No. 11 Eagles host turnover free Brevard in SAC opener
JEFFERSON CITY — Super bowl winning coach Tony Dungy’s philosophy on football victories is simple – limit your turnovers and penalties.
On Saturday, the No. 11 Carson-Newman Eagles face the epitome of Dungy’s thoughts in South Atlantic Conference opponent Brevard. The SAC opener for both teams is scheduled for kickoff at 1 p.m. at Burke-Tarr Stadium.
In two games this season, the Tornadoes have not committed a turnover and they have only been penalized twice in two games. Brevard’s one per game penalty average and lack of turnovers are tops in the nation. These stats alone concern Eagles’ coach Ken Sparks heading into Saturday’s conference game.
“Brevard coach Paul Hamilton always has a disciplined football team,” said Sparks. “Each season he is able to get more out of his talent than anyone in the nation. Brevard is a very dangerous football team. They run the almost the same type of offense as we do, so we have to be prepared for anything.”
The Eagles are coming off a close 27-24 victory over Colorado Mines and an earlier win over Wayne State. Despite the 2-0 showing, coach Sparks is not entirely pleased with his team at this point in the season.
“To be honest, I’m not really happy where we are right now as a football team,” said Sparks. “We’ve made progress, but we’ve not made enough progress. We have tons of work to do, but we continue to grow. We have a lot of areas to improve on. Overall, we have a great group of kids who will work hard enough to get done what needs to be done.”
Last week in Golden, the Eagles faced a difficult task in Colorado Mines. The Eagles racked up 508 yards of total offense and withstood a late rally by the Orediggers. Sparks said the key to last week’s win was desire.
“Heart was the difference in the ball game,” said Sparks after the game. “A bunch of kids from Tennessee did not want to lose the game. We had our back against the wall, but our kids persevered. We didn’t have a lot of weakness in our hearts.”
Brevard is coming off a 69-0 win over the College of Faith and will rely on a 3-4 defense to stop the split-back veer option ran by the Eagles. Offensively, the Eagles are averaging 41 points per game, and the defense allows 26 points per contest. They have rushed for 744 yards, while only allowing 237.
Tyron Douglas is averaging 102 yards per game, while quarterback De’Andre Thomas sits at 99 yards per outing. Jaycob Coleman leads the team with 17 tackles.
Brevard has outscored their opponents 93-42 and had 563 yards of total offense last week. Running back Kelvin Jeter leads the team with an average of 111 yards per game.
- By Chris Ayers, Assistant Sports Editor