The University of the Cumberlands (UC) came into their week 9 game against Kentucky Christian looking to continue the momentum they have had the last 5 quarters of play as they had outscored their opponents 91-17. UC would also look to continue their quest for an undefeated season. The challenge wouldn't be easy as they would take on a stingy Kentucky Christian University (KCU) defense and have to overcome the emotion of Senior Day as the Patriots said goodbye to 19 seniors.
After the first possession, all looked to be well as the Patriot defense forced a quick three and out. The explosive Patriot offense came to the field looking to get out early on the Knights. The Knights defense wasn't scared of the Patriot offense though as they gave them fits on the first couple of drives, as UC couldn't get anything going. Luckily for the Patriots, the defense was on fire stopping the KCU offense. After exchanging a couple possessions, it was D'Angelo Jordan (Jacksonville, FL) taking the first play of the drive 64 yards all the way to the end zone for a 7-0 lead with a minute to go in the 1st quarter. After another impressive stop by the Patriot defense, the Patriots got all the way down to the Knights 15 yard line before the defense of KCU held UC out of the end zone, making UC settle for a 32 yard field goal by Al Merrick (Pineville, KY) to make it 10-0 Patriots with 10 minutes left in the half.
The defense made sure the "sharks" attacked on the next drive as Jeremy Gardner (Franklin, KY) forced a fumble that was recovered by Terrell Jordan (Riverdale, GA). Adam Craig (Jackson, TN) and his offense wasted no time after the turnover as he quickly ran it in for a 3 yard touchdown and a 17-0 lead with 7 minutes left in the 2nd. Defensive Coordinator Michael Collins and his defense wasn't finished just yet as it was Seth Brewton (Corryton, TN) who intercepted his 1st of 3 passes on the day, and took it 37 yards for a touchdown and a commanding 24-0 lead. On the next series, Brewton continued his remarkable play as he picked off his 2nd pass of the day. The UC offense was unable to do anything with this turnover though as the tough defense of KCU stood to the test again and held the Patriots. KCU would let the clock run out of the 2nd and go to the half with the Patriots leading 24-0.
The key for the Patriots all season has been their ability to come out strong in the third and set the tone for the rest of the game. This was no different coming out of half as Adam Craig led a tremendous 8 play, 67 yard drive that was capped off with a touchdown run by Craig that made it 31-0 Patriots. It then seemed apparent that Coach Bland wanted to rest his players and gear up for what the Patriots hope is a memorable playoff run as the key offensive players were out the rest of the game. That still didn't mean the Patriots were done scoring. What could be the most overlooked thing on this Patriot team is the depth that they have on both sides of the ball. This was proven on the 1st drive of the 4th quarter as backup quarterback Randy Maynard (Pikeville, KY) connected with backup tight end Zack Balusik (Greensburg, IN) for a 25 yard touchdown pass and a 38-0 lead with just under 9 minutes left in the game.
The Knights looked to ruin the Patriots first shutout since 2011 as they lined up for a 43 yard field goal with just less than 4 minutes to go in the game. The attempt by Drew Slikker missed wide left though and the Patriots would run the clock out for the 38-0 win and their first shutout since the 2011 Senior Day where they defeated Belhaven University 58-0. The shutout would also be the 2nd shutout in Head Coach John Bland's remarkable 8 year career at UC.
The defense for the Patriots was incredible all game long. They kept making plays after plays holding the KCU offense to a season low 117 yards of offense. The Patriot defense also held the KCU offense to only 47 yards of rushing on 39 attempts. The defense was led by Seth Brewton who had his best game as a Patriot as he had 3 interceptions in the game, a new career high for him. Zack Bull (McDonough, GA) and Jimmy Preston (Paintsville, KY) had another huge day for the Patriots as they both combined for 18 total tackles both having 9 a piece. The "sharks" were swarming as usual as they combined for 4 total turnovers against the Knights. This also makes 9 quarters where the Patriots have held their opponents to only 17 points combined.
As for the offense, they were spectacular as ever as they totaled 338 rushing yards on the game. D'Angelo Jordan led the charge as he tallied up 111 yards for the Patriots averaging 11 yards per carry. Craig continued to show how special he was on the ground as he tallied 63 yards rushing and 2 touchdowns. What Cumberlands has been able to do the last 9 quarters is just as impressive as the defense as they have tallied up 129 points over that span.
Head Coach John Bland moves his record to 7-1 all time on senior day at UC as he has dominated the competition on that day. "I am so proud of our guys," said Bland. "They work so hard each day for these opportunities. They know they have a goal of going through the regular season undefeated and they are just 1 game away from doing that. We just have to stay focused and we will reach our goals. Today is really about the seniors though and sending them out with a win is something special because they have given so much to this program."
The Patriots look to continue their quest for perfection next week as they wrap up their regular season on the road as they travel to Bluefield College to take on the Rams. This will be the first time both of these teams have squared off, and expectations couldn't be higher for UC. That game is scheduled to kickoff at 1:30 pm. If you are unable to attend, you can listen to the action on www.cumberlandspatriots.com.
For more information on the Cumberlands Patriots football team, as well as the rest of Cumberlands athletics, visit our website at www.cumberlandspatriots.com.