LEBANON, Tenn. - Senior quarterback Mike Brinkley registered his first 300-yard game of the season, but it wasn't enough as Union fell 42-21 Saturday to host and No. 17 Cumberland (Tenn.).
The loss drops Union to 3-3 on the year, while Cumberland improves to 5-1 overall.
Brinkley completed 24-of-42 passes for 306 yards and three touchdowns. While this was his first 300-yard game of 2012, it is Brinkley's fifth of his career. The last time he hit the three-century mark came on Oct. 9, 2010, when he passed for a career-high 345 yards and a school-record six touchdowns in an 84-55 win over Bethel (Tenn.).
Brinkley and the Bulldogs will play host to Bethel next week at 12 p.m.
For much of the game, Union stood toe-to-tow with Cumberland. Late in the third quarter, Diquan Jefferson blocked a Cumberland punt, giving Union the ball on the Cumberland 44. On the very next play, Brinkley hit Domonique Jefferson for a 44-yard scoring strike to tie the game at 21-21 with 1:32 remaining in the period.
However, Cumberland owned the fourth quarter.
Cumberland held possession of the ball for 12:03 in the final period, and Lemeco Miller scored three of his five rushing touchdowns in the quarter as Cumberland recorded the 42-21 win. In the fourth, Miller scored on runs of 6, 20 and 7 yards.
Miller finished the game with 175 yards rushing and five touchdowns on 27 carriers.
Cumberland nearly edged Union in total offense 460-436 with 323 of Cumberland's yardage coming on the ground. Union rushed for 130 yards as a team on 29 carries.
In part to the impressive running attack, Cumberland controlled the time of possession as it had the ball for 34:16.
Brinkley hit 12 different receivers with Jefferson leading the way with four catches for 86 yards and two touchdowns. Jared Smith caught three passes for 52 yards, while Tyler Ross had two receptions for 44 yards and a score.
Leonard Dixon led Union's ground game with 54 yards on nine carries.
Defensively, C.J. Hunnicutt led the way with 11 total stops with 1.0 tackles for a loss and a half sack. Zach Eagler followed with nine total tackles.