The Tusculum football team went into Saturday’s contest looking to prove that a lopsided loss against Lenoir-Rhyne last year was an anomaly, but instead came out still trying to figure out why the Bears seems to have its number.
The Pioneers’ offense could not get anything going at Pioneer Field, and their defense eventually wore down as Lenoir-Rhyne went back across the mountains with a 23-7 win.
“I can’t understand how we lay an egg against these guys because I don’t think they are better than us, but they continue to whoop us,” Tusculum coach Jerry Odom said. “It’s got to be something I’m doing in getting the point across of what you have to do to prepare for good football teams in this conference. This one will haunt me for another year.”
Sophomore running back Nelson Brown was dominant for the Bears. He gained 256 yards on 30 carries and scored twice in the win. Last year in Lenoir-Rhyne’s 31-3 win over Tusculum, Brown had another career day as he ran for 261 yards and two touchdowns.
“We held him to five fewer yards than last year. Awesome,” Odom said sarcastically. “This guy is a superstar against us. If he played against us every week, he’d be in the NFL tomorrow.”
The bad day for Tusculum started on the first play from scrimmage when Maxwell Joseph fumbled away the Pioneers’ first possession as he tried to plow through the Bears’ defense.
Lenoir-Rhyne scooped up the ball, but Tusculum’s defense was able to hold strong and only allowed a field goal after starting with a short field to defend.
Going into the game, Tusculum led the nation in turnover margin at +10 but on Saturday turnovers proved costly. The Pioneers turned it over twice, which led to 10 points for the Bears. Tusculum forced two interceptions and could not do anything with them.