LAURINBURG — The St. Andrews University football team rallied back in the second half before eventually falling to Appalachian Division foe University of the Cumberlands (Ky.) 21-14 on Saturday.
The two teams traded turnovers in the first quarter as Cumberlands’ first drive ended in a fumble, which St. Andrews scooped up. Despite driving the length of the field on a 10-play 74 yard drive the Knights offense couldn’t hold onto the ball either fumbling inside the 20-yard line.
Turnovers continued to plague both teams as Cumberlands went on another drive before quarterback Josiah Robbins threw an interception to St. Andrews’ freshman safety Nathan Belch, who ran the ball back 16-yards to put his team in good field position.
After a scoreless first quarter, Cumberlands capitalized on a fumbled snap by St. Andrews punter Carson Gibbs. The ball was spotted at the 8-yard-line and two plays later, tailback Milton Shelton took the ball two-yard into the end zone for the first points of the game.
The Patriots added another touchdown to lead 14-0 at the break courtesy of a five-yard carry by Kevin Claussen which capped a nine-play, 70-yard drive to end the first half.
St. Andrews found itself in a 21-point hole after Cumberlands score a third touchdown in the first four minutes of the third quarter.
The Patriots scored on a 20-yard quarterback keeper by Robbins to take a 21-0 lead. The Knights, led by red-shirt freshman quarterback Kacey Otto, used great blocking by his offensive line to scamper 45 yards into the end zone to put St. Andrews on the board.
St. Andrews continued to hurt themselves as an illegal shift call negated a touchdown pass from Otto to wide receiver Kashard Cohens. The Knights responded on their ensuing drive with a nine-play, 98-yard drive capped by a two-yard touchdown run by freshman tailback Trevor McNeil.
The Knights defense shut out their opponent in the fourth quarter — for a second straight game — but their final drive to tie the game stalled a midfield.
Cumberlands out gained the Knights 400-318 with 250 of their total yards coming in the passing game. The Knights offense was led by McNeil who had 13 carries for 60 yards and a touchdown.
Freshman linebacker Christian Scott and freshman defensive end Codie Emunson led the Knights with a sack apiece while Scott finished with six tackles. Red-shirt freshman linebacker Andrew Austin led the team with 11 total tackles and seven solo along with a tackle for loss.
St. Andrews falls to 2-6 overall and 1-3 in the Appalachian Division with the close defeat while Cumberlands improves to 5-4 overall 2-3 in the Division.
St. Andrews will go back on the road next Saturday to face Appalachian Division foe Union College (Ky.) at 1:30 p.m.