By TOMMY BRYAN, The Wilson Post
The West Division crown of the Mid-South Conference will be on the line Saturday as Cumberland hosts 11th-ranked Lambuth in the 2008 regular season finale.
Kickoff is set for 12 Noon at Lindsey Donnell Stadium, Kirk Field, with live radio coverage beginning at 11:30 a.m. on WANT FM-98.9.
Cumberland comes in 5-5 overall after last week’s 51-14 victory over Kentucky Christian University. The win marked the highest point production for Coach Dewayne Alexander’s squad this season.
Lambuth (8-2) opened the 2008 season with consecutive losses (to Murray State and to Union, KY) before reeling off eight consecutive victories. The Eagles have out-scored their opponents 410-194 during this eight-game stretch -- averaging 51 points per game while allowing 24 ppg.
With a victory, the Eagles would lock up the divisional title. A Cumberland win and a win by Shorter over Bethel tonight would see the division end in a three-way tie between CU, Shorter and Lambuth.
A division championship and a Top 20 ranking would assure Lambuth of an NAIA play-off berth.
"Lambuth will be the most balanced team we’ve played this season when you look at their ability to run and pass the football," Coach Alexander said. That creates problems trying to prepare because they are equally good at both. They have two outstanding quarterbacks -- both of whom have the ability to pull the ball down and make plays with their legs and that always puts stress on the defense."
CU expects a boost on defense as linebacker Melvin Armstrong, a native of West Tennessee, returns to the field after sitting out last week with a knee injury.
"Melvin adds so much to our football team," Coach Alexander said. "He’s got the ability to make plays and to put people on the ground. He could have played last week, but the medical people thought it would be good to give him a week off."
Armstrong, who hails from Henderson, is 6-2, 210 sophomore by way of Northwest Mississippi Community College.
Cumberland quarterback Matt Eads (Bluff City, Sullivan Central) has completed 150-of-255 passing attempts (58.8 percent). His passes have gone for 2,336 yards and 17 touchdowns with 12 INTs.
Wingback James McClain (Nashville, Hunters Lane) lead the team with an average of 23.4 yards per reception on 20 catches for 468 yards and four touchdowns.
THE SERIES -- Saturday marks the 26th meeting between the two schools. Lambuth leads the series 14-11. They first met back in 1933. LU has won five in a row; five of the last seven. Lambuth won last year in Jackson by a score of 39-28.