Photo by Tashieka Hammond
The UNCP defense has packed quite a punch over its last two games forcing six turnovers and scoring two touchdowns. Led by middle linebacker, John Stokes, and pass defense specialist, Troy Russell, the Braves will try and make it three wins in a row Oct. 13 against West Virginia Wesleyan.
Black and Gold defense leads Braves to consecutive victories
By Brad Crawford
Defense wins championships and the offense gets the glory.
Every football fan has heard this expression before.
UNCP’s recent back-to-back victories are an example of this fact and although the offense has looked promising, it looks as if the Black and Gold defense will soon be getting most of the publicity.
If there were any questions earlier this season about the Braves’ defense or lack thereof, those critics are hushed now as UNCP has forced six turnovers in two weeks including two defensive touchdowns.
After surrendering points per game in their first four contests, the Braves have given up just 20.5 points per game over the last two weeks, UNCP has allowed just 281 yards on average in wins against Chowan and Webber International.
Before the Braves’ mini-streak, the Black and Gold allowed 427 yards on average, going 1-3 during that span.
Both defensive touch-downs, one from cornerback Troy Russell and another from freshman defensive end Ben Kurti, have given UNCP a lead at crucial points in both games.Russell’s 29-yard intercep-tion return Oct. 6 against Webber International gave the Braves’ a 21-14 halftime lead, as the UNCP defense didn’t
allow a single point after intermission.
“Troy’s interception right before halftime was huge,” said UNCP head coach Pete Shinnick. “Our defense has picked up and began forcing turnovers.”
Coach Shinnick issued his own personal test to his team at halftime of the game against WIU.
“I really challenged them at halftime to hold the lead, and I was very pleased to see that happen,” said Shinnick.
Kurti’s fumble recovery in the endzone a week before spoiled Chowan’s homecoming as UNCP hung on to win 26-20.
Defense will continue to be key as the Braves continue their 11-game schedule Oct. 13 versus West Virginia Wesleyan at Lumbee Guaranty Bank Field.
The Black and Gold will try and notch their third consecutive win and kickoff is set for 1 p.m.