With returning players reporting to campus Monday, Cumberland is ranked 25th in the NAIA football Coaches’ preseason top 25 poll, the national office released Monday.
Donnie Suber will enter his second season at the helm of the Bulldogs program after posting a 7-4 mark in 2013.
Cumberland won its final three games of last season to post the program’s fourth straight winning record. The Bulldogs have compiled a 30-13 mark over the last four years.
CU returns 13 starters, including seven on defense, as well as 34 total letterwinners from last season’s club. The quarterback tandem of redshirt seniors Broc Loveless and Reed Gurchiek will also be back, with the duo combining for 1,346 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns along with 1,287 yards passing and five TDs.
The club’s leading tackler, Nathan Jernigan, who tallied 66 stops with eight tackles for loss and four interceptions, along with fellow linebacker Christopher Golden (52 tackles, 3 TFLs), anchor a defense that forced 25 turnovers with 25 sacks for the year.
The Bulldogs will welcome newcomers later in the week and begin practice this Thursday at Nokes-Lasater Field.
Cumberland will open the season at home against the University of the Cumberlands on Sept. 6 and will take on Belhaven, Campbellsville, Reinhardt and Alderson Broaddus at home in 2014. The Bulldogs will play road games at UT-Martin, Bluefield, Pikeville, Union College, Faulkner and Bethel.