No. 22 Carson-Newman Falls at No. 4 North Alabama, 31-14
FLORENCE, Ala. - The fourth ranked University of North Alabama
Lions built a 21-3 lead and held off No. 22 Carson-Newman for a
31-14 win at Braly Stadium.
UNA, now 2-0, gave up 422 yards to Carson-Newman's offense but held the Eagles to just one touchdown and two field goals. North Alabama's offense relied almost completely on the pass as quarterback Harrison Beck completed 25 of 45 passes for 288 yards and two touchdowns. The Lions gained just 44 yards rushing for 332 total yards.
With the win UNA improves to 8-1 all-time against Carson-Newman (0-2) and the Eagles fall to 0-8 all-time at Braly Stadium.
UNA scored the first time it got the ball for the second week in a row. Linebacker Michael Johnson picked off an Alex Good pass on the fourth play from scrimmage and returned it to the Eagles' 36 yard-line. The Lions then put together a seven-play touchdown drive that ended on four-yard TD toss from Harrison Beck to Kenton Thornton. Kenny Spencer's extra point made it 7-0 with 10:55 left in the opening period.
UNA's second score came early in the second period as Beck pushed his way into the end zone on a one-yard quarterback sneak. The play capped a seven-play, 47-yard drive. Spencer's PAT made it 14-0 with 10:00 left in the half.
Carson-Newman finally got on the scoreboard with 2:38 left in the first half as Carlos Lopez booted a 37-yard field goal to make it 14-3.
Following the Eagles' score, UNA's Preston Parker returned the kickoff 85 yards to the Carson-Newman six yard-line. Two plays later Marcus Sims dove into the end zone from three yards out for his third TD of the season. Spencer added the PAT and UNA led 21-3.
On the last possession of the half, Carson-Newman managed to drive to the UNA five before the Lions' defense held. Lopez then hit his second field goal of the night from 22 yards out. The kick came on the final play of the half and cut UNA's lead to 21-6 at intermission.
Carson-Newman made it a game in the third quarter when the Eagles put together a 10-play, 80-yard scoring drive. Reggie Melton capped the drive with a one-yard run and Nate Inman then rushed in for a two-point conversion to make it 21-14 with 7:28 left in the period. UNA came right back with a 10-play, 80-yard drive of its own. Beck connected with Preston Parker over the middle for a 25-yard touchdown and Spencer's PAT made it 28-14. The final score of the game came with 14:50 left as Spencer hit a 31-yard field goal.
Mike Johnson led UNA's defensive effort with 14 tackles.
The Eagles return to action on Thursday against Campbellsville in their home opener. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Burke-Tarr Stadium.