Sun, Sep. 16, 2012 - [Football]
October 1st, 2011 is a day that was remembered by the University of the Cumberlands (UC) football team for nearly a year. On that day, for the first time in the Coach John Bland era, the Patriots lost to the Union College Bulldogs 24-19. The loss fueled the Patriots for the rest of the season and since then, UC is on a streak of revenge winning 7 straight games and playing some of their best football in recent history.
Saturday was a day the Patriots had looked forward to since that dreary day last October. The Patriots came out not only with revenge on their mind but to prove a point, and a point heard throughout the Mid-South Conference as they won in a convincing 48-14 fashion over the Bulldogs. Much of the talk coming into the game was could a Union offense that gave the Patriots so many fits last season keep it up this year.
UC came out on the first series and left little doubt that this game would belong to the Patriots. On the opening drive, the Patriots marched right down the field setting up a 13 yard touchdown run by game standout Iquan Deed (Montezuma, GA) for his 1st touchdown on the day.
After both offenses struggled to get anything going after that, the Patriots exploded offensively much like they did the week before at Cumberland University. Willie Gibson (Abbeville, GA) showed his athleticism at the end of the first quarter as he rushed for a 26 yard touchdown with 1:16 remaining in the 1st quarter. The Patriots held a 14-0 lead after the first, but then Union's offense put their best effort forward on the next drive as they scored a touchdown to cut the lead to 14-7.
Deed then decided he would take matters into his own hands on the next 3 drives with a 30 yard touchdown run, a 38 yard touchdown pass, and a 34 yard touchdown run to give him 4 scores in the first half. With 2:53 left in the half, Terrance Cobb (Knoxville, GA) added his name to the scoring as he added a 1 yard touchdown to give the Patriots a 42-7 lead at the half, silencing the Bulldog fans on "Black and Orange Day."
The Patriots then started to show their depth on the offensive side of the football as their bench played the entire second half. Union would score again with 50 seconds left in the 3rd quarter to make it a 42-14 game, but in the 4th quarter, backup quarterback Phillip Wells (Lafollette, TN) would find Fred Byars, Jr. (Atlanta, GA) on a 28 yard touchdown strike to give the Patriots a 48-14 lead, which would complete the scoring on the day.
The Patriots dominated every fashion of the ballgame and Deed led the way on the ground with 7 carries for 153 yards and 3 touchdowns. Iquan also hauled in a pass for 38 yards and a touchdown. He showed his pure athleticism as he also went 1-1 through the air for 30 yards. Sophomore running back Tyler Edwards (Hartsville, TN) would also contribute with 8 carries for 55 yards. Gibson added 55 yards on the ground on 2 carries with a touchdown. He also caught one pass for 40 yards.
UC's defense continued their dominance on the season in this game as they racked up 8 sacks and 19 tackles for loss on the day. Junior Weston Hazelhurst (Clinton, GA) continued his success as he recorded a team high 8 tackles with 2 sacks and 2.5 tackles for loss. Another bright spot for the defense was what they got out of transfer Nick Smith (Knoxville, TN) as he fought his way through a big Union line gathering 1.5 sacks, 2.5 tackles for loss, and 6 total tackles. The defense held a Bulldog offense to 303 yards of total offense and kept Union quarterback Mike Brinkley grounded for a majority of the day.
Coach John Bland was thrilled with the way his team played stating, "We had a great week of practice and were ready for this game. We played hard and I am just proud of these guys."
The Patriots sure look ready to roll as they picked up their first conference win of the year along with their 8th straight overall and 3rd of the season. This was also the largest victory in the "Battle for the Brass Lantern" as they surpassed the 1985 game where Cumberlands won 50-19. This was also head coach John Bland's 50th win of his career here at UC, as it comes against the very team he got his first win against.
Next week, the Patriots finally make their way back home as they take on a familiar opponent in the University of Pikeville for the first time in 3 years. That game is scheduled for 1:30 pm at James H. Taylor, II Stadium.
If you're unable to go to the game, the game will be broadcasted locally on WEZJ 104.3 FM. If you are out of the listening area, you can always catch Cumberlands football by logging onto www.cumberlandspatriots.com.
For more information on the Patriots football program along with other Patriot athletics, please visit www.cumberlandspatriots.com.