Tornados take on SAC leader Carson-Newman
Brevard, N.C. - Coming off their first home loss of the season, the Tornados (6-2, 2-2 SAC) take to the road this weekend as they travel to Jefferson City, Tenn. to take on the AFCA #20-ranked Carson-Newman Eagles (6-2, 4-0 SAC) in a game between two of the South Atlantic Conference’s leading rushing attacks.
The Tornados are fifth in the nation and third in the SAC with 272.4 rushing yards per game, averaging 28.3 points per game mainly through the utilization of their rushing attack. Neville Bryce returned to action against Mars Hill, toting the ball nine times for 30 yards. Bryce has accumulated 523 rushing yards this year, averaging 74.7 yards per game as the Tornados primary ball carrier and is tied for fifth in the SAC in yards per game.
Fellow fullback Derek Church has provided a deft scoring touch this season, with five touchdowns on the season, including two against the Lions last week and is the Tornados primary short-yardage ball-carrier, while slot Shaton Pratt averages 5.2 yards per carry on the ground as the Tornados change-of-pace back.
Carson-Newman remains the only undefeated team in South Atlantic Conference play this season as they improved their record to 4-0 last weekend in a 17-13 win over Lenoir-Rhyne. The Bears held the Eagles to 112 yards rushing, 158 yards short of their average, but Preseason All-SAC quarterback Alex Good connected with fellow All-SAC running back Buck Wakefield and wide receiver for a pair of touchdowns in the fourth quarter to complete the comeback.
The Eagles had a four-game stretch earlier in the season where they rushed for over 300 yards per game and will put the SAC-leading Brevard College run defense, led by All-SAC linebackers Stanley Jones and Brandon Rawls, to the test. Brevard comes in allowing only 93.5 yards per game on the ground and will look to contain Good, who currently sits 25 yards shy of the Eagles’ career record for total offense, having gained 772 yards on the ground this season for seven scores, while throwing for 1089 yards and 12 scores through the air.
Good has thrown five interceptions on the season and the Tornados defense, riding a 10-game streak where they have both intercepted and sacked the opposing quarterback will look to keep those streaks alive against a team in which they were unable to do either last season.
Last year’s Homecoming game featured Carson-Newman and Brevard at Brevard Memorial Stadium and saw the Eagles outscore the Tornados 20-0 in the second half on their way to the 34-3 win. The Eagles took the opening drive 80 yards in 13 plays, taking 6:59 off the clock as Dewayne Mims ran it in for a score from a yard out. Chase Henry answered with a 35-yard field goal on BC’s first drive, but Wakefield had a 10-yard touchdown to give the Eagles the 14-3 lead.
John Taylor’s 44-yard run put Brevard on the Eagle 2-yard line but BC was unable to score and turned the ball over on downs just before halftime. Good and Nate Inman made it over the goal line in the second half for the Eagles to conclude the scoring.
The Tornados were able to rack up 166 of their 192 total yards on the ground as Taylor finished with 93 yards on 11 carries.
This season, the Eagles still struggle in defending the run, allowing 132.8 yards per game on the ground and 363.9 yards per game, allowing an average of 21.5 points per game for the opposing team.
Both defenses feature All-SAC caliber players as Brevard is headlined by the play of linebackers Jones, Rawls and sophomore safety Michael Gist. Jones leads the South Atlantic Conference in tackles with 84 on the season, averaging 10.5 per game, which is good for 18th in NCAA Division II, while Rawls has been a force behind the line of scrimmage, picking up 7.0 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks on the season. Gist has picked up where he left off last season, picking off five passes this season and returning three for touchdowns.
Carson-Newman has a trio of their own who were selected as Preseason First Team All-SAC members in defensive lineman Brandon Harmon, linebacker Brian Brown, and safety Mario Russell. Russell leads Carson-Newman with 69 tackles. He has broken up twelve passes and forced six fumbles, including a school record tying four in a 23-20 win against Newberry. Brown has 58 tackles, six tackles for loss, and two sacks. Harmon has 16 stops, including four behind the line of scrimmage.
The Eagles are 2-0 against the Tornados all-time, including a 52-13 win in 2007.
Kickoff time for Saturday’s game is set for 1 p.m. at Burke-Tarr Stadium in Jefferson City, Tenn.. As always, if you are unable to make the game in person, you can catch the game via live broadcast brought to you by the "Voice of the Tornados" Jim Stewart over the radio at WSQL 1240 AM or over the Internet at www.wsqlradio.com. You may also visit the Brevard College Athletics website at www.BCTornados.com and click on the "Stats" link posted on the schedule page.