BARBOURVILLE, Ky. - Union got what it needed Saturday: a victory. The Bulldogs collected their first win of the 2011 campaign with a 27-0 decision over visiting Kentucky Christian.
This was the second year in a row Union (1-1 overall) shut out Kentucky Christian (1-2 overall). In the only two games in this series, the Bulldogs have outscored the Knights 75-0.
Junior running back Rob Brown (Daytona, Fla.) posted his second 100-yard game of the season with 117 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries. He moved up the all-time rushing list, surpassing Dayna Overton for 10th place as Brown now has 1,145 career yards.
But the story of the game was the Bulldog defense as the Knights were held to 158 yards in total offense with nearly all of them coming in the second half with the game firmly in Union's control. Kentucky Christian had only nine yards on offense in the first half and 44 total yards through three quarters.
"The defense played tremendous," said Union head coach Tommy Reid. "There's not much more than you can say than that."
Union sacked Knight quarterback Graham Johnson five times with Mike Beard (Sparr, Fla.) coming away with two of them. Beard finished with four solo tackles with three of them going for a loss of 10 yards. Darrin Greene (Cherrylog, Ga.) led the Bulldogs with seven total stops with 2.5 tackles for a loss.
In all, Union registered 11 tackles for a loss of 42 yards.
Johnson finished the day 10-for-24 passing for 95 yards and ran for 12 more on 16 carries, but he was constantly harassed by the Bulldog defense. In addition to the sacks, Union had six quarterback hurries and broke up six passes.
Senior punter Chad Boyington (Stockbridge, Ga.) had solid day as well, averaging 48.2 yards per punt with a two 50-plus yard punts, a 53- and a 58-yarder. In addition, he ran for 24 yards for a first down on a fake punt and went 3-for-3 on PAT attempts.
Union took advantage of a short field on all four of its scoring drives. In the first quarter, the Bulldogs' scoring drives covered 47 and 45 yards as they built a 14-0 advantage. Brown accounted for both touchdowns on runs of 18 and 15 yards.
With 22 seconds left half, sophomore quarterback Ryan Moses (Williamsburg, Ky.) capped a four-play, 43-yard drive with a 24-yard run. After the PAT, the Bulldogs led 21-0 at the half. It was the first touchdown for Union this season not scored by a Brown as Rob Brown had scored all three previous offensive touchdown and cornerback Bert Brown (Daytona, Fla.) returned a fumble for a score.
Union capped the scoring in the third when Moses hooked up with Demetrius Hicks (Frankfort, Ky.) for 37-yard strike. The scoring play came with Union facing fourth-and-13 at the 10:36 mark.
The Bulldogs tallied 392 yards in total offense with 238 coming on the ground. After Brown, nine others combined for 121 yards on 35 attempts. Moses finished the day 8-for-18 for 119 yards and score with one interception. Backup Colton Phelps (Austin, Ky.) completed both of his pass attempts for 35 yards. Hicks hauled in three passes for 73 yards with William McGarvey (Dallas, Ga.) pulling down three for 32 yards.
Union still had issues hanging on to the ball as it committed five turnovers. Kentucky Christian fumbled the ball away three times. In all, the teams combined to fumble the ball 11 times with seven being lost.
In fact, it was a fumble which prevented Kentucky Christian from cracking the scoring column. With a little over four minutes left in the game, the Knights had the ball second-and-goal at the Bulldog 10 when Deonte Merricks pounded his way toward the goal line. It appeared he was going to score, but Merricks fumbled at the 1-yard line and defensive lineman Fred Brown (Jacksonville, Fla.) scooped it up in the end zone, giving the Bulldogs the ball on their own 2 with 4:09 to play.
Merricks finished the day with 90 yards rushing on 16 carries.
Third downs were also a trouble spot for both squads as well. Kentucky Christian converted 5-of-17 third-down situations, meanwhile Union went 3-for-14 on third down. The Bulldogs were 3-for-4 in fourth-down situations with the Knights coming up short on both of their fourth-down conversion tries.
Union returns to action Thursday when it visits NCAA FCS UT-Martin at 7 p.m. Eastern.