Carson-Newman Football enters 2014 at number 19 in our rankings. Check out our Top 25 Season Preview for more on the top college teams to watch this fall. Can’t find your team in the Top 25? View our full rankings to see where every team stands.
Last Season: 10-3 (5-2) South Atlantic Conference
The Eagles lost only three games last season. The first was a back-and-forth heartbreaker at home to Catawba in which Carson-Newman football allowed a 34-yard touchdown pass with under a minute to play. Final score: 25-22. It was a rough loss, but aren’t they all? And besides, it was only week four – plenty of time to make up for it. The other two losses hurt quite a bit more.
They rattled off four straight wins after that initial loss (scoring 43 points or more in each) before they met conference-rival (and fellow child of divorce) Lenoir-Rhyne in week nine. The Eagles didn’t stand a chance when they travelled to Hickory that day, where they were held under 100 yards rushing for the first time in over a year. This is the same C-N team that finished 4th in D2 in rushing yards per game with 343.8.
They made the playoffs after a second place finish in the South Atlantic Conference. After their first game, a win over Newberry, Lenoir-Rhyne was there waiting. The Eagles made it a contest this time, and even jumped out to a 20-7 lead in the second quarter. That was the last of the C-N scoring that day. The Bears scored 20 straight points to finish the game, and Carson-Newman’s season 27-20.
-Alex Taylor OL – First team All-SAC
-Brandon Baker RB – First team All-SAC, 145 carries, 1,076 yards, 9 TDs
-Tyron Douglas RB – 165 carries, 982 yards, 9 TDs
-Jonathan Sites LB – 86 tackles, 8 TFL, 2 sacks, 1 INT, 5 pass defences, 3 FRs
-Greg Beauduy LB – 84 tackles, 5.5 TFL, 2 sacks, 1 INT, 5 pass defences, 1 FF
-Jaycob Coleman DB – Second team Daktronics All-American, first team All-SAC, 137 tackles, 10.5 TFL, 2 sacks, 2 INTs, 6 pass defences, 2 FRs
-Curt Duncan K – Co-First team All-SAC, 17/26 FGs (65.4%), long of 48, 42 punts, 39-yard average, 90 KOs, 61.8-yard average
What to Watch For
Run It Again – Three Carson-Newman players finished in the top 5 in the SAC in rushing yards per game: Brandon Baker (#2 – 89.7 ypg), De’Andre Thomas (#3 – 75.8 ypg), and Tyron Douglas (#4 – 75 ypg). Baker and Douglas graduated this offseason, as did three key members of the offensive line, but that doesn’t mean the Eagles will change their identity. You better believe Andy Hibbett, Randall Freeman, and Marcellas Pope are ready to step up. That’s what these Eagles do.
This Carson-Newman team (and their fans) needs to focus on beating their big brothers in the South Atlantic Conference. The Eagles were the fourth-best rushing offense in all of D2 last season, gaining an average of 343.8 ypg on the ground – but Lenoir-Rhyne was first. Their 370.9 rushing ypg is a figure they stand a chance to improve on this season with their running backs and linemen back. If C-N wants to challenge for the SAC title or make a deep run into the playoffs, they’ll have to run through L-R. They get the Bears at home November 1 – players and fans alike need to treat this as the National Title game. If they can pull off the upset, everything after should be icing on the cake.