The Bucs are headed to their final chance to get a win on the road this season.
On Saturday, the ETSU football team will battle against Gardner-Webb University in Boiling Springs, North Carolina.
The Bucs are leaving behind a tough loss to Robert Morris that didn’t go well for the Bucs in the final three minutes. The Bucs were defeated by Robert Morris, 21-9.
“[There are] too many ‘what ifs’,” said coach Carl Torbush. “We had a legitimate chance to win at the end of the game; that’s what we’ve been looking for, and we just didn’t get it done. We have to learn how to win and get ahead of them in a close ball game and keep the lead and get out of the ball game.”
Two players performed well in the game against Robert Morris last Saturday.
Austin Gatewood (Ooltewah, Tenn.) was the defensive player of the game against Robert Morris.
Gatewood recorded season highs in tackles-for-loss with 3.5 and sacks with 2.5. He also finished with eight tackles and forced one of the two fumble recoveries made by the Bucs.
“The defensive line have been doing a great job these past couple of weeks,” said Gatewood. “They all have been working hard in practice every week. They free us up to help us inside and [allow] outside linebackers to make plays.”
Hunter Wike is one of the top five receivers for the Bucs so far this season.
“Part of the reason I came to ETSU was based on the Roan Scholarship program,” said Wike. “It’s a great scholarship that I’m blessed to be a part of. It’s been great to be a part of that and the football team and being able to develop as a person and a student.”
This Saturday, the Bucs will take on the Gardner-Webb Runnin’ Bulldogs, a team that plays similarly to Robert Morris.
The Bulldogs have played two common opponents of ETSU. They lost to Kennesaw State, 12-7, and they lost to Charleston Southern, 34-0.
Gardner-Webb has been shut out in three of its nine games and was held to 13 points or less in three games. As a team, Gardner-Webb had 12 overall offensive touchdowns.
“They’ve played some good football teams,” said Torbush. “They’re 3-6 right now, with a little more production on offense. They’re a very well coached football team. Carroll McCray, I’ve known him since I was about 25 years old, and he does a great job. He has great staff and [is] blessed with good athletes.”
Gardner-Webb is ranked in the top 10 in three-team FCS rankings. They rank seventh in third down conversion defense, ninth in passing yards allowed and ninth in red zone defense.
Also on defense, Gardner-Webb has senior nose guard O.J. Mau (Masefau, American Samoa), who earned many preseason honors.
Alongside Mau, the Bulldogs have four of the top seven players in the Big South rankings for tackles. These four are third place Chad Geter (Irmo, S.C.) with 8.9, fourth place Azziz Higgins (Snellville, Ga.) with 8.6, fifth place Tanner Burch (Savannah, Ga.) with 8.0 and seventh place Aaron Cook (Edgefield, S.C.) with 7.7.
“Gardner-Webb brings a great challenge to us,” said Torbush. “They have a really good defensive football team. They haven’t given up many points. Their defense line is really big, and they play really hard. I think they are similar to Robert Morris, and that is a compliment… Gardner-Webb plays from the beginning of the game until the end.”
Kickoff this Saturday is set for 1:30 p.m. at Spangler Stadium.