The University of the Cumberlands (UC) football team entered their 8th game of their schedule looking to continue their quest of an undefeated season. The Patriots also were hoping to continue the momentum they had last week against Reinhardt University where they scored 21 unanswered points in the 4th quarter to defeat the Eagles 28-24. The road would not be easy though as the Patriots would have to overcome injuries, and a stingy Campbellsville University (CU) Tiger defense, however, in the end the Pats came away with the 70-17 victory.
The Patriots wasted no time setting the tone as on the first drive, freshman Adam Craig (Jackson, TN) led a tremendous 8 play, 71 yard drive that was capped off with a 13 yard touchdown run by Hunter Lewis (Dunlap, TN). The defense was just as impressive on their first series as after a quick first down, they forced the Tigers to punt. UC didn't let up on their next series as Hunter Lewis found the end zone once again as he capped off an 11 play, 80 yard drive with a 9 yard touchdown run to make it 14-0 Patriots. Campbellsville tried its best to find the end zone on their next drive but the bend-not-break mentality of the Patriots defense was on display once again as they forced the Tigers to a 36 yard field goal to make it 14-3 Patriots.
The whole season Adam Craig has been spectacular for the Patriots. He has been just the spark the already explosive Patriot offense has needed and it was clear on the first drive of the second quarter as he took it 44 yards to the end zone to make it 21-3 UC. The defense came out on the next series and was all over the Tigers as they forced a turnover recovered by Weston Hazelhurst (Clinton, TN). It was Craig now doing it with his arm on the next series as he connected with Iquan Deed (Montezuma, GA) on a beautiful 18 yard reception to make it 28-3 Patriots with still 9 minutes to go in the half. The Tiger offense finally found its way through the UC defense as they scored on a 5 yard touchdown pass to make it 28-10 with 4 minutes to go in the half. John Bland then went to his bag of tricks on the next series as he called a halfback pass that was successful yet again as Iquan Deed connected with a wide open Maleek Rooks (Chattanooga, TN) on a 43 yard touchdown throw to make it 35-10 Patriots. The Patriots' "shark" defense wasn't finished with turnovers as Hazelhurst forced a fumble and recovered his second fumble of the game to give the Patriots the ball with 36 seconds left inside Campbellsville 10 yard line. It was Zeke Eier (New Carlisle, OH) to join the touchdown club as he found his way in the end zone to make it 42-10 Patriots to end the half.
The Patriots came out in the second half with their foot still on the pedal in full force. Iquan Deed joined Adam Craig in the "triple crown club" this season as with his 13 yard touchdown run, it gave him a receiving, passing, and rushing touchdown in the game and UC a 49-10 lead. The Patriots weren't finished as Zack Balusik (Greensburg, IN) caught his first touchdown pass of his career from Randy Maynard (Pikeville, KY) to make it 56-10 UC.
The defense held strong again giving the Tigers offense fits and not letting up at all. Neither was the Patriot offense as it was Eier who continued with his successful day as he added an 11 yard touchdown run to make it 63-10 Patriots with just fewer than 12 minutes to go in the 4th quarter. Eier wasn't finished and neither were the Patriots, as he found the end zone yet again for the 3rd time in the game on a 1 yard run, making it 70-10, the first time the Patriots have put up 70 since 2010. Campbellsville would add a late touchdown, moving the final score to 70-17.
The Patriot offense was nothing but impressive as they shredded the Tigers defense on the day as they were led by Hunter Lewis as he carried the ball 10 times for 101 yards and 2 touchdowns. Craig would add 11 carries for 98 yards and a touchdown as well. Zeke Eier was a stud in the backfield for the Patriots as he carried the ball 13 times for 79 yards and 3 touchdowns. Also, three different Patriots threw for touchdowns in the game as Craig, Deed, and Maynard all found the end zone through the air. The Patriots would combine for 600 yards of total offense on the game.
As for the defense, they were even more impressive this week as they had their best game defensively since September 26th against the University of Pikeville where they allowed a season low 3 points. Hazelhurst led the Patriot defense on the day with 6 total tackles including 1 sack, 2 tackles for loss, 1 forced fumble, and 2 fumble recoveries. Reggie Murray (Miami, FL) also shared the tackles lead with 6 of his own. UC's defense would force 4 interceptions on the game, scoring on 3 of those turnovers.
Head Coach John Bland was proud of his team's effort as he commented, "We played so well today. That was about as complete as we could have played. I am proud of what these guys are accomplishing and we are starting to play well at just the right time."
With the win the Patriots move to 8-0 for the first time since 1988 and only the second time in school history.
The Patriots will now turn their focus to Kentucky Christian for their final regular season home game on November 9th. It will be an emotional one for the Patriots as they will be saying goodbye to 19 seniors as they celebrate senior day. That game is scheduled to kickoff at 12:00 pm with senior day festivities to start at 11:30 am at James H. Taylor, II Stadium.
For more information on Cumberlands Patriots football, as well as other Cumberlands Athletics visit our website at www.cumberlandspatriots.com.