Turnovers spoil Campbellsville’s efforts against Patriots

The Tigers lost to the University of the Cumberlands 41-38.
Published: Oct. 29, 2023 at 7:18 PM CDT
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - On Saturday night, the Tigers hosted University of the Cumberlands Patriots at Finley Stadium . Turnovers proved to be the difference maker with Campbellsville coughing up the ball five times when all was said and done. The Tigers lost 41-38.

With the initial play of the contest, the Patriots fumbled the ball and the Tigers recovered deep into Cumberlands territory. At only 15 seconds into the first quarter, Jagger Gillis skillfully completed a strike to Luke Sheperson, ending in a 17-yard Tiger touchdown. The Patriots were quick to retaliate with a touchdown of their own on their second possession. The Tigers’ third drive fell short, as Cumberlands recovered a fumbled ball after their strip sack on the Campbellsville two-yard line. The Patriots converted the touchdown on two rushing plays and then would record another touchdown minutes later with a pick-six, leaving the Tigers trailing 23-7. With less than 20 seconds left in the first quarter, Gillis completed a pass to Jack Busey for a 14-yard Campbellsville touchdown. At the end of the first, the Tigers were behind, 24-13.

The second quarter came to a slow offensive start with neither team scoring in their first possessions. Cumberlands finished their third drive of the quarter with a touchdown, widening their lead over Campbellsville. However, the Tigers were quick to retaliate with a completed pass from Gillis to Sheperson for a 14-yard score. With less than six seconds left on the clock, Gillis completed a dime to Andre Siler for a 15-yard Tiger touchdown and, at the end of the first half, the Patriots led the game 31-26.

Going into the second half, the Tigers led the game in average yards per play (8.03 to 4.98) yet trailed on the scoreboard due to the Patriots’ third down efficiency (7-10) and their single turnover compared to the Tigers’ three. Gillis threw for nearly 200 yards and four touchdowns to spearhead the Tigers’ offense while Jeremiah Pauling led the team with five total tackles.

Campbellsville started the third quarter with their attempt to score cut short after a three-and-out and Alain Lopez’s 50-yard punt. The Patriots marched down the field and connected on an 18-yard touchdown, widening their lead to a 12-point advantage over the Tigers. Subsequently, the Patriots intercepted a pass from Gillis to Jamin Evans, ending the Tigers’ second drive after seven plays. In the remainder of the third quarter, neither team scored, going into the fourth quarter with Cumberlands in the lead, 38-26.

Within the first couple of minutes of the last quarter, a 15-yard rush from Charles Collins ended in a Tiger touchdown propelling Campbellsville forward on the scoreboard. Shortly after, the Patriots kicked a successful field goal, advancing the game to 41-32. Lopez’s 45-yard punt ended Campbellsville’s second drive after five plays. However, on their next chance with the ball, Gillis and Ashton Auker connected for a 14-yard touchdown after eight plays. Following an unsuccessful onside kick attempt, the Tigers lost the game 41-38.

At the end of the game, the Patriots posted 405 total yards to the Tigers’ 461. Both teams’ time of possession remained fairly close, as Campbellsville held the ball for 36:21 compared to Cumberland’s 38:39. What separated the win from the loss was the turnover battle, which the Patriots won by limiting themselves to just one while Campbellsville had five. Ellis Reed led defensively in tackles for the Tigers with a career-high 18 while Amaucheckukwu Nnaji-Collins and Myles Butler both had one sack each. The Tigers were much more successful stopping the Patriots on third down in the second half, forcing them to go 3 of 8. Sheperson (128 yards) led receivers with two touchdowns, followed by Siler (135 yards), Auker, and Collins with one each.

The Tigers will be back in action, hosting the Bethel University Wildcats on November 4th, beginning at 2:30 p.m. ET.