GREENEVILLE — Big numbers were the name of the game in the Tusculum football team's season-opening victory over College of Faith on Thursday night at Pioneer Field.
The Pioneers won 63-0 behind a defense that forced seven turnovers and an offense that churned out 454 yards.
Quarterback Bo Cordell threw four touchdowns in the opening half, going 11-for-12 for 182 yards. His favorite target was Johnathan Diliberto, who had six catches for 90 yards and tied a Tusculum single-game record with three touchdown catches in the first half.
Tusculum outrushed the Saints 251-40. Reco Jones and Shane Patterson rushed for 55 yards each, and Tre’ Rogers accounted for 48 yards and six carries. Isaac Robinson had four carries for 46 yards and Fernando Smith rushed seven times for 42 yards and a TD.
Junior placekicker Logan Cornelius matched a school record book by going 9-of-9 on extra point attempts.
Pioneers junior Darien Crank made two interceptions on the night, including one on the opening possession of the game that he returned for a 44-yard touchdown. Tusculum closed with four fumble recoveries and three interceptions.
Dominic James and Dustin Lane led the Pioneers with five tackles each. Mike Mosah finished with four tackles and forced a fumble.
The teams agreed to a continuous running clock in the second half. Following a scoreless third quarter, Tusculum added two more scores in the final period. Bryce Whaley hauled in his first collegiate touchdown on a 17-yard completion by Kyle Dickey. Kaytron Becton returned a punt 55 yards for a touchdown with 7:59 left in the game.
Thursday's game was Cordell's 11th with four or more passing touchdowns, giving him 91 for his career. He became the second player in NCAA Division II history to surpass the 1,100 completions plateau in his career. He has 1,109 completions to date, which are just 11 shy of the D-II record.
Tusculum returns to action Sept. 14 when the Pioneers host Elizabeth City State for a 1:30 p.m. game.