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Patriot comeback falls short in final seconds; lose to Tigers 41-35

WILLIAMSBURG Ky. - For 6 straight games in the 2012 season, the University of the Cumberlands (UC) football team has been nothing but impressive. The Patriots took an 11 game winning streak into the game on Saturday as they traveled north to Georgetown College (GC) to take on the NAIA #2 ranked Tigers in what will be remembered as one of the best games in the rivalry’s history and possibly the game of the year in the Mid-South Conference.

From the opening kick, emotions were running high on both sidelines. Both the Patriots and the Tigers came out showing why their defenses were one of the best in the country. After both teams struggled to move the ball in their first drives, a simple decision to punt paid off for the Patriots. With a 4th and 1 at the 49 yard line, after contemplating going for it, Head Coach John Bland sent his punt team onto the field. The punt would be muffed by Georgetown as UC would recover to put them in a 1st and goal situation on the 8 yard line. Two plays later, Terrance Cobb (Knoxville, TN) would find his way into the end zone from 3 yards out to give UC a 7-0 lead.

The Tigers would soon answer though with a 75 yard touchdown drive completed by a 28 yard touchdown pass to tie it up at 7-7. After the Patriots next drove stalled, the Tigers would score once again through the air on a 7 yard touchdown pass by Neal Pawsat to make it a 14-7 lead for the Tigers. The Patriots would face the pressure of trailing and trying to come up with a big touchdown, but that pressure was answered by Cobb again as he broke away with a 68 yard touchdown run to tie this game at 14-14. Pawsat would go back to work in the air as the Tigers would score on their next two drives to take a 28-14 lead with just 4:56 to play in the 2nd quarter. The Patriots would then come up with a big play in what could have been the do or die drive of the game. UC would find the end zone with a beautiful 29 yard touchdown pass to Iquan Deed (Montezuma, GA) from Jay Bright (Fayetteville, GA) making it 28-21 going into halftime.

The third quarter was a defensive battle between these two NAIA top 10 programs. Georgetown would find the pay dirt first in the 2nd half as Zach Sowder would run one in from 24 yards out to give the Tigers a 35-21 lead heading to the 4th quarter. UC would come back in a big way in the final 15 minutes as Bright would find Deed once again on an 18 yard pass for a touchdown to cut the lead to 35-28. Cobb would then show his dominance on the ground as he would break away for another 78 yard touchdown run with 8:09 left to go in the game to tie it up at 35-35. The Patriots would get a big defensive stand that would give UC the ball after a 4th down stop with just over 2 minutes to play. With 2:20 left on a third down play, Bright dropped back and was sacked and fumbled the ball that was recovered by Georgetown and taken into the end zone for a 41-35 lead. After an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty was called, the PAT was blocked keeping the score at 41-35 GC.

The Tigers’ ensuing kickoff would go out of bounds after the penalty was assessed giving UC the ball on the 50 yard line with just under 2 minutes with one timeout left. After a greatly executed 2 minute drive where they got the ball to the 10 yard line, the Patriots would come down to a critical 3rd and 7 play. With a swarming defense covering all receivers, the Tigers would pick off Bright’s pass across the middle to secure the victory over the Patriots.

“I am so proud of these guys and how hard they fought. They never gave up and worked hard. We will keep our heads up and get better. There is a lot of football left to be played,” said Head Coach John Bland said after the game.

The leader on the Patriots offense on this day was no other than Terrance Cobb who had the best game of the season where he ran for 258 yards on 25 carries and 3 touchdowns. Iquan Deed also had a nice day for UC as he ran for 45 yards on 11 attempts and had 3 catches for 53 yards and 2 touchdowns.

The defense had some big performances by players that are becoming household names for the Patriots. Kel McCarter (Sevierville, TN) and Nick Smith (Knoxville, TN) tied for most tackles with 7 while Brendan Kelly (Lexington, KY) and Dewaun Harrison (Chickamauga, GA) had 5 tackles on the day.

The Patriots will now start their quest for a new winning streak as the school record 11 game streak was snapped. The Patriots will host UVA-Wise next Saturday the 20th. One thing is for sure though as this Patriot team has proven they are one of the best in the country and can compete against anyone.

If you're unable to go to the game, the game will be broadcasted locally on WEZJ 104.3 FM. If you are out of the listening area, you can always catch Cumberlands football by logging onto www.cumberlandspatriots.com.

For more information on the Patriots football program along with other Patriot athletics, please visit www.cumberlandspatriots.com.

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