LEBANON, Tenn. – Cumberland University moved back into the national rankings at 25th in the fourth regular season edition of the NAIA Football Coaches’ Top 25, the national office announced Monday. The Bulldogs were ranked 18th in the Preseason Coaches’ Poll and have been in the receiving votes category the last three weeks.
Cumberland has played in four close games thus far in 2011, with all four decided in the fourth quarter. The Bulldogs scored in the final minute of the third period and added a fourth-quarter touchdown pass to DeJeay Woods to defeat Lindsey Wilson in the season opener.
The next week CU pulled within 28-27 on a six-yard run by James McClain with 6:57 to play, but the extra point was blocked and run back for a two-point conversion in a 30-27 loss to Campbellsville University. In the home opener Kentucky Christian tied the game at 17 on the first play of the fourth quarter, but Cumberland scored 16 unanswered points with a touchdown pass to Quan Johnson, a safety and a TD run from Lemeco Miller in a 33-17 victory.
Two weeks ago CU and West Virginia Tech combined for 33 points in the final period with three lead changes in the final 6:09 of the contest. A 41-yard catch-and-run by Woods finally put the Bulldogs ahead for good with 1:56 remaining in a 31-26 win.
Georgetown College is the highest ranked Mid-South Conference team at sixth and Bethel University is 21st, the Wildcats first ranking since 2008. Cumberland’s opponent this week, Shorter University, is ranked 22nd, while MSC members UVA-Wise and the Univ. of Pikeville were right behind the Bulldogs as the first two teams in the receiving votes category.