After winning its first game of the season last weekend against Warner University, the ETSU football team traveled to Pittsburgh to face Robert Morris on Saturday in hopes of getting its second win of the season and its first win on the road.
Mistakes in the second half led the Bucs to fall short 21-9 against the Colonials.
ETSU’s JJ Jerman (Seymour, Tenn.) started the game with a 48-yard kickoff down the field.
Robert Morris began its drive but only stayed on the field for seven plays.
The Bucs had a hard time getting things started. They were only on the field for three plays before punting the ball to Robert Morris, but the Colonials did the same.
The Bucs began to pick things up and got more plays going. Despite the drives switching left and right, neither team was able to score in the first quarter.
The second quarter continued with ETSU on offense. The Bucs put the first points on the board after Jerman’s field goal attempt was good, giving ETSU a 3-0 lead.
Robert Morris still had trouble getting things started in the first half, but the Bucs did not let up.
Jerman completed another field goal in the second quarter, bringing ETSU’s lead to 6-0.
Near the end of the second quarter, Robert Morris’ Matthew Barr (Troy, Ohio) completed a 5-yard pass to Craig Thompson (Oakdale, Pa.) for a touchdown.
The Colonials led 7-6 going into halftime.
After halftime, the Bucs received the ball to start the third quarter. The offense for both teams couldn’t do much at the beginning of this quarter until Jerman kicked his third field goal attempt of the game, giving the Bucs three more points and a 9-7 lead.
The rest of the third quarter was silent as ETSU did not score again and Robert Morris was without a score.
Despite the field goals, the Bucs struggled to get yards. Quarterbacks Austin Herink (Cleveland, Tenn.) and Nick Sexton (Seymour, Tenn.) combined for 14 on 32 attempts on passing. At the end of the game, the Bucs only had 236 yards in total offense.
“They had really good defense,” said Herink. “They created a lot of problems up front and in the secondary. We knew this could be a low scoring game, and that’s what it was. I think we competed really hard the entire game.”
Excitement and tension built in the fourth quarter. The game could have gone to either team at many points in this final quarter.
The Colonials had ball at the beginning of the quarter, but a forced fumble by ETSU’s Tavian Lott (Arlington, Tenn.) was recovered by Keanu James (Dacula, Ga.), giving ETSU possession.
The Bucs continued to lead by two until a little over three minutes remained in the quarter.
Robert Morris’ Barr completed a pass to Kyle Buss (Mechanicville, N.Y.) for 84 yards, giving the Colonials a 149 lead.
The Bucs were unable to respond, and a little over a minute before the quarter ended, Robert Morris’ Cole Blake (Crescent, Pa.) ran 12 yards to the end zone, giving the Colonials a 21-9 lead to end the game.
On defense, freshman linebacker Austin Gatewood (Ooltewah, Tenn.) made a big statement, achieving eight tackles, two and a half sacks and one forced fumble.
“I was trying to help the team out by flying around and making plays to get the offense back on the field,” said Gatewood. “It felt good to get the sacks and tackles, but this one hurts. We had a chance to pull out a win, but the big plays hurt us.”
The Bucs will play their last away game of the season this Saturday at 1:30 p.m. against Gardner-Webb in Boiling Springs, North Carolina.
“I’m very, very proud of our team,” said coach Carl Torbush. “For three and a half quarters, we looked like a solid football team. This is a game we felt like going in we had a chance to win. We didn’t get it done.”