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Faulkner big plays down Dawgs
Oct 17, 2012 12:00 am
MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Big plays and short drives propelled Faulkner to a 42-14 victory over 16th-ranked Cumberland on Saturday here at John Mark Stallings Field, as the Eagles scored on three drives of 2 yards or less as kickoff, punt, interception and fumble returns set up the Eagles for short TD drives.
The Bulldogs (5-2, 1-1 Mid-South West) scored 14 points in the opening quarter on one-yard runs by Lemeco Miller and Reed Gurchiek, but the Eagles (5-2, 3-0) answered with quick strikes and took the lead for good on a weird fumble near the end of the half.
Gurchiek dropped back on third down and was pressured. He went to throw the ball but got turned sideways, fumbling backwards almost 20 yards. Faulkner’s Donny Ruggles recovered at the CU one yard line and Junior Allen scored on the next play for the 21-14 advantage at the break.
Allen returned the second half kickoff 78 yards and Josh Hollingsworth hit Radarius Owens for a 17-yard score on the first play. Trump Harrison then returned the ensuing punt 60 yards and Hollingsworth found Chris Kordakis for a 7-yard TD seven plays later and a 35-14 lead.
The Eagles never looked back despite Cumberland holding the ball for almost 40 minutes in the contest. The Bulldogs came away empty on a seven-minute drive in the second quarter and another five-minute possession in the final period.
Hollingsworth finished 25-of-40 passing for 264 yards and four touchdowns, two to Owens.
Lemeco Miller rushed 22 times for 95 yards and one score in the loss, while Blake DeBoard gained 56 yards on 10 carries. Marquis Hagewood caught four passes for 74 yards for CU as well.
Cumberland outgained the Eagles, 445-388, in the contest, but all of the big plays doomed the Bulldogs to their first loss in five outings.
The Bulldogs marched 66 yards in eight plays on the opening drive of the game, including a 19-yard pass to DeBoard to the one yard line. Miller carried over the left side on the next play for a quick 7-0 edge, but the Eagles answered, covering 79 yards on just two plays (plus a questionable 15-yard horse collar penalty), with De’Marko Hall catching a 26-yard TD pass, tying the game at seven.
Faulkner took its next drive 54 yards to the CU 26, but Hollingsworth’s third down pass was incomplete and Jacob Smith pulled a 43-yard field goal left, keeping the contest tied.
Cumberland moved 74 yards on nine plays on its next possession with a 49-yard completion to Hagewood. The Bulldogs got inside the one yard line and Gurchiek sneaked in on fourth down on the final play of the first quarter for a 14-7 advantage.
The Eagles came right back again, going 75 yards on just eight plays. Hollingsworth found Josh Taylor for 29 yards on third down and Hall broke several tackles around right end on his way to a 31-yard touchdown, tying the game at 14.
After the teams traded punts, CU had the ball for nearly seven minutes, running 15 plays and going 76 yards. The Bulldogs got inside the Faulkner five-yard line, but a chop-blocking penalty pushed the ball back and Jared White clanged a 35-yard field goal off the right upright.
After the Eagles took a 35-14 lead, Gurchiek threw an interception that Titus Whitsett returned 45 yards to the CU 12. Penalties backed up Faulkner but Hollingsworth found Owens again for a 27-yard score.
Cumberland will host Campbellsville at 6 p.m. Saturday at Nokes-Lasater Field. It will be the Bulldogs' first, and only one this season, night game at their new home.