The UWF football team played it’s way into a position to tie or take the lead late, but just ran out of time in dropping a 20-13 season-opening contest to Carson-Newman at Burke-Tarr Stadium Thursday night.
UWF blocked a C-N field goal attempt – the first blocked field goal in program history – with 31 seconds left and moved the ball to just past midfield to give itself a final Hail Mary attempt. But Austin Reed was sacked before he could move from the pocket and the clock hit zero at that point.
UWF (0-1) finished with 262 yards of total offense as 100 came in the final 15 minutes. The Argos committed seven penalties for 74 yards and were 3-of-9 on third downs.
Reed and J.C. Robles were two of the 19 players who made their UWF debuts on Thursday. Robles played the first two offensive possessions before Reed came on for the remainder of the game. Reed – a redshirt freshman transfer – threw for 194 yards on 15-of-29 with a touchdown and an interception. He also carried the ball 12 times for 33 yards to lead the ground attack.
Senior Tate Lehtio caught seven balls for 79 yards and a touchdown, including three receptions on a fourth-quarter scoring drive that allowed the Argos to draw within 20-13 and 6:53 to play. Classmate Quentin Randolph caught four of the five balls thrown his way for 52 yards.
The Eagles got on the board first, scoring on an Antonio Wimbush run from two yards out later in the opening quarter. UWF answered three possessions later when Jervon Newton capped 7-play, 56-yard drive with a 2-yard touchdown rush.
C-N ended the half with a pair of Nate Craft field goals to take a 13-6 lead into the locker room.
Derrick Evans put the home team up 20-6 with 4:01 remaining in the third when he eluded the UWF defense on 3rd-and-15 for a 45-yard scramble for a score. That was the way it stayed untl Reed found Lehtio in the end zone in the fourth.
C-N (1-0) totaled 422 yards of offense and used it’s running blueprint for 334 of those. Evans led the team with 133 yards on 18 carries and was 8-of-14 for 88 yards
The Argonauts forced a fumble and Kedrick Bradley returned it 40 yards to halt the Eagles first possession inside the 10 yard line. It marked the 34th time in 38 all-time games that the Argonauts have forced a turnover.
Andre Duncombe, Jr., Ian Bush and Terry Limehouse, Jr. all had eight tackles for UWF. Duncombe also had 3.5 tackles for loss and forced a fumble. He and Sharod Oliver combined for UWF’s only sack in the contest.
UWF will return to action next Saturday, Sept. 14, when it travels to Rome, Ga. to face Shorter in the Gulf South Conference opener for both teams. Kickoff at Rome Stadium is set for 1 p.m. Eastern Time/Noon Central. The game will be televised by ESPN3 as part of the GSC Game of the Week package and broadcast on the UWF Sports Network, ESPN Pensacola 1330 AM/99.1 FM.