Boiling Springs, N.C. - Michael Crumbaker found the end zone twice as the Tornados battled back by scoring 14 points in the fourth quarter, but the 14-0 halftime deficit was too much as Brevard fell for the first time in the 2010 football season, losing to FCS opponent Gardner-Webb, 28-14.
The Tornados (1-1) were led on the ground by freshman Thadus Benton as the fullback gained 78 yards on 20 carries. Kelvin Jeter also picked up 78 yards for Brevard on the ground on 17 carries, while Crumbaker had two rushing touchdowns among his 32 rushing yards. In the air, Crumbaker was two of three with an interception, finding Eric Watts on a 27-yard strike down to the GWU two-yard line in the fourth quarter, but was sacked five times in the contest.
On the defensive side, Salonik Amos led the Tornados with nine tackles (eight solo), while Trey Jenkins and Michael Gist each recorded six tackles and a tackle for loss. Christian Lumbu also recovered a fumble for the BC defense.
Juanne Blount led the Gardner-Webb (1-0) with 134 yards on the ground on 18 carries, including a touchdown to pace the Runnin’ Bulldogs attack. In the air, Chandler Browning and John Rock combined to go 12-16 with a touchdown strike to Jamal Patmon.
Defensively, Jeffrey Williams led all players on the field with 18 tackles, three behind the BC line of scrimmage and an interception, while Lyndrez Leslie added 11 stops in the game.
The Tornados won the opening coin toss and chose to receive. On the first play of the game from scrimmage, Crumbaker run up the middle, but the ball was forced out Nelson Rushing and scooped up by Jordan Woods on the Brevard 28-yard line, changing possession to Gardner-Webb.
The Runnin’ Bulldogs capitalized as Little carried the ball three times with the last being a nine-yard carry into the end zone, putting the hosts up 7-0 with 13:55 to play in the first quarter.
The Tornados put together a drive on their second offensive possession, starting with a 20-yard kickoff return by Justin Fleming to the BC 37-yard line. Fleming added a 14-yard carry on the 10-play drive and Jeter and Crumbaker combined for 35 yards on the ground as Brevard moved the ball down to the GWU 9-yard line. A pass in the left flat to Xavier Johnson picked up seven giving the Tornados fourth and goal, but the GWU defense dropped Crumbaker behind the line on the next play, ending the Tornados drive.
On the change of possession, following a first down to the GWU 24-yard line, Juanne Blount broke through the right side of the BC defense, moving 58 yards down to the BC 18 before Prince Simunyu and C.J. Wilson chased him down. Three plays later, GWU moved into the end zone as Rock scored on a quarterback keeper and following the extra point by Ryan Gates, the Runnin Bulldogs went up 14-0 with 6:09 left in the first quarter.
The remainder of the first half was a battle of field position between punters Eric Watts and Graham Purvis. BC had one final drive in the second quarter, moving the ball to the GWU 29-yard line, but the Tornados’ drive stalled as Crumbaker was intercepted by Jeffrey Williams.
After each sides swapped possession in the second half, the Runnin’ Bulldogs took to the ground as Blount carried the ball eight times on the 11-play drive, moving GWU down to the BC seven-yard line before the Rock connected with Patmon in the back of the left end zone on a fade, putting the score at 21-0 in favor of the home team with 7:15 left to play in the third quarter.
After a Brevard punt, Gardner-Webb moved the ball out to midfield before Browning was stripped of the ball, with Christian Lumbu falling on top to give the Tornados great field position. A GWU personal foul two plays later moved the ball to the GWU 30-yard line, where the Tornados went to work, pounding the ball behind Benton, Crumbaker and Jeter before Crumbaker took the snap and found a gap in the line, rushing into the end zone from three yards out to put BC on the board. Chase Henry’s extra point made the score 21-7 with 12:57 left in the game.
A personal foul and a defensive pass interference led to Gardner-Webb’s touchdown in the next possession as Blount carried it in from two yards out to put the score at 28-7 with 9:45 left on the clock.
The Tornados took a long drive on their next possession, moving the ball 68 yards on 12 plays, consuming 7:03 before Crumbaker again found pay dirt, this time squeezing through the right side of the line for the score to cut the game back to 28-14.
A final possession by Gardner-Webb ran out the clock as the Tornados suffered their first loss of the season, 28-14.
Brevard has a bye week next week, before continuing their road trip on September 18th in Charlotte, N.C. against Johnson C. Smith. Kickoff for the game between the Tornados and the Golden Bulls is set for 2 p.m.