BARBOURVILLE, Ky. - No. 14 Cumberlands (Ky.) struck early and often as it built a commanding halftime lead en route to the 48-14 Mid-South Conference East win over host Union on Saturday.
The Patriots (3-0 overall, 1-0 MSC East) scored on six of their seven possessions in the first half in building a 42-7 lead, reclaiming the Brass Lantern and taking it back with them to Williamsburg.
The loss drops Union to 1-2 overall and 0-1 in the MSC East. The Bulldogs return to action next Saturday when it visits Webber International (Fla.) for a 12 p.m. kickoff.
Cumberlands took the early lead, scoring twice in the first quarter for a 14-0 advantage. Iquan Deed scampered in from 13 yards out with 11:27 on the clock for the first score, while Willie Gibson added a 28-yard touchdown run with 1:16 remaining in the period for a 14-point Patriot lead.
Union answered with a 10-play, 72-yard drive with Mike Brinkley pushing the ball in on a 6-yard run with 12:49 to play in the second. Jared Miller's PAT cut the margin to 14-7.
On the ensuing kickoff, momentum appeared to have swung Union's way when Brandon Davis forced a Gibson fumble and Union recovered the ball on its own 47. However, the Bulldogs went backward on the next three plays, losing a total of 15 yards and were forced to punt from its own 32.
Cumberlands then took over, scoring on all four of its drives in the quarter with Deed accounting for three of the touchdowns. Deed scored on a 30-yard run, a 38-yard pass from Jay Bright and a 34-yard run. The Patriots' other score came off a 1-yard plunge from Terrance Cobb as they took a 42-7 lead into the half.
Despite the 35-point halftime lead, Cumberlands only had the ball for 8:01 during the first two quarters. Yet, the Patriots had outgained Union 307-168 in total offense with Union reeling off 50 plays to Cumberlands' 22.
The play evened out in the second half with each team scoring once. Union cut the margin to 42-14 late in the third quarter thanks to a Leonard Dixon 18-yard run. Cumberlands' final score came in the fourth when Phillip Wells hit Fred Byars Jr. for a 25-yard scoring play. The PAT was blocked, making the final 48-14.
For the game, Cumberlands outgained Union 479-303 in total offense. Deed led the Patriot attack with 153 yards rushing and three rushing touchdowns on seven carries. He also caught one pass for 38 yards and a score as well as completed a pass for 30 yards.
Rob Brown led the Union ground game with 81 yards on 20 carries with Dixon helping out with 38 yards and a touchdown on seven carries. Brinkley completed 12-of-20 passes for 91 yards and backup Jon Combs went 7-for-13 for 61 yards. But the Bulldog quarterbacks had a hard time getting any kind of rhythm going as Cumberlands recorded eight sacks for a loss of 72 yards.