Saturday, November 7, 2015

Jefferson City, TN—North Greenville's win streak was snapped at six games on Saturday after a three point 48-45 loss to Carson Newman.

The Crusaders outgained the Eagles 413 to 407 in total yardage, but 21 points off of six NGU turnovers proved to be the difference in another nail biter between the teams. The Crusaders used a balanced attack, running for 220 yards while throwing for 233.

Ashton Heard eclipsed the 1000-yard mark for the season as he ran for 131 yards on 26 carries. Heard now has 1,093 yards on the season and is the first NGU back with 1000 total yards in a season since 2007. It was his fifth 100-yard rushing performance of the season but first 100-yard rushing performance without a touchdown.

Nelson Hughes threw for 233-yards through the air and four touchdowns but had his toughest outing of the season, throwing five interceptions and fumbling once. He had just three interceptions coming into Saturday's game. Mason Sanders racked up 75 yards on six receptions and two touchdowns to lead the receivers.

The Crusaders trailed 10-0 heading into the second quarter but consecutive touchdowns would give NGU its first lead of the game at 14-10. The Eagles would then score 17 unanswered to take a 27-14 lead. NGU would tack on one more touchdown before the end of the half, taking advantage of good field position following a botched onside kick from Carson Newman.

The Eagles extended the lead to two touchdowns in the opening minutes of the second half, returning an interception 59 yards for a touchdown. NGU answered with a field goal to cut the deficit to 34-24. The Eagles kept NGU at arms length for the remainder of the game, as the Crusaders were never closer than ten points until the final minutes.

NGU's final score came with 1:12 left in the contest when Josh Harlan recovered a blocked punt in the end zone. The punt was blocked by Roderick McCray and cut the deficit to three points. The Eagles would run out the clock on their ensuing possession, ending NGU's win streak, which dated back to September 26th.

NGU's defense did its best to keep the game manageable for the offense, forcing three fumbles and blocking a punt. Sam Houston added 12 tackles to his team lead with one and a half tackles for a loss. Nigel Gay, Mason Hodge, and Mycheal Payden recovered fumbles for NGU.

North Greenville will host Clark Atlanta University on Saturday afternoon at 1pm, wrapping up the 2015 regular season.