BULLDOG OFFENSE SPUTTERS
McKENZIE -- Key injuries and lack of offensive execution stymied Cumberland in Saturday’s 13-3 road loss at Bethel University.
The Bulldogs fell to 1-4 overall and 0-1 in the Western Division of the Mid-South Counference. Bethel, playing for the first time this season at Wildcat Stadium, improved to 1-4 and 1-0 in the MSC West.
Coach Dewayne Alexander’s squad found itself somewhat limited offensively with starting quarterback Curt Bureau sidelined with an injured shoulder. The offensive woes began to multiply when leading rusher Travis Carter suffered a high ankle sprain early in the first half.
"We had a ‘Wildcat’ package with Travis taking direct snaps from center, but we had to throw all that out once he went down," Alexander said.
The Bulldogs gained just 48 yards in the second half and finished with 181 total yards in the contest.
The CU defense held Bethel to 313 total yards, but the Wildcats put together two scoring drives in the second half, both double-digit plays that resulted in a field goal and a touchdown.
Bethel’s Josh Boyd rushed 33 times for 143 yards and one touchdown, a five-yard score with less than two minutes remaining that put the game away for the Wildcats
Bethel ran 51 times in the contest for 224 yards.
"It’s not a lack of effort, it’s a lack of execution," Alexander said. "In these close games -- we’re just not making the plays we need at the right time. We’re going to keep fighting, keep working."
Da’Juan Manning led CU with 32 yards rushing on 11 carries, Mitch McChurch added 30 on six attempts and Carter gained 15 yards on five tries before exiting.
Freshman Chris Burnett finished 12-of-26 passing for 100 yards. He was sacked once. Tightend Mitch Reyonolds caught four balls for 41 yards and Mike Moore had two receptions for 23.
Linebacker Todd Holman led the Bulldog defense with 15 tackles, while Ben Miller was in on 10. Stephon Ransom had eight tackles and returned a Bethel fumble some 31 yards.
Cumberland hosts Faulkner Univ. Saturday, Oct. 10 at 1:30 p.m. for Homecoming at Lindsey Donnell Stadium.