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Tusculum Athletics | September 5, 2014

Tusculum defense sets yardage records

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. -- Tusculum's defense established three NCAA records, while the offense posted the fourth highest point total in school history as the Pioneers blanked the College of Faith 71-0 Thursday night at Pioneer Field.

Tusculum (1-0) limited the Saints (0-2) to -124 rushing yards, which breaks the NCAA all-divisions mark of -112 established by NCAA Division III Coast Guard against Wesleyan in 1989. TC also held the College of Faith to -100 total yards for the game, smashing the NCAA all-divisions record of -69 yards, set by NCAA Division II Fort Valley State versus Miles in 1993.

The Tusculum defense also tied a NCAA Division II single-game record by recording three safeties on the evening, tying Fort Valley’s mark posted against Miles in that 1993 meeting.

Redshirt freshman kicker Jose Esparza also totaled 11 points on the evening for Tusculum with his eight extra points and one field goal.

In his first collegiate start, redshirt freshman quarterback Malcolm Pendergrass passed for three touchdowns in the first half, including twice to senior Johnathan Diliberto and once to Wesley Powell.

Tusculum also got touchdown runs by senior quarterback Kyle Dickey and running backs Fernando Smith, Joe Ledet,D.J. Haney and Justin Ware.

Lyons, Marlon Joyner and Ahlija Blake each finished with three tackles for loss apiece in the victory.

Defensively, Matt Simon and Darien Crank led the Pioneers with six tackles each, while Cameron Thomas, Caushaud Lyons and Quez Gaines finished with five stops apiece.

Tusculum jumped out to a 23-0 lead in the opening six minutes of the contest, including Justin Houston’s 65-yard return on the opening kickoff. It marked the second time in as many seasons that the TC junior has returned a kickoff for a score to start a game (he returned a TC-record 99-yarder vs. Wingate in 2013).

Pendergrass went 9-for-14 for 96 yards, while also rushing for 27 yards on five carries in his two quarters of action. Diliberto finished the night with three receptions for 62 yards, including a 37-yard strike from Pendergrass for TC’s second score of the game.

Travis Singleton went 7-for-12 from 24 passing yards for the College of Faith. The Saints’ Dushawn Davis led all players with seven tackles in the contest.

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