DETROIT, Mich.—A trip to the Motor City was bumpy for the No. 13 Carson-Newman Eagles Saturday night, as the Eagles fell 41-31 to the Wayne State Warriors at Adams Field.
Senior running back Andy Hibbett’s set eight career-highs, including 196 rushing yards and four total touchdowns. Hibbett finished the game with 253 total yards, another career-high.
Two fourth-quarter rushing touchdowns from Wayne State’s Desmond Martin were too much for Carson-Newman (1-1) to overcome.
“It all starts up front with the offensive line. I don’t think I was touched in any of those touchdown runs,” Hibbett said. “As a running back, when they make it easy on you like that, it’s fun. I hate that the score didn’t end like we wanted it to, but the offensive line was definitely there.”
The Warriors opened the scoring less than one minute into the game as running back Desmond Martin broke a 62-yard run to put Wayne State up 7-0.
Carson-Newman responded with Hibbett’s first score of the night as he took a dive play up the middle for a 76 yards, the longest run in his career, and the game was tied 7-7.
Both teams traded field goals as Wayne State’s Paul Graham connected from 42 yards and senior Ben Ogle converted from 26 yards to re-tie the game at 10.
Val Showers took the ensuing kickoff 87 yards and scored to regain the Warriors’ lead at 17-10.
But the Eagles responded again and once again, it was Hibbett. An 18-yard inside rush from Hibbett tied the score 17-17 midway through the second.
Right before the half, Wayne State quarterback Carl Roscoe found Michael Johnson streaking down the right sideline for a 26-yard touchdown reception and a 24-17 lead at halftime.
The Eagles received the opening kick of the second half and drove the ball down the field. Hibbett’s third rushing touchdown of the evening came from one-yard out and Carson-Newman tied the game at 24.
The Warriors responded with a field goal to take a 27-24 lead, but Hibbett found the end zone one last time. This time, quarterback De’Andre Thomas found Hibbett streaking down the middle of the field for a 57-yard touchdown pass, the longest catch and most receiving yards in his career, and the Eagles took their first and only lead of the game at 31-27.
Carson-Newman forced a three-and-out the following possession and were driving at midfield when penalties derailed the drive. A false start and a holding penalty pushed the Eagles to 2nd and 25 and could not convert.
But the two fourth-quarter touchdown runs from Martin sealed the deal for Wayne State. Martin scored from six and 13 yards out to give the Warriors a 41-31 win. Martin finished the game with a career-high 242 yards and three touchdowns.
Carson-Newman was penalized 10 times for 87 yards and had two players ejected.
“I’m really puzzled because we played really undisciplined at times,” coach Ken Sparks said. “We are a team that let somebody dictate how we played and that’s not us, that’s not the way we are coached to do it. They took the fight to us and sometimes it wasn’t the kind of fight we responded to well and the kind of fight we responded to the right way.”
Junior cornerback Eien Jacob led the Eagle defense with six tackles, including two for a loss.
Carson-Newman returns to action on September 20th as they travel to Brevard to take on the Tornadoes at 1 p.m.