Rashan Kennedy rushed for 129 yards and a pair of touchdowns and quarterback Matt Evans threw for 126 yards, but it was UNCP’s defense that dominated on Saturday, September 8, to help the Braves notch their first win since 1950.
Braves take the field
UNCP won 26-20 over visiting Pride of Greensboro College in a hotly contested game on Lumbee Guaranty Bank Field.
UNCP’s defense registered four sacks, 12 tackles for loss and five interceptions to offset a shaky day from the special teams. They held the Pride to just 234 yards of total offense in front of a record 4,209 fans that made their way to Pembroke for the home opener.
Rashan Kennedy breaks free for a touchdown in the 3rd quarter
Kennedy turned in his second-straight 100-yard day with a gem of a performance. Receivers Al Bryant and Tim McCaskill accounted for 74 yards through the air.
Defensively, the Braves got interceptions from five different players, including J.T. McCoy who matched a season best with 11 solo tackles as well. True freshman Ben Kurti turned in five tackles and two sacks.
“I wanted our team to play well, and I was really happy that we scored more points than them today, even though we had to be creative in doing that,” said UNCP head coach Pete Shinnick. “I am very happy for our team and I am very happy for UNCP. A lot of people put a lot of hard work into this thing for us to be here and to be at this point.”
Jaylen Winston, 10 months, shows his tailgating style with parents Ebony Terry and Corey Winston looking on.
After both teams went scoreless in the first quarter, the Braves used a Seth Warren interception and 29-yard return to put the first points on the board. Evans did the dirty work four plays later, plunging over the pile into the end zone for a 7-0 lead.
Greensboro’s nine-play, 45-yard effort on the ensuing possession would stall, but the Pride caught a break a short time later when James Gentry blocked Justin Hinson’s punt attempt, recovered the ball and ran 13 yards to tie the score.
The visitors took a 10-7 lead into the break on Chris Palme’s 19-yard field goal just before the half.
Kennedy’s 30-yard touchdown gallop midway through the third period put the Braves on top again, but Greensboro engineered a 39-yard drive on the ensuing possession and tied the score again on Palme’s 32-yard chip shot.
The Braves put things away in the fourth quarter, however with 13 more points on 102 yards total offense and a pair of interceptions. They held the Pride to just 64 yards.
UNCP (1-1) will close out a two-game home stand on September 15 with Wingate University (3-0). Kick-off is 1 p.m. on Lumbee Guaranty Bank Field.
All 2,930 seats have been sold out for the contest, but a limited number of standing room only tickets will be available at the gate.
Keith Farrington picks up a short gain in traffic
UNCP’s defense controlled the line of scrimmage