIDEO: Mike Turner Press Conference

VIDEO: Larry Slade Press Conference

JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Carson-Newman's first team defense stymied the offense on every drive longer than 50 yards, while Eagle quarterbacks tossed three touchdown passes during a situational scrimmage Tuesday during the football program's annual media day festivities at Burke-Tarr Stadium.

Linebacker Rondrow Peebles (Knoxville, Tenn.) set the tone early for the defense, scooping and "scoring" an early fumble on the first series.  On four drives starting on its own 35, Carson-Newman's offense only made it past the defense's 40 once.  That would be the only turnover on the day for the Eagles' offense.

However, Carson-Newman's offense came to life in other situations.  Tyler Thackerson (Clinton, Tenn.) hit Braxton Westfield (Simpsonville, S.C.) on a 22-yard fly route on the left side of the end zone for the offense's first touchdown. Derrick Evans connected with Romain Kelly (Spartanburg, S.C.) and Jacob Reece (Morganton, Ga.) on touchdowns in goal line situations on a fade and a drag route, respectively. 

Carson-Newman's passing game also had its moments with its back to the wall.  Facing a 99-yard field, Thackerson and Evans both got Carson-Newman out of danger.  Thackerson hit Westfield on a 54-yard ball featuring an acrobatic one-handed catch by Westfield.  The next drive, Evans lofted a ball for a 42-yard hookup over Kelly's right shoulder and a vertical pattern.

On the ground, it was Troy Dendy (Laurens, S.C.) who had the highlight reel run with a 35-yard jaunt on a speed option play. 

Carson-Newman concludes its preseason scrimmages Saturday at Burke-Tarr Stadium at 9 a.m. The Eagles open the season Sept. 5 at 7 p.m. against West Florida.

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