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Turnovers plague UNA in their conference opening loss to Campbell

With North Alabama trying to add to a 17-point lead in the final minute of the first half, Campbell blocked a field goal attempt by the Lions and won 48-31.
Credit: wzdx

FLORENCE, Ala. — With North Alabama trying to add to a 17-point lead in the final minute of the first half, Campbell blocked a field goal attempt by the Lions and eventually scored a touchdown that flipped the game from a 24-7 UNA lead to a 48-31 win for the Camels.

After scoring a TD on the final play of the half, Campbell scored on its first three possessions of the second half and added two fumble returns for touchdowns in the win.

Although North Alabama is now 0-5 overall, the Lions have held leads late in the third quarter of four games this season.

The game was also the first official Big South Conference game for the Lions, who fall to 0-1 in league play.

Campbell is now 2-2 overall and 1-0 in the Big South.

North Alabama finished with 491 total yards to 517 yards for the Camels, but the two fumble returns for scores and blocked kick that resulted in a score made the difference.

UNA quarterback Rett Files completed 30 of 45 passes for 367 yards and three touchdowns. Dexter Boykin led the receiving corp with seven catches for 112 yards and two TDs.

Campbell found the end zone on its opening possession, marching 72 yards in six plays. Jalen Kelsey pulled in a 50-yard touchdown pass from Hajj-Malik Williams with 8:29 left in the first quarter. Isaac Riffle added the extra point to give the Camels at 7-0 lead.

UNA answered with a nine-play, 75-yard drive to tie the game. Jaxton Carson scored on a nine-yard run and Grayson Easterling added the PAT to make it 7-7 at 4:50 of the period.

Following a Wallace Cowins fumble recovery, the Lions added a 20-yard Easterling field goal to make it 10-7 at 14:58 of the second quarter.

A Jonathan Jordan interception set up the Lions next score as UNA drove 57 yards in four plays to the end zone. Rett Files hit Dexter Boykin with a 51-yard TD pass and Easterling's PAT made it 17-7 with 12:25 left in the hale.

Cortez Hall pulled in a 12-yard touchdown pass from Files to extend the lead to 24-7 with 5:58 left in the half.

With UNA attempting a 50-yard field goal in the final minute of the half, Campell blocked the kick and eventually scored on the last pay of the half on a one-yard TD run by Bryant Barr to cut UNA's lead to 24-14 at intermission.

Campbell got even closer on its first possession of the second half as Caleb Snead caught a 52-yard touchdown pass from Wiley Hartley and the PAT made it 24-21 at 11:16 of the third quarter.

After a defensive stop, the Camels took the lead on a 14-yard pass from Hartley to R.J. Jackson at the 4:27 mark of the third quarter. Riffle's PAT gave Campbell a 28-24 advantage.

Darion Slade returned a UNA fumble 25-yards for a touchdown on the next series but the Lions' Micah Bland blocked the PAT to make it 34-24 with 4:17 remaining in the third. The return marked the fifth straight game this season that the Lions have allowed a defensive score, and it was the sixth overall defensive TD allowed.

A 13-yard pass from Hartley to Snead with 13:02 left in the game and the PAT extended Campbell's lead to 41-24.

A D.J. Jackson fumble return for TD pushed Campbell's lead to 48-24 with 12:09 left in the game.

UNA got a 12-yard touchdown pass from Files to Boykin at the 7:01 mark of the fourth quarter to make it 48-31.

North Alabama travels to North Carolina A&T for another Big South Conference game on October 9 in Greensboro, N.C.