Braves Fall to Marauders 44-38 In A Shootout
The stage was set for the UNCP football team to pick up their first win in over a month before the Braves offense, despite having an impressive outing, came up just short and the highly touted “Code Black” defense was unable to get a key stop when it mattered most.
Follow two extremely underwhelming and debilitating home losses in back-to-back weeks, the Black and Gold offense came to life and showed out in the team’s match up with the Marauders of Central State University at McPherson Stadium in Wilberforce, OH on Oct. 13.
After only being able to just seven points off of a single touchdown in their previous two games combined, the unit exploded in this contest and racked up 38 points and nearly 400 yards of total offense in their best performance since their match up with ECSU.
The first quarter got off to as bad as a start as the Braves could’ve imagined as they surrendered 21 points and 223 yards on offense to the Marauders.
While they put up 10 points off of an Alex Alvarado field goal and a 37-yard touchdown strike to receiver Tyshawn Carter from quarterback Josh Jones, they still faced a 11-point deficit after the first 15 minutes of the game.
Thanks to a bad snap on the Central State’s first drive of the second quarter, the Black and Gold were set up with great field position at the CSU 34-yard line.
After running back Josh Jones rushed three times for 24 yards, the Braves cut the lead to within four when Jones found tight end Jalen Nixon on a 10-yard touchdown pass.
The Marauders would respond with two scoring drives of their own but still only held a one score lead after quarterback Josh Dale completed one of his two attempts to slot receiver Corey West for a touchdown as the Braves trailed 31-24 at the half.
Redshirt sophomore defensive back Devin Jones opened up the second half with an impressive 42-yard return to put his team in CSU territory to start the third quarter. Although the offense wouldn’t capitalize, punter Isaac Parks would pin the Marauders at their five-yard line and the defense forced a three and out.
Starting at their opponents’ 26-yard line Jones completed three straight passes and Sheridan rushed twice for 15 yards and rumbled in for the game tying score to knot the game up 31-31.
Central State would take the lead back on the ensuing drive, but the Braves would take their first lead of the day after Jones orchestrated the team’s best drive of the contest.
The offense marched down the field with a balanced attack for 67 yards on 11 plays in just under five minutes and capped it off with a five-yard touchdown jaunt from freshman running back McKinley Nelson to give UNCP a 38-37 advantage.
The Braves offense stalled out in the fourth quarter and the defense would allow the Marauders to take the lead back for the final time on their second drive of the quarter after a costly pass interference penalty set them up for the game winning score.
Jones led both quarterbacks in passing yards (250), completion percentage (75%), and touchdown passes (two). He also added 34 yards on six attempts and also threw an interception.
The Black and Gold had three receivers reel in five or more catches and just about of more than 50 yards. Quay Threatt lead the group in yards with 56 and West lead the team in receptions with eight.
Sheridan led the ground game with 71 yards on 15 attempts for a healthy 4.5 per carry average and a touchdown. Nelson put up 29 yards on 5 carries and a score with a 5.8 average.