Phoenix ranked No. 23 in NAIA --
It's a good thing Monday ws a scheduled off-day for the 3-0 Cumberland football program.
Coming off a nearly 18-hour round trip to Laurinberg, NC and pulling out a narrow 24-22 victory over Mid-South Conference newcomer St. Andrews University Saturday, the guys needed a little recovery time.
Leading 17-6 midway through the second quarter following a 43-yard field goal from Mt. Juliet's Robbie Brewington, No. 23 ranked CU was out-scored 13-9 the rest of the way by the Knights who fell to 0-2 on the season.
"It was tough," said Cumberland head coach Tim Mathis. "With their option game, it was like us playing us. But when we played assignment football, St. Andrews didn't do very well.
"There late SAU got us with their spread passing game and they made a couple of great catches to set up that last score.
"But when we needed a score, by gosh, we went down the field and scored. We've got to continue to improve but the kids played great."
Cumberland QB Joseph Rushin carried the ball 12 times for 11 yards and one touchdown as well as going 7-of-11 for 59 yards through the air and one touchdown.
Eight different CU players got carries to spread out the work load.
Telvin Rucker ran 10 times for 41 yards and a touchdown. Kendall Johnson had six touches for 40 yards and posted two receptions for eight yards.
Chris Gatewood picked up six touches for 29 yards while Ian Hafner recorded one catch for 17 yards and a touchdown.
Hafner's grab came on a perfectly thrown fade from Rushin with 9:52 left in the contest to take the lead 24-15.
The Phoenix offense ran for 203 yards and had 262 yards of total offense.
Both offenses were able to hold onto the ball as neither team had a turnover, but the Cumberland defense was able to play well enough to hold off the Knights.
The Cumberland defense held the St Andrews' offense to 3-of-11 on third down and collected four sacks as a team.
Jace Capps had two big third down sacks, forcing the Knights into a punting a situations.
Linebacker Tyler Tate recorded 10 total tackles along with one sack.
St. Andrews (0-2) used two quarterbacks throughout the game.
Dashaun Fergeson was the offensive catalyst for the Knights as he went 7-of-16 passing for 86 yards ran for 106 yards.
Andrew Fowlder finished 2-of-3 passing for 73 yards and a touchdown. Jermaine Trotman Jr. reeled in four catches for 82 yards.
NAIA Poll --
With the victory, the undefeated Phoenix moved up to No. 23 in the latest NAIA Coaches Poll released Monday by the national office.
The Mid-South Conference is well represented in the NAIA Top 25 with 4-0 Lindsey Wilson leading the way in 11th place.
University of the Cumberlands (2-0) is ranked 13th, Reinhardt (3-1) is ranked 14th, Southeastern (3-1) is in 15th place, Bethel (2-1 is in 17th place and this week's opponent Keiser University entered the Top 25 in 24th place with a record of 2-0.
This week's foe -
Keiser University, headquartered in West Palm Beach, is a member of the MSC's Sun Division and is fresh off a 14-12 home win over then-8th ranked Reinhardt.
Saturday's kickoff is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. at Nokes-Lasater Field.
Live radio coverage begins at 1 p.m. on WANT FM -98.9.