Defense picks off 3 passes -
LEBANON -- Cumberland's Telvin Rucker scored a pair of touchdowns and the defense picked off three passes to lead the Phoenix to a 14-6 season opening win over Cincinnati Christian Saturday afternoon at sun-splashed Nokes-Lasater field.
"Our defense was unbelievable. If we play like that every week, we're in every ballgame," said CU head coach Tim Mathis.
"The three takeaways were clutch. (Linebacker) Cole Hill's interception off a tip was amazing. He's just got a knack for being around the football.
Defensive backs Tyler Martin-Miles and Tony Bennett each picked off Cincinnati Christian aerials, Martin-Miles ran his back for a score that was negated due to an illegal block and Bennett's came in the end zone.
The defensive unit allowed only 171 yards sand one score to Cincinnati Christian (1-1).
CU (1-0) piled up 253 yards rushing on 60 attempts as eight different players carried the ball.
Freshman Treylon Shepard, who led the entire state of Georgia in rushing last season, took top honors with 79 yards on 14 carries.
Rucker added 75 yards on 19 attempts and Kris Parker thundered for 55 yards on nine tries.
Quarterback Joseph Rushin finished with 28 yards on 10 carries, but had a huge first down run off left tackle to help run out the clock.
Rushin completed 5-of-11 passes for 50 yards with a pair of drops.
All told, Cumberland compiled 303 yards of total offense on 71 snaps.
Kevin McKenzie, Martin-Miles, and Jon Carrothers shared the lead for tackles at 3.5 each.
CCU quarterback Derek Taylor was 11-of-17 on the day for 107 yards with three interceptions.
Eagle running back Adam Sanders ran for 46 yards on 12 carries and the lone Eagles score.
Cumberland dominated the time of possession, holding on to the ball for 39:04 of the game.
CU was able to get 21 first downs and convert 7-of-15 third down tries.
"Now that we've got a game under our belt, we've got some things we can work on, things we've seen on film," Coach Mathis said.
"Going in to the first game, there's always a bunch of unknowns. Now we know what we need to correct because we had the opportunity to play someone else."
The Phoenix hit the road Saturday, Sept. 14 to take on MSC newcomer Thomas More in Crestview Hills, Ky.
The game is scheduled for a 12:30 CT kickoff.