The Carson-Newman Football Team (9-2) held off a furious rally in the second half by Lenoir-Rhyne (9-3) to win by a 38-35 score Saturday afternoon in the second round of the NCAA
Division II Playoffs at Burke-Tarr Stadium. Carson-Newman, ranked No. 22 in the nation, will now advance to the national quarterfinals and face Valdosta State (9-2) next Saturday in Valdosta, Ga.
The Eagles' quarterback, Brandon Haywood (Rockmart, Ga.), scored the game-winning touchdown on a 21-yard run with 2:58 left in the fourth quarter after the Bears had rallied from a 17-point halftime deficit to take the lead.
Haywood finished with 108 yards rushing and was one of three Carson-Newman players to rush for over 100 yards in the game as the Eagles won their seventh straight contest.
Brandon Baker (Miami, Fla.) and Tyron Douglas (Clover, S.C.) added 145 and 130 yards on the ground, respectively, as Carson-Newman beat Lenoir-Rhyne for the second time this season.
L-R also had three players cross the century mark rushing led by sophomore halfback Jarrod Spears (Bunnlevel, N.C.) and sophomore fullback Isaiah Whitaker (Salisbury, N.C.).
Spears tallied 138 yards and Whitaker finished with 114 yards on the ground. Both players also scored a touchdown in the losing effort.
Lenoir-Rhyne fell behind by a 24-7 score at intermission before roaring back in the second half with touchdowns on its first four possessions after the break.
Sophomore fullback Austin Beaty (Friendsville, Texas), who added 102 yards rushing, gave the Bears a 35-31 lead with a seven-yard touchdown run midway through the fourth quarter before Carson-Newman embarked on its game-winning drive.
Lenoir-Rhyne, which saw its eight-game winning streak come to an end, finished with 468 yards of total offense including 425 yards on the ground.
Carson-Newman, meanwhile, totaled 504 yards of offense including 397 yards rushing. The Eagles did not punt until its final possession of the game.
Lenoir-Rhyne sophomore linebacker Tanner Botts (Lawrenceville, Ga.) led all tacklers with 25 while senior linebackers Demetrius Green (Cedartown, Ga.) and Chris Carter (Jamestown, N.C.) added 13 takedowns each despite the loss. In addition, junior defensive back Myer Nolan (Atlanta, Ga.) picked off a pass and recovered a fumble for the Bears.
L-R, the 2012 South Atlantic Conference Champions, made a trip to the postseason this fall for the first time in 50 years and won its most games in a single season since an 11-1 mark in 1962.
CARSON-NEWMAN 38, L-R 35
Score by Quarters 1 2 3 4 Total
Lenoir-Rhyne 7 0 21 7 - 35
Carson-Newman 3 21 7 7 - 38
SCORING SUMMARY L-R -C-N
06:23 C-N DUNCAN, Curt 21 yd field goal
13 plays, 41 yards, TOP 5:52 0 - 3
02:20 L-R Jarrod Spears 22 yd run (Zach Neumann kick)
8 plays, 68 yards, TOP 3:54 7 - 3
14:17 C-N DOUGLAS, Tyron 1 yd run (DUNCAN, Curt kick)
8 plays, 68 yards, TOP 2:57 7 - 10
08:58 C-N HIBBETT, Andy 11 yd run (DUNCAN, Curt kick)
8 plays, 80 yards, TOP 3:12 7 - 17
00:32 C-N DOUGLAS, Tyron 1 yd run (DUNCAN, Curt kick)
12 plays, 80 yards, TOP 4:41 7 - 24
11:51 L-R Reuben Haynes 2 yd run (Zach Neumann kick failed)
11 plays, 75 yards, TOP 3:09 13 - 24
07:38 L-R Isaiah Whitaker 33 yd run (Justin Powell kick)
4 plays, 71 yards, TOP 1:40 20 - 24
03:03 C-N BAKER, Brandon 25 yd run (DUNCAN, Curt kick)
11 plays, 71 yards, TOP 4:31 20 - 31
01:16 L-R Reuben Haynes 2 yd run (Austin Beaty rush)
5 plays, 76 yards, TOP 1:43 28 - 31
08:51 L-R Austin Beaty 7 yd run (Justin Powell kick)
9 plays, 69 yards, TOP 3:49 35 - 31
02:58 C-N HAYWOOD,B. 21 yd run (DUNCAN, Curt kick)
14 plays, 66 yards, TOP 5:46 35 - 38
FIRST DOWNS: C-N 32, L-R 24
RUSHING YARDS C-N 397, L-R 425
PASSING YARDS: C-N 107, L-R 43
TOTAL YARDS: C-N 504, L-R 468
FUMBLES: NUMBER.LOST: C-N 3-2, L-R 2-1
TURNOVERS: C-N 3, L-R 1
PENALTY YARDS: C-N 2-17, L-R 6-45
TIME OF POSSESSION: C-N 38:31, L-R 21:29
THIRD DOWN CONVERSIONS: C-N 12-19, L-R 5-10
FOURTH DOWN CONVERSIONS: C-N 3-4, L-R 0-1
L-R: SPEARS 11-138-TD, WHITAKER 16-114-TD, BEATY 14-102-TD
C-N: BAKER 24-145-TD, DOUGLAS 27-130-2TD, HAYWOOD 34-108-TD
L-R: HAYNES 3-9-43
C-N: HAYWOOD 6-7-INT-107
L-R: GILMORE 1-19, SPEARS 1-16
C-N: ISOM 3-70
Photo Courtesy: Jarrod Spears, L-R Athletics