PIKEVILLE, Ky. - Scoring on nine of its 10 drives, including eight for touchdowns, fourth-ranked Cumberlands (Ky.) was too much to handle on Thursday night, handing the University of Pikeville a 59-3 loss at the Hambley Athletics Complex.
Utilizing a triple-option attack to perfection, the Patriots outgained the Bears 475-59 on the ground to control the game and keep the clock moving against a Pikeville team that showed promise on its first drive.
UPIKE (3-2, 1-2 MSC East) led briefly in the first quarter after a 23-yard field goal from Ryan Wilson made it 3-0 with 11:13 on the clock. However, the Bears wouldn’t score again for the rest of the game.
Nu’Keese Richardson got UPIKE started with a 34-yard return on the opening kickoff, followed by a 38-yard reception down the right sideline to the Patriots’ four. From there, Seth Millar lost three yards on first down, quarterback A.J. Graham scrambled for a yard and then threw an incomplete pass to bring on Wilson for three points.
Graham finished 15 of 30 with 243 yards and one interception, but failed to throw a touchdown pass for the second straight game. Shawntez Johnson was his top target with 130 yards on eight catches and Bryan Rankin led the rushing attack for the first time this season with 51 yards on five carries, including a long of 35.
Austin Baldwin paced the UPIKE defense with 11 tackles and John-Dudley Hilton finished with nine. Desmond Davis tallied Pikeville’s only solo sack, one of his four tackles for the game.
Patriot quarterback Adam Craig put the ball in the air just 13 times, completing seven, for 107 yards and two touchdowns, but it was his game-high 94 yards on the ground with a pair of scores that proved devastating for the UPIKE defense.
Craig and his stable of backs helped pick up 31 first downs, compared to 17 for the Bears.
Cumberlands (4-0, 2-0 MSC East) backup quarterback Randy Maynard, playing on his home field from high school at Pikeville, was the second leading rusher with 88 yards and a touchdown. Running backs D’Angelo Jordan and Zeke Eier finished with 85 and 82 yards, respectively.
Cumberlands’ leading rusher on the season, Terrance Cobb, did not play after a game-time decision.
But even without Cobb, the offense did not sputter. It was a 31-3 Patriot lead at halftime after Al Merrick’s 35-yard field goal. The field-goal attempt was the only other non-touchdown scoring drive for Cumberlands, with the other being a third-quarter punt.
Pikeville didn’t help itself with turnovers. First was Richardson fumbling after a nearly 40-yard return on the third kickoff of the game. The Bears would later fumble in the middle of the second quarter, cough it up again halfway through the third, have a punt blocked and throw an interception.
The Patriots scored a touchdown after all five Pikeville mistakes on their way to a season-high 59 points. The offense was consistent, scoring two touchdowns in each period with the lone field goal added just before halftime.
UPIKE returns to action at 2:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, Oct. 5 at Cumberland in Lebanon, Tenn.