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Bulldogs to host Campbellsville under lights
Oct 20, 2012 12:00 am
CU's first home night game since 2000
By ANDY REED
Campbellsville was Cumberland's first opponent when the Lebanon school revived football in 1990. The Tigers will be the Bulldogs' first nighttime opponent under the lights at their new Nokes-Lasater Field home.
The teams will kick off at 6 p.m. Saturday. The teams played under Campbellsville's new lights last year and when Cumberland coach Dewayne Alexander learned the Bulldogs would play in a lit stadium this season, he called Tigers coach Perry Thomas, who agreed.
This is the only night game at Nokes-Lasater this year for the Bulldogs, who did play Austin Peay here on a Thursday night to open the 2000 season when the field was the home of the Lebanon High Blue Devils.
"We couldn't pick a better opponent to do it because they have a lot of local kids from Middle Tennessee and Tennessee," Alexander said. "Plus the Kentucky area where they're located is a two-to-three-hour drive from here.
"They always bring a great crowd to our place. When you mix all that together - and I know the ballgames, since I've been here , a lot of them have been one-point, knock-down, drag-out, last-minute four-quarter games."
Two of the Tigers are from Mt. Juliet - senior quarterback Robert Hill and sophomore running back George Nwokoji, whose brother, Michael, is a redshirt sophomore for Cumberland.
The Tigers have won two of their last three following an 0-4 start which probably eliminates them from NAIA playoff contention. But at 1-2 in the Mid-South Conference West Division, they can still make a run at a championship or, at the very least, spoil it for somebody else.
"They're like everybody else, they still have their Western Division games at the end of their schedule," said Alexander, whose No. 25 Bulldogs are 5–2, 1-1. "Coach Thomas' teams are always going to play hard, play enthusiastic. Like any team, they're getting better as the year goes."
Campbellsville runs the spread offense with an assortment of screens and perimeter passes.
"They have some quick slot guys they like to get in space with the football," Alexander said.
Campbellsville runs a 3-3 stack on defense.
"They are very aggressive," Alexander said. "They blitz. They slant their front quite a bit. They bring linebacker pressure quite a bit. They can give you a lot of multiple looks because they play with three guys with their hands on the ground and all the other guys are stand-up players."
Cumberland is coming off a 42-14 loss at Faulkner last Saturday which put the Bulldogs in fourth place in the division with four games left to play.
"Our playoffs start now," Alexander said. "It's been like that every year in this year.
"Our league, traditionally, have had teams with one loss that have won our side. All we can do is, we got to win. You got to see what one win at a time four weeks in a row will do for you."
Cumberland had a solid start at Faulkner before the wheels fell off late in the first half because of penalties, turnovers and special-team breakdowns.
"The first 27 minutes of the first half, we couldn't have asked for it to have gone any better," said Alexander, whose team led 14-7 following the first quarter. "We had two nice long scoring drives that kept their offense off the field."
But with the score tied, Cumberland had a 15-play, 76-yard drive to the Faulkner 3-yard line for first and goal. But an illegal-block penalty backed the Bulldogs up and a field-goal try clanked off the upright.
As it was, Faulkner scored just before halftime and a long kickoff return set the Eagles up for a short score to begin the second half.
On the injury-front, Cumberland will have its entire offensive line available and receiver Daniel Dayton, who was taken from Nokes-Lasater Field by ambulance two weeks ago, will play after missing the Faulkner trip, Alexander said.
"For this time of year, we're about as healthy as we can be," Alexander said. "We're going to have our guys - some of the may not be 100 percent - but they will be able to play."
Sports Editor Andy Reed can be reached at 444-3952, ext. 17; or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org