NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - Led by a stingy defense that yielded just one score in the final minute of the fourth quarter, Christopher Newport defeated Hampden-Sydney Saturday evening, 20-7. The non-conference victory at POMOCO Stadium improved CNU's record to 2-0 to start the 2017 season.
Senior quarterback K.J. Kearney again led the offensive output, completing 20 of 34 passes for 243 yards and two scores. Kearney, who threw four touchdown passes last week in a road victory at Southern Virginia, has now completed 55 of 74 passes with no interceptions. "That was a tough battle," Head Coach Art Link said following his home debut. "Hampden-Sydney uses a lot of different combinations with a lot of different looks. We did a really good job adjusting and keeping them off balance."
CNU's defense did not allow the Tigers to advance into the red zone (inside the 20-yard line) until the final two minutes of the fourth quarter which led to H-SC's only score of the night. Hampden-Sydney, now 1-1, was held to just 245 yards total offense. Senior linebacker Brennan Gary led the defensive unit with eight tackles, and also forced a fumble. Senior defensive back Justus Drakeford made seven stops, intercepted a pass, and set a new school record with five passes broken up.
Following a scoreless first quarter, the Captains started the scoring with 12:41 to play in the second quarter. Kearney connected with sophomore receiver Cole Blais on a 19-yard scoring strike to put CNU on top, 6-0. The scoring pass completed a 93-yard drive that consisted of 12 plays, and proved to be the only scoring in the opening half.
After halftime, Christopher Newport added two scores to take a 20-0 advantage. Kearney threw his second TD pass, and sixth of the season, by hooking up with senior Khiry Weaver on a 17-yard strike with 3:19 to play in the third quarter. Early in the fourth quarter with 12:38 on the clock, freshman running back Taige Brown rumbled into the end zone from one yard out for the Captains third touchdown of the night, and also the 600th touchdown in CNU football history.
The shutout by the Christopher Newport defense finally came to end with just 37 seconds left on the clock in the fourth quarter. Hampden-Sydney junior quarterback Alec Cobb threw a seven-yard scoring pass to sophomore receiver Major Morgan for the Tigers only score of the game. Senior Harrison Dandridge led the CNU ground game, rushing for 75 yards on 14 carries. Brown finished the night with 57 yards on 19 attempts and a touchdown. Senior receiver Austin Hall caught seven passes for 50 yards, while Blais made five grabs for 100 yards and a score.
A crowd of 3,918 enjoyed a beautiful autumnal evening as the Captains won their only non-conference game of the season. CNU returns to action next Saturday, hosting Frostburg State at POMOCO Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7:00 p.m. for the first-place showdown. Both the Captains and Bobcats will enter the game with 2-0 overall marks and 1-0 records in the New Jersey Athletic Conference.
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