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Pioneers blank Newberry 14-0 for homecoming win in critical SAC match-up

Pioneers blank Newberry 14-0 for homecoming win in critical SAC match-up

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- The Tusculum University defense limited visiting Newberry College to 192 yards as the Pioneers posted a 14-0 homecoming shutout over the Wolves Saturday afternoon in a key South Atlantic Conference clash at Pioneer Field.

With the victory, the Pioneers (4-2, 3-1 SAC) remain in the top half of the league standings while posting its first shutout since a 20-0 win at Brevard College in 2015. It is TU's first home shutout since 2014 (71-0 vs College of Faith and its first-ever home clean-sheet versus a SAC opponent since joining the conference in 1998.

The defenses stymied the opposition resulting in a combined 10 three-and-outs of the 28 total series by the Pioneers and the Wolves. Tusculum recorded 17 first downs on the day, converting 4-of-14 on third down.  Newberry was held to 10 first downs as the Wolves went 4-of-16 on third down and 0-of-1 on the fourth down late in the game.

TU's Randy Hooks led all players with a career-high 11 tackles including a sack, while Ivan Hogans posted seven tackles with a career-best four tackles for loss including one sack.  The four tackles for loss are tied for the sixth-most in program history.

Tusculum quarterback Alex Ogle came off the bench and went 14-of-27 for 178 yards with a touchdown.  Running back Jordon Shippy returned to the Tusculum line-up as rushed for a game-high 78 yards on 13 carries which included a career-long 58-yarder from the TU one-yard line to set up the Pioneers' second touchdown.

In a scoreless first quarter the two teams combined for only 88 total yards (NBY 47, TU 41).

Midway through the second quarter TU rookie punter pinned Newberry at the one-yard.  The Wolves moved out of the shadow of their end zone but would be forced to punt from the NBY 11.  Shea Rodgers kick went 16 yards and out of bound at the 27.

Ogle opened the drive with a 13-yard pass to Carter Mangel and a 13-yard completion to Conner Johnston to get to the one-yard line.  Maxwell Joseph jumped into the pile and into the end zone, but was flagged for illegal motion.  Joseph got the yardage back with a five-yard run and Will Boney capped it off with a one-yard rush up the middle to give TU at 6-0 lead with 2:47 remaining in the half.  Joe Defatta's kick made it 7-0.

Both teams would go three-and-out to end the half as the Pioneers carried the lead into the locker room.

Tusculum punted after three plays on its opening possession to start the third quarter.  Newberry moved into TU territory.

The first four series resulted in punts as Rodgers pinned the Pioneers at their one-yard line with 5:28 left in the third quarter.  Right out of the gate, Shippy broke free and was tripped up on a TD-saving tackle by Anthony Blue at the NBY 41 for a 58-yard gain.  Joseph ran for five yards and Ogle completed a 15-yard pass to Aaron Fudge at the 21.  On third down and 10, Ogle completed a shovel pass to Fudge who ran 16 yards to the NBY 5.  Joseph ran for three yards and Ogle found Conner Johnston on the left side for a two-yard score as Tusculum led 14-0 at the 1:31 mark of the frame.

Leading by two scores with less than five minutes remaining, the Pioneers were driving into Newberry territory, but the Wolves' Jared Hagood recovered a fumble giving the visitors some life with 4:40 to go.  Newberry would get a nine-yard run from Harris, but two incomplete passes by Harris and a two-yard loss on fourth down turned ball over to Tusculum at the NBY 46.  Newberry would get the ball one more time, but David Johnson ended rally with an interception as TU remained in third place in the conference standings.

Rodgers punted 11 times for 435 yards and an average of 39.5 while pinning TU inside the 20-yard line four times.  Cantrell punted 10 times for 369 yards (36.9 avg) with three punts inside the 20.

Harris went 10-of-21 for 104 yards and an interception as he was one of three signal callers to get under center for the Wolves.

Blue led Newberry defensively with nine tackles including two for loss and a sack.  Jamarcus Henderson had six tackles including three for loss giving him 59.5 career stops behind the line of scrimmage which are the 30th most in NCAA Division II history.

The Pioneers will be on the road next week for a 1:30 p.m. contest at Catawba College on Saturday.

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