November 05, 20161st2nd3rd4thFinal
Cumberland Univ.0147728
Faulkner Univ.7170731
1st Quarter
FAULKTD07:02Lockhart 16 Yd Pass From Nicholas (Curran kick)
2nd Quarter
FAULKTD14:51Amos 44 Yd Pass From Nicholas (Curran kick)
FAULKFG12:22Curran 25 Yd
CUTD08:03Johnson 3 Yd Run (Alter kick)
CUTD05:03Kirk (Alter kick)
FAULKTD02:23Redding 21 Yd Pass From Nicholas (Curran kick)
3rd Quarter
CUTD01:08Parker (Alter kick)
4th Quarter
FAULKTD13:50Redding 58 Yd Pass From Nicholas (Curran kick)
CUTD10:34Parker 13 Yd Pass From Huntley (Alter kick)
Stats at a GlanceCUFAULK
1st Downs2221
3rd Down Conversions5-155-15
4th Down Conversions2-51-2
Passing (Comp-Att)182 (11-24) 344 (32-45)
Rushing (Att)171 (50) 69 (24)
Total Yards353413
Fumbles Lost11
Football falls short at Faulkner, 31-28
Saturday, November 5, 2016
Football falls short at Faulkner, 31-28
Kendall Johnson sweeps around left end for a three-yard touchdown in CU's 31-28 loss Saturday at Faulkner. (Credit Ryan Bartels)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Cumberland trailed 17-0 to start the game and was never able to recover, missing a field goal in the third quarter and fumbling at the Faulkner 30 late in the contest in a 31-28 loss to the Eagles here Saturday at John Mark Stalling Field.

Shedrick Kirk returned a fumble 90 yards for a touchdown to help the Phoenix (5-5, 2-3 Mid-South) get back into the contest and Kris Parker caught a 13-yard TD pass and also recovered a fumble in the end zone for a score, but the offense was unable to get the tying or go-ahead score on two possessions in the final seven minutes.

The first drive stalled at the Faulkner 35, but Matthew Alter dropped a punt at the two. The Eagles (5-4, 3-2) picked up one first down but had to punt, with the Phoenix taking over at their own 45 with 3:05 remaining.

Justin Snyder completed a 15-yard pass to Lorel Morton for a first down and on the next third down, Dezmon Huntley battled for a first down but fumble, with Faulkner’s Austin Wilder scooping up the bouncing ball and returning it 46 yards to the CU25. The Eagles got one first down and kneeled on it twice to secure the victory.

Snyder finished 8-of-17 for 149 yards while Huntley came on in the second half, rushing 16 times for 107 yards. He fumbled twice, with Parker recovering one in the end zone for a TD and the other at the end of the contest. Michael Green caught four passes for 112 yards but injured his shoulder in the fourth quarter and did not return.

Faulkner quarterback Clayton Nicholas was masterful in the first half, completing 22-of-30 for 244 yards and three touchdowns. He finished 32-for-44 for 344 yards and four TDs, the last one for 58 yards to Keithon Redding to put Faulkner ahead, 31-21, with 13:50 remaining.

Cumberland answered that TD with a seven-play, 81-yard drive that started with a 53-yard completion from Snyder to Green, his 11th play of 40-plus yards this season. Huntley and Austin Chaplin rushed five straight times and Huntley carried again. He fumbled at the eight but the ball was kicked forward into the end zone. At least five Faulkner players surrounded the ball, but none fell on it and Parker did for the TD.

The defense forced a three-and-out and the Phoenix took over with nine minutes remaining, moving 38 yards on eight plays. Huntley rushed five times for 30 yards and a pass interference call helped CU reach the Eagles 30, but the drive stalled and Alter pinned the home team deep in their own territory, setting up the final drive that ended with the fumble.

The Eagles moved 59 yards on 13 plays to start the game, getting inside the Cumberland seven before a false start penalty pushed them back. On fourth down Justus Dauscha sacked Nicholas, but the offense was unable to get a first down and Faulkner took over at the CU47 after the punt.

Three players later Nicholas found Rob Lockhart in the back of the end zone for a 16-yard TD pass for a 7-0 lead for the home team.

Nicholas hit Reagan Amos for a 44-yard TD three plays into the second period and after Alter bobbled a punt snap and Faulkner took over at the CU12, the defense held and forced a 25-yard field goal from Ryan Curran for a 17-0 Faulkner advantage.

Cumberland answered with a 10-play, 70-yard drive, with Green catching a 43-yard pass to the Faulkner 10. Kendall Johnson rushed around left end on fourth down for a three-yard TD, cutting the deficit to 17-7.

The Eagles took the ensuing possession inside the CU20 again, but Kirk picked up a fumble right along the sideline, ran up the sideline, cut across the field and then back again for a 90-yard return and a TD with 5:03 left in the half.

Faulkner added a TD late in the half, though, with Redding catching a 21-yard TD pass for a 24-14 lead for the home team at the break.

Alter hit the crossbar with a 31-yard field goal on the opening drive of the third period, though a low snap threw off the timing of the kick.