Braves Way Too Much For Lane
PEMBROKE – UNCP forced four turnovers and held visiting Lane to just 63 yards of total offense in the first half en route to posting a 43-3 rout of the Dragons Saturday evening at Grace P. Johnson.
Coming off their first loss in more than a year last week at Carson-Newman, the Braves (4-1) showed the ill aftereffects of the loss in the opening 25 minutes of play, but erupted for 342 yards of total offense in the second half, including 161 yards on the ground. Lane (0-4) was held under the 200 total yards plateau for the second time in three weeks in tumbling to its fifth-straight loss.
Travis Daniels rushed 11 times for 124 yards and a pair of touchdowns in topping the 100-yard plateau for the second time this season, while Jamal Williams hauled in four passes and a pair of scores to pace the UNCP offense. Cory Smith threw a pair of first half interceptions, but finished the night with 180 yards on 13-of-23 passing, including a 54-yard scoring strike to Williams late in the first half. Thomas Dove rushed for a pair of touchdowns as well.
Matthew Fortson topped the UNCP tackles column for the third time this season, this time booking seven stops (five solo), as well as a forced fumble and a pass break up. Ben Kurti had the biggest defensive impact on the night, however, turning in a 1-1/2 sacks and his first career interception to go along with five tackles.
“We missed two opportunities early that probably would have changed the complexion of how we feel after we beat a team 43-3,” said head coach Pete Shinnick. “You add those two up and it would have been a heck of a night. Our guys didn’t give up though and they continued to answer the call. We gave up the field goal and then our defense said that was enough. It looked like a close game there for a little bit, but then we opened it up a little bit in the second quarter.
“The things we feel good about is our team’s conditioning and our ability to wear on people. I think that held up tonight.”
UNCP saw three of its first four drives end in either a turnover or on downs, but the hosts turned the their second drive of the game into points, forcing and recovering a Lane fumble and then driving the remaining 31 yards in just two plays for the early 6-0 lead. Lane would put their only points of the game on the board late in the second quarter after the Braves turned the ball over on downs, despite nearly tallying another touchdown on a trick play.
The Black and Gold would all but put the game away in the waning minutes of the second quarter, scoring a touchdown on a 36-yard run from Daniels, as well as Smith’s strike to Williams. Both scores would come in the final 5:08 of the period.
A 1-yard run from Rashon Kennedy would prove to be the only points in the third quarter, before the Braves added 15 more in the fourth on a safety, as well as a pair of 2-yard scoring plunges by Dove.
UNCP will complete the home portion of its 2009 schedule on Saturday when the Braves suit up to host NAIA foe Webber International (0-4) on Homecoming in Pembroke. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m.