Charles, Braves Roll Past Carson-Newman
JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Luke Charles threw for nearly 400 yards in shattering UNCP's single game passing record for the third time in four weeks and helping the Braves spoil Homecoming at Burke-Tarr Stadium with a 42-14 rout of Carson-Newman on Saturday afternoon.
Charles completed 26 passes (35 attempts) to nine different receivers en route to 394 passing yards and two touchdowns. Senior Joe Burnett tallied a career-best five receptions for a career- and game-best 129 receiving yards, while sophomore Te'vell Williams hauled in seven passes for 83 yards on the day. Travis Daniels was held under the 100-yard rushing mark for the first time all season, but still managed 95 yards and a trio of scores on 27 carries. Charles ran for a score as well.
The Braves (6-2), who toted the nation's eighth-ranked scoring offense into the weekend, surpassed the 40-point plateau for the third-straight week and have now scored 152 points over the last three games (50.7 points/game). It was the first time this season that Carson-Newman (3-5), who boasted the nation's 10th-ranked pass defense heading into the weekend, had allowed an opponent to throw for more than 260 yards.
"I like how we are playing right now," said UNCP head coach Pete Shinnick. "We got another complete game out of our guys today. We played really well on both sides of the ball and, really, on special teams as well. We have had a great week of practice the last couple of weeks and I am looking forward to continue growing and getting better as a team."
The Braves out-gained the hosts 248-134 in the opening half, but carried just a 14-7 advantage into the intermission. Carson-Newman would put up the first points of the game, however, by capping its opening possession of the contest with a 6-yard run by Nate Inman just less than five minutes into the first quarter. Newcomer Michael Isbell, who had a monster day on special teams, returned the ensuing kickoff 52 yards deep into Carson-Newman territory to spark a game-tying 34-yard scoring drive by the Braves that was culminated on the first of three touchdowns by Daniels.
The Braves were turned away on each of their next three drives, including a costly fumble with less than five minutes left in the second quarter, but managed to put the final points of the half on the board with 41 ticks left on a 6-yard scoring strike from Charles to Donald Britt. The drive would, inevitably, spark a run of five-straight drives for UNCP that would put touchdowns on the board.
The Black & Gold encored the first half by driving 83 yards in eight plays on its opening possession of the second half to pad the lead out to 21-7, but Carson-Newman answered on the ensuing possession by driving 74 yards in four plays to whittle the deficit back to a single possession. The Braves would erupt in the fourth quarter, however, scoring a pair of touchdowns in the first 1:44 of the period to put the game away, before Charles capped the day's scoring on a 2-yard run midway through the period.
Seven of Carson-Newman's 12 drives on the day resulted in a punt, while one was halted due to a turnover. Five of the drives spanned five plays or less.
UNCP will close out the road portion of its 2011 regular season schedule on Saturday when it heads to Newberry (3-4) for a 4 p.m. contest at Setzler Field. The contest will also mark the final stop in a three-game road trip for the Braves.