LEBANON -- Four turnovers and 18 penalties spelled doom for Cumberland Saturday in a 27-14 loss to No. 11-ranked Virginia-Wise at Lindsey Donnell Stadium.
Twice in the fourth quarter CU had the ball on the Virginia-Wise side of the field but could not convert, as the Bulldogs fell to 3-4 overall.
The game was full of momentum-changing plays, but the mistakes cost the Bulldogs badly in the contest, especially an inordinate amount of false-start penalties.
Cumberland was called for 18 penalties totaling 149 yards in the contest, 11 were of the false-start variety, putting the offense in big holes despite good field position in the second half.
Despite all of the penalties as well as a pair of interceptions and two fumbles, the Bulldogs trailed by just seven points until late in the final quarter.
"Our defense played really well and held a great offense in check, made them punt seven times and got some stops when we needed them," head coach Dewayne Alexander said.
"But we just had too many mistakes, too many penalties, and the false-starts really put us in a whole in the third quarter.
"Our team played really hard and we gave ourselves a chance to win the ballgame and that’s encouraging.
"We’ve still got a lot to play for because we’re 2-0 in our division and we’ve got some big ballgames coming up these next few weeks."
CU got the ball at its own 45 after a fumbled punt early in the fourth period, but the drive quickly stalled and Michael Hinson pinned the Cavs at the second yard line.
The following drive really took the heart out of theBulldogs, as UVA-Wise gained 38 yards on 10 plays, converting a pair of third-downs and eating 5:49 off the clock.
But the Cavs harassed CU quarterback Matt Eads on the next drive, much as they did for the entire second half, sacking the senior twice, including on fourth down.
UVAW took over on the Cumberland seven yard line and took four downs before putting the final score on the board, a four-yard rush by Hakeem Adbul-Saboor.
Cumberland’s defense allowed only 366 yards, almost 150 yards below UVA-Wise’s average entering the contest.
Eads ended the contest 17-of-32 for 172 yards and two interceptions. The Bulldogs managed just 85 yards rushing on 32 carries.
CU travels to Belhaven Oct. 25 before returning to Lebanon for a three-game homestand to end the regular season.