Catawba pulls off upset of 10th ranked Eagles
JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – No. 10 Carson-Newman (3-1, 1-1 SAC) was held under 300 yards rushing for the first time in a year as Catawba (3-1, 1-1 SAC) pulled off a 25-22 upset at Mossy Creek.
The victory is just Catawba's third at Burke-Tarr Stadium and the Indian's first over the Eagles since 2007.
"We did not at times practice very well," C-N head coach Ken Sparks said. "I think sometimes we think that we're invincible and get a little fat-headed and that we don't have to do the little things in the world."
The Eagles ran the ball for 236 yards – their lowest total since a 244-yard performance in a loss to Wingate last year. Tyron Douglas (Clover, S.C.) led the way with 113 yards on the ground.
Catawba took a 19-16 lead late with 4:16 left in the fourth quarter on a David Burgess seven-yard jaunt up the middle of the field. The Eagles would respond with a TraShaun Ward (Miami, Fla.) 78-yard kickoff return to the Indians' 12. The short field set the Eagles up to retake the lead on a De'Andre Thomas (Milledgeville, Ga.) quarterback sneak over the left side of the line. However, Curt Duncan (Morristown, Tenn.) banked the extra point off the left upright to make it a three-point game, 22-19.
Carson-Newman looked to have the Indians bottled up and the game in hand, but Catawba quarterback Danny O'Brien connected with Bruce Smith on an 18-yard post pattern over the middle of the field to convert on fourth and 10 from the Indians' own 12.
Catawba would drive down to the Eagles' 12, but a O'Brien lateral out of bounds and a holding penalty backed the Indians back to the 32. O'Brien then hooked up with Tarrats along the left hash to put the go-ahead touchdown on the board. The Eagles Jarrett East-Brown blocked the ensuing extra point – his third career block - to give C-N the opportunity to tie with a field goal.
"We didn't execute our offense well today," Sparks said. "And then we gave up some big plays on defense. Catawba had a good scheme, they did a good job."
The Eagles nearly did tie the game, but Duncan's 33-yard attempt sailed wide to the left and the Indians were able to burn the final moments off the clock.
O'Brien tossed for 444 yards – the first 400-yard game through the air against the Eagles since Bo Cordell threw for more than 500 yards for Tusculum in 2009.
The Indians still racked up 464 yards of total offense. However, it's the second straight year C-N's defense held Catawba to under 25 yards rushing.
The Eagles hit the road next Saturday to play Mars Hill. The game kicks off at 2 p.m. Coverage on the Eagle Sports Network starts at 1 p.m. with the Tailgate Show on Joy 620 (WRJZ-AM, Knoxville), 106.3 ESPN Radio the Zone (WPFT-FM, Sevierville) and online at cneagles.com/live.