Tusculum blanks Newberry, 14-0 Saturday

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. – A dominant afternoon by the Tusculum defense neutralized another impressive defensive day for Newberry, lifting the Pioneers to a 14-0 win over Newberry on Homecoming Saturday in east Tennessee.

Newberry (3-4, 1-2 SAC) was shut out for the first time since a 10-0 loss to Presbyterian on Nov. 10, 2006, a span of 128 games. It marked Tusculum’s first home shutout of a South Atlantic Conference opponent in school history. The Wolves’ 192 yards of total offense also represented their lowest output since the 2006 loss to the Blue Hose.

The game was marked by stellar defensive play from both teams, with the two offenses forced to punt a combined 21 times (11 from Newberry, 10 from Tusculum) and totaling 10 three-and-outs (five apiece).

Tusculum (4-2, 3-1 SAC) finished 97 yards of offense below its season average, the sixth consecutive Newberry opponent that has had a below-average game against the Newberry defense and the fourth straight to finish 95 yards or more beneath its typical output. Wolves’ opponents had gone 10 for their last 57 on third down conversions; Tusculum was a paltry 4-for-14.

Jamarcus Henderson had three tackles for loss among his six stops on the day, moving him into a tie for 30th in Division II history with 57.5 career tackles for loss. Former Catawba standout Kyle Kitchens has the current SAC record and is tied for 13th in Division II history with 64.5 career stops behind the line of scrimmage.

The 271 yards lost by the opposition on Henderson’s tackles for loss lead all active Division II players and rank second across all NCAA divisions.

The Pioneers were opportunistic on their first scoring drive, seizing on an uncharacteristically short punt by the Wolves to embark on a four-play, 27-yard drive capped by a 1-yard rush by Will Boney.

A perfect Shea Rodgers punt pinned the Pioneers inside their own 1-yard line late in the third quarter, but a 58-yard rush by Jordon Shippy on the first play of the drive put the Pioneers in Newberry territory. Seven plays later, Alex Ogle found tight end Conner Johnston for a two-yard score to increase the lead to two touchdowns.

Even with Shippy’s long scamper that accounted for one yard less than half of Tusculum’s rushing total on the day, the Pioneers managed just 117 yards on the ground, 62 yards below their season average and 3.2 yards per carry. On Tusculum’s other 36 rushes, the stingy Newberry defense gave up 1.6 yards per carry and 59 yards total.

Tusculum’s defense, however, was nearly impenetrable after being given a two-score lead. Newberry managed 57 yards on five drives over the remainder of the game, turning the ball over on downs and tossing an interception to go along with three punts.

Newberry was led by senior wide receiver Markell Castle, who totaled 67 yards on four receptions to go over 2,200 yards in his illustrious career. Austin Barnes paced the Newberry ground attack with 49 yards on 15 carries, surpassing 1,000 yards in Scarlet and Gray. Dre Harris was the most effective of the three Newberry quarterbacks to take a snap, going 10-for-21 for 104 yards and throwing an interception.

Joe Blue led the Wolves with nine tackles, including a sack and an additional tackle for loss. The senior inside linebacker needs 10 tackles and two solo stops to crack into the top 10 in school history in each category.

David Vereen continued his stellar play with three tackles and three pass breakups. Anthony Blue added a breakup to his seven tackles, while Drew Sprouse finished with multiple tackles for loss and a forced fumble. Javhanee Neal also forced a fumble. Four Wolves recorded quarterback hurries.

The Pioneers were led by 178 passing yards from Alex Ogle and 78 yards on the ground by Shippy. Randy Hooks finished with a game-high 11 tackles. Ivan Hogans had four tackles for loss that accounted for 16 yards.

The win gives Tusculum an 11-10 edge in the all-time series and its first winning streak over the Wolves since the 2008 and 2009 seasons. The Pioneers remain in third place in the SAC standings with a showdown with second-place Carson-Newman looming in two weeks.

The Wolves travel to nearby Gaffney to take on Limestone in a SAC matchup next Saturday at 1:00 before returning to Setzler Field for a Homecoming tilt with Wingate Oct. 27.

Categories: Local Sports, Sports