Cumberland University outlasts Campbellsville for Homecoming game, 46-40
LEBANON, Tenn. – Kendall Johnson’s three-yard TD run, scored on second effort, capped a 13-play, 91-yard drive and the Cumberland defense held one final time, preserving a 46-40 victory over Campbellsville University here Saturday night at Nokes-Lasater Field on Senior Day and Homecoming.
Johnson rushed 18 times for 104 yards and Austin Chaplin added 107 yards on 12 carries with two touchdowns, including scoring runs 36 and 17. Justin Snyder added a career-best 301 yards passing and two TDs on 20-of-32 with scoring throws of 63 and 57 yards to Michael Green.
David Emanuel set-up the game-winning drive with a sliding interception at the nine yard line, ending a long Campbellsville drive that could have put the game away. A pass interference penalty on the Tigers started the game-winning possession for CU and Snyder hit Green for 12 yards and Lorel Morton for 11 before the ground attack took over.
Johnson ran four straight times, including a six-yard gain on 3rd-and-4 where he broke the initial hit. Two plays later he did the same thing, bouncing off a linebacker and into the end zone for the touchdown. Morel caught the two-point conversion for a six-point lead.
Campbellsville quarterback Hunter Brown, who finished 37-of-55 for 403 yards and four touchdowns, completed throws of 12 yards to Keanu Young and Jordan Duff for 15 more. His third down shuffle pass was almost intercepted by Josh Bates and on fourth down the throw was knocked away by Nathan Jernigan.
Kris Parker and Johnson carried five times for 26 yards to run out of the clock and preserve the win for Cumberland, evening its record at 4-4, 1-2 in Mid-South Conference West Division play. Campbellsville dropped to 1-6 overall, 0-3 in the MSC West, with five losses by seven points or less.
The contest went back-and-forth the entire second half, which included six lead changes and five touchdowns in the third period alone.
Cumberland held the opening drive of the game for more than five minutes, moving to the Campbellsville 13-yard line, but a penalty and a negative run forced a 32-yard field goal by Matthew Alter for a 3-0 lead.
Kendon Young returned the ensuing kickoff 51 yards and the Tigers took just five plays to go 33 yards for a score. Brown hit Tyus Alcorn for an eight-yard TD but the PAT was blocked for a 6-3 Campbellsville advantage.
Justin Manning intercepted Snyder on the next drive and two plays later, Brown found Alcorn in the back of the end zone for a 29-yard score and a 13-3 lead with 5:50 left in the opening period.
After a short punt by the Phoenix, the Tigers moved 57 yards on just five plays, with Brown dumping a screen pass to Wade Holtsclaw for an 18-yard TD and a 20-3 lead late in the quarter.
The second period belonged to the home team, with Snyder hooking up with Green for a 63-yard TD down the right sideline less than a minute into the period. Chaplin then capped a 65-yard drive with his 36-yard scoring run and Parker’s one-yard plunge finished off a nine-play, 88-yard drive just before the half, pulling CU within 27-24.
Bradley Bates booted a 39-yard field goal to open the third quarter for the Tigers, but Snyder found Green again, this time on a double move, for a 57-yard scoring strike and a Phoenix 31-30 advantage.
The Tigers answered with a 39-yard TD pass from Brown to Kendon Young, but Chaplin’s 17-yard run up the middle put CU back ahead, 38-37. Bates’ second field goal of the quarter, this one from 26 yards, made it 40-38 heading to the final stanza.
Alter missed a 40-yard field goal to start the fourth quarter but Alex Campagne forced a fumble that was recovered by Cale Denton on the first Campbellsville play afterward. The drive stalled thanks to two CU penalties, a theme in the contest, as the Phoenix finished with 17 infractions for 120 yards.
Emanuel’s interception on the ensuing Tigers possession set-up the game-winning score for Cumberland, which plays its final three games of the season on the road starting next week at Bethel University at 6 p.m.