CU BREAKS 3-GAME LOSING STREAK
LEBANON -- Cumberland’s defense continued its outstanding play, holding Faulkner to just 106 total yards in a 23-6 victory over the Eagles Saturday afternoon at Lindsey Donnell Stadium.
"I’m so proud of our defense unit," said CU coach Dewayne Alexander. "Those guys are playing with a swagger. They run around and try to make plays and that’s contagiuos. I think we would have been able to play out here for another two or three hours and we would have been able to home ‘em out."
The win ended a three-game losing streak for Cumberland (2-4, 1-1 MSC), as the Bulldog defense posted a shutout. Faulkner’s only points came on an interception return for a touchdown early in the third quarter.
Cumberland dominated possession of the football, posting 40:45 in time of possession and running 82 total offensive plays for 323 yards.
Fullback and Wilson Central graduate Mitch McChurch rushed 15 times for 61 yards, while Da’Jaun Manning carried 14 times for 54 yards.
"We had over 200 yards rushing after finding a couple of things we could hang our hats on," Alexander said. "Overall -- we needed a win. We had been playing close, but we needed a win and went out and got one."
Ken Dixon also rushed four times for 54 yards, including a 45-yard scamper in the second quarter, and one score, while Kevin Smithson, the backup quarterback and a backup tight end until two weeks ago, carried five times for 29 yards out of a "Wildcat" set.
Faulkner (1-5, 0-3) registered just five first downs and 106 total yards.
The Bulldogs forced two turnovers, a fumble recovery by Stephon Ransom and an interception by freshman Cody McCallister.
CU quarterback Christian Burnett went 10-for-22 for 101 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.
Cumberland scored on a 32-yard pass from Burnett to Ronez Harris late in the first quarter, with Harris catching the pass and breaking a tackle at the 10-yard line before heading into the end zone.
Nick Sasser’s extra point was wide left, and CU led 6-0.
The Eagles’ Matt Fleck blocked a punt in the second quarter and Faulkner took over at the CU 14-yard line, but freshman Cody McCallister intercepted a pass at the one yard line on the first play of the drive and returned it to the Eagles 43.
The Bulldogs scored six plays later on a six-yard run by Dixon. Burnett hit Lebanon’s Kenny Sallis with the two-point conversion for a 14-0 advantage.
CU scored again just before the half, covering 57 yards on 10 plays, including a 45-yard run by Dixon.
Manning swept around right end, getting into the end zone right at the pylon for a five-yard TD run just 31 seconds before the break. Sasser’s PAT was wide left again, and the Bulldogs took a 20-0 halftime edge.
Faulkner’s Q. Braswell got the Eagles on the scoreboard early in the third quarter, intercepting a Burnett pass, breaking several tackles before finding open turf for a 60-yard touchdown.
Faulkner tried an onside kick after the TD, but the ball did not travel 10 yards, setting up the Bulldogs in Eagles territory.
CU covered only 23 yards but took 10 plays, and Sasser booted through a 28-yard field goal for a 23-6 lead for the final scoring of the contest.
CU visits UVA-Wise Saturday, Oct. 17 for a 12:30 p.m. CT contest.