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CU rallies past WVU Tech 31-26

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MONTGOMERY, W.Va. - Broc Loveless threw a 41-yard TD pass to DeJeay Woods with 1:56 to play as Cumberland scored 21 points in the fourth quarterof a 31-26 victory over scrappy West Virginia Tech Saturday at Martin Field.

The Bulldogs (3-1) trailed 20-10 with 10:25 remaining in the game after Julian Bernard's 20-yard quarterback draw for the Golden Bears (0-3). CU responded with a four-play, 60-yard drive highlighted by a 33-yard completion to Woods. QB Loveless finished the drive with an 11-yard TD run.

On WVU Tech's next possession, Cody McCallister blocked a punt and Allant McLemore recovered the ball in the end zone for a 24-20 Cumberland advantage with 6:09 remaining. The home team came right back with a seven-play, 75-yard drive, including Bernard's 33-yard touchdown pass to Darryl Reynolds with 3:09 to play.

The track meet in the fourth quarter continued, with Loveless hitting Woods on a short pass over the middle and the redshirt sophomore broke two tackles before tumbling into the end zone with 1:56 to play.

WVU Tech picked up one first down but was called for holding on the play on their final drive. Bernard then fired incomplete on third and fourth down and the Bulldogs knelt on the ball three times to run out the clock.

Woods finished with six catches for 148 yards while Loveless 13-of-25 for 184 and one score.

Neither team played particularly well in the first half, but the Bears broke through on a 12-yard touchdown run from Reynolds with 3:40 left in the second quarter. Cumberland answered quickly, with Loveless hitting Woods for a 35-yard strike to start the drive. Six plays later Lemeco Miller ran untouched around the leftside for a one-yard score, knotting the game at seven at the break.

Cumberland missed two golden opportunities to take control of the game in the third quarter, taking over at the WVUT 32-yard line after the Bears were backed up deep in their own territory on the opening drive of the second half. But the drive stalled and Jarad White missed a 30-yard field goal.

Cumberland got it back later in the period at the Bears 17-yard line after a Ben Miller interception. Again the drive stalled but White gave CU a 10-7 lead with a 32-yard field goal.

After Reynolds intercepted a Loveless pass in Tech territory, the Bears marched 53 yards on seven plays, with Isaiah Keyes rushing six yards around the leftside for a 14-10 Bears advantage.

Loveless was sacked and fumbled early in the fourth quarter, setting up Bernard's 20-yard run. BJ Stewart blocked the extra point, giving Tech a 20-10 lead and starting the fourth quarter fireworks.

"I thought their kids played extremely hard, with a lot of effort," said CU coach Dewayne Alexander. "We knew we would have a tought time figuring out what they were going to do defensively.

"They also had several players who just got released by the NAIA Clearinghouse -- a couple of difference makers. They had some pretty physical players up front, but we hung in there.

"We had a couple of things there in the passing game we were able to convert, and remember, Broc is still a freshman. He's still learning."

Cumberland takes next week off and heads to Shorter University on October 8 for a 12:30 p.m. Central Time kickoff in the first Mid-South Conference West Division game of the season.

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