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2015 Battle of Hwy 55 goes to Campbellsville, 26-21
Late half turnovers seal Tigers win over No. 8 Lindsey Wilson in NAIA Game of the Week before crowd of 3,000 at Blue Raider Stadium
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Next for CU CU will play No. 6 Reinhardt next week for the Mid-South Conference West Division championship. Kickoff is scheduled for 11amCT/12pmNoonET, Saturday, November 7, 2015 in Tiger Town at Finley Stadium, 204 Tiger Way, Campbellsville, KY on Saturday, November 7.
by Jordan Alves, CU Sports Information Director
COLUMBIA, KY - Leading by five points with 30 seconds on the clock and Lindsey Wilson driving, Stephon Tanga forced a fumble and Alex Franklin recovered it to seal Campbellsville's win in the NAIA Game of the Week, 26-21.
"One of the things we teach on defense is to swarm the ball," said CU coach Perry Thomas. "That's exactly what Alex Franklin did. The quarterback breaks out of the pocket with time running out and people out of position. He happened to fumble and we were able to get the recovery. This is a huge win for our team and our program. I am so proud of the guys for fighting in the second half and finding a way to win."
The Battle of Highway 55 trophy returns to Campbellsville for the fourth time in the seven-year history of the rivalry. The Tigers (7-2, 4-0 MSC West) have now won seven games in a row after starting the season 0-2. CU will play No. 6 Reinhardt next week for the Mid-South Conference West Division championship. Kickoff is scheduled for noon ET in Tiger Town, at Campbellsville University's Finley Stadium, 204 Tiger Way, Campbellsville, KY on Saturday, November 7.
"I think this game and season has been a compliment to this team," said Thomas. "Even if we are out of position and when we don't make plays, we are playing so hard. We have to come out next week against another very good team and see if we can win another divisional title."
Lindsey Wilson (6-2, 1-2 MSC West) held Campbellsville scoreless in the second half and scored 14 points themselves to cut the CU lead to five points with 4:45 left in regulation.
Even though Campbellsville's offense was held scoreless in the second half the biggest offensive play of the half came late in the fourth quarter. Quarterback Jacob Russell used another skill to help his team.and pinned Lindsey Wilson inside its own 3-yard line with a pooch punt on fourth and three from the CU 49-yard line.
The Blue Raiders had 97 yards in front of them but were able to put up big chunks on three plays to move the ball to the CU 36. Tanga then reached a scrambling Dylan Beasley and the Tigers prevailed for the first time in three seasons.
Russell finished throwing for 339 yards on 37-of-50 and two touchdowns. He also added 73 yards on the ground on 20 rushes - a career-high. Jarrod Harrington continued to write his name in CU history, eclipsing 2,000 career receiving yards, 4,000 career all-purpose yards and also catching 14 passes today. The 14 passes breaks a single-game record which he tied earlier in the season when CU knocked off then-No. 3 Faulkner.
Bryson Bell led CU with seven tackles while Percy Minor and TO Smith both recorded interceptions. Broderick Williams also recovered a fumble in addition to Franklin's game clinching recovery.
Campbellsville scored all the points it would need in the first half with half of them coming off three Lindsey Wilson turnovers.
How the scoring happened:
Tied 7-7 in the first quarter, the Tigers were forced to punt but the best return man in the country, Alan Cooks, coughed up the punt and Campbellsville recovered. CU took over on the Lindsey Wilson 38-yard line.
Russell then hit Harrington on a 35-yard diving catch to break into the prestigious 2,000 receiving yard club. The catch set up Will Ward's 23-yard field goal to push Campbellsville's lead, 10-7, just 25 seconds off the second quarter clock.
On the ensuing drive for the Blue Raiders, Minor picked off Dylan Beasley for the second turnover in as many drives for LWC. That turnover led to another Ward field goal - this time from 36 yards out - to push the Tigers lead to 13-7.
Campbellsville added on to its lead late in the second half with Chance Goodman running in from two yards out. Lindsey Wilson blocked the PAT by Ward but the Tigers had all the momentum, leading 19-7 with 1:37 left before halftime.
The turning point in the game came late in the first half with the third Blue Raiders turnover on the ensuing drive. After a 40-yard kick return by Cooks to the Campbellsville 47, Lindsey Wilson was set up with its best field position of the day. The Blue Raiders marched down the field in three plays and were looking to cut the Tigers' lead to 19-14 with a fresh set of downs on the 1-yard line.
But TO Smith stepped in front of a Dylan Beasley pass on the goal line to take the wind out of the Blue Raiders. He returned the interception to the Lindsey Wilson 35-yard line with 47 seconds remaining to set up a Russell to Tyus Alcorn 8-yard TD pass. The turnover was a 14 point swing, as Campbellsville took a 26-7 lead into halftime.
"That was possibly the biggest part of the game," said Thomas. "My thinking as a head coach is if Lindsey Wilson scores late in the first half, then they get the ball to start the second half, that would have been a big momentum boost for them. Turnovers were huge today. I believe we have forced 12-13 turnovers the past three games and we haven't turned the ball over any."
The third quarter was a different story for both teams. Lindsey Wilson held the Tigers scoreless and scored 14 unanswered points to make it a game at the end. The Blue Raiders have not allowed any opponent to score in the third quarter this season.
Two of Lindsey Wilson's three touchdowns came on trick plays. Lindsey Wilson used a hook-and-lateral to score from 28-yards out on their second possession of the day to score and tie the game 7-7. In the third quarter, the Blue Raiders used a double pass to get behind the CU defense and score again. Dylan Beasley hit Corey Davenport who then hit Tavis Elzy on a 43-yard TD. - Jordan Alvez
This story was posted on 2015-10-31 20:05:25
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