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CU ranked 21st in NAIA coaches' top 25

Staff Reports • Sep 18, 2017 at 5:06 PM

Cumberland made its first appearances in the NAIA football coaches’ top 25 poll on Monday, coming in at No. 21 after posting a 4-0 start to the 2017 season.

The Phoenix defeated Edward Waters College, 38-16, on Saturday in Jacksonville, Fla., improving to 4-0 for the first time since 2000 and just the fourth time since the program was revived in 1990.

Cumberland ranks 11th nationally in total rushing yards (848) and 13th in total scoring (142) while allowing just 309.8 yards per game defensively, which ranks No. 14 in the country. It marks the first ranking for the program since November 3, 2014, when the Phoenix were ranked 19th.

Cumberland will continue a three-game road swing this Saturday at FCS Presbyterian College before opening Mid-South Conference Bluegrass Division play next week at Georgetown College.

Big first half carries Cumberland to 38-16 win

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Telvin Rucker rushed 20 times for 140 yards and one touchdown and Cumberland scored 35 points in the first half in a 38-16 victory over Edward Waters College here Saturday at University Christian School.

Joseph Rushin added 69 yards on 12 carries and another TD while Dezmon Huntley ran for a touchdown and passed for another. The Phoenix upped their record to 4-0 for the first time since 2000 and for just the fourth time in school history.

Tyler Tate also recovered a fumble in the end zone for a score for Cumberland, which led 35-10 at the half and overcome just 66 yard of offense in the third period. Pablo Dongarra Travecedo booted a 35-yard field goal in the fourth quarter.

Cumberland’s defense forced a pair of fumbles and turned those into 14 points, with Lorel Morton catching an eight-yard TD just before the half after DeAnthone Morse forced a fumble and DeAnthony Patrick recovered the ball near midfield.

Huntley finished 12-of-19 for 158 yards and one TD and rushed nine times for 36 yards with a 17-yard TD run.

Cumberland took the opening drive of the contest 59 yards on six plays for a touchdown, including an 18-yard pass to Marcus Bryson and a 24-yard catch-and-run by Kendall Johnson. Rushin concluded the drive with a one-yard TD run, his sixth rushing score of the season.

The Tigers answered with their best drive of the game and was aided by a 24-yard reception by Dundee Dilworth on the first third down of the possession. Kyveon Jones rushed for 21 yards on the next play and a nine-yard catch by Jamal Hughes moved the chains again. But the CU defense stiffened and forced a 36-yard field goal by Christoni Robinson.

The Phoenix moved to the EWC 18 on the ensuing drive but Huntley fumbled at the 10. Kennard Mahone ran backward on the fumble recovery and on the Tigers first play after the turnover, EWC quarterback Christian Hayes fumbled near his end zone and Tate recovered for a CU touchdown and a 14-3 advantage.

Cumberland forced a punt by Edward Waters late in the opening period and moved 56 yards on eight plays, with four carries for 35 yards by Rucker. On third down Huntley broke a tackle near the line of scrimmage, beat two defenders to the corner and then bulled over another near the goal line, going 17 yards for the TD for a 21-3 CU lead.

Edward Waters got its first touchdown on the next drive, starting with 11 and 13-yard runs from Hayes and Jones, respectively. Hughes also made a 26-yard catch on third down to keep the drive alive and Hayes rushed for 19 yards to set up 1st-and-goal. Three plays later Daniel Wright scored from a yard out, making it 21-10.

Cumberland answered with a four-play, 63-yard drive, all from Rucker. He rushed for gains of five, 16, 11 and 31 yards, the last one for his first career touchdown, extending the advantage to 28-10.

The Phoenix got the ball back just before the half on a fumble caused by Morse and recovered by Patrick. Huntley hit Bryson for 14 yards and Morton for 22 to the EWC 14. On third down he found Morton on a fade route for an eight-yard TD and a 35-10 lead at intermission.

Rucker rushed for 102 yards on nine carries while Huntley completed 10-of-131 for 123 yards.

The Tigers scored on the opening drive of the second half on just five plays, including 18 and 19-yard pass plays before a 22-yard TD pass to Basil Spencer, Jr.

Travecedo hooked a 37-yard attempt on Cumberland’s first drive of the period and the teams traded punts the rest of the quarter.

Cumberland took more than five minutes off the clock in the final period, moving 65 yards on 11 plays, including eight rushes. Morton’s 22-yard catch-and-run gave CU a first down and Travecedo kicked a 35-yarder to end the scoring.

Cumberland will head to Presbyterian College this Saturday for a 6 p.m. CDT start, the second of three straight road contests.

Cumberland 38, Edward Waters 16

Cumberland 14 21 0 3—38

Edward Waters 3 7 6 0—16

First quarter

Cumberland—Joseph Rushin 1 run (Pablo D. Travecedo kick), 12:27.

Edward Waters—Christioni Robinson 36 FG, 5:20.

Cumberland—Tyler Tate fumble recovery in end zone (Travecedo kick), 2:05.

Second quarter

Cumberland—Dezmon Huntley 17 run (Travecedo kick), 12:30.

Edward Waters—Daniel Wright 1 run (Robinson kick), 6:30.

Cumberland—Telvin Rucker 31 run (Travecedo kick), 4:37.

Cumberland—Lorel Morton 8 pass from Huntley (Travecedo kick), :08.

Third quarter

Edward Waters—Basil Spencer Jr. 22 pass from Christian Hayes (pass failed), 12:25.

Fourth quarter

Cumberland—Travecedo 35 FG, 5:05.

Individual statistics

Cumberland Edward Waters

First downs 24 19

—Rush 11 8

—Pass 9 11

—Penalty 4 0

Rushes-yards 45-244 32-149

Passing yards 180 235

—Comp.-Att.-Int. 13-21-0 17-33-0

Punts-avg. 1-37.0 4-38.8

Penalties-yards 3-20 13-131

Fumbles-lost 3-1 2-2

Individual statistics

RUSHING—Cumberland: Telvin Rucker 20-140, Joseph Rushin 12-69, Dezmon Huntley 9-39, Kris Parker 1-4, Kendall Johnson 1-1, Team 1-(-9). Edward Waters: Christian Hayes 15-86, Kyveon Jones 4-45, Matthew Holland 5-11, Ranny Williams 3-7, Daniel Wright 2-4, Tyler Mahla 1-(-1), Basil Spencer Jr. 2-(-3).

PASSING—Cumberland: Dezmon Huntley 12-19-0—158, Joseph Rushin 1-2-0—22. Edward Waters: Christian Hayes 14-25-0—190, Ranny Williams 3-8-0—45.

RECEIVING—Cumberland: Ladarius Rodgers 4-58, Lorel Morton 3-52, Kendall Johnson 3-31, Marcus Bryson 2-32, Telvin Rucker 1-7. Edward Waters: Jamal Hughes 7-84, Basil Spencer Jr. 5-91, Dundee Dilworth 2-42, Kyveon Jones 1-13, Matthew Holland 1-4, Deshea Hooker 1-1.

MISSED FIELD GOALS—Cumberland: Pablo D. Travecedo 37.

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