After coming off a tough loss to Robert Morris, letting the game get away from them in the final three minutes, the Bucs looked for redemption coming into the game against the Gardner-Webb Runnin’ Bulldogs.
The ETSU football team traveled to Boiling Springs, North Carolina, to take on the Bulldogs on Saturday. The Bucs could not get things going in the start of the game, resulting in a 28-3 loss.
The game began with a kickoff by ETSU to start Gardner-Webb on the GWU 19 yard line. Gardner-Webb ran the ball several times in their first drive but were forced to kick a 25 yard field goal after 15 plays. The field goal attempt was missed by GWU kicker Paul Schumacher (West Palm Beach, Fla.).
ETSU couldn’t get much done on its first drive, leaving the field after only three plays. Just like their first drive, it only took 15 yards before the Runnin’ Bulldogs achieved the first touchdown of the game. Jonathan Blackmon (Fayetteville, N.C.) ran the ball two yards into the end zone. ETSU was unable to respond, leaving the score at 7-0 at the end of the first quarter.
The Bucs continued their drive going into the second quarter. Six plays from the start of the second quarter, JJ Jerman (Seymour, Tenn.) kicked a 34-yard field goal, bringing the score to 7-3. The possessions went back and forth before Gardner-Webb scored another touchdown on a 5-yard run by Tyrell Maxwell (Cordova, S.C.).
With 32 seconds left in the half, the Runnin’ Bulldogs added more points to the board when Maxwell completed a pass to Mike Estes (Raleigh, N.C.) for 7 yards. The Bucs trailed 21-3 going into halftime.
There were five penalties in the third quarter. Neither team could find a way to score, and Gardner-Webb held onto a 21-3 lead.
As the final quarter started, Gardner-Webb kept possession. It only took seven plays before Maxwell completed a 34-yard pass to W Jackson IV for a touchdown.
Momentum had the chance to change when freshman Keanu James (Dacula, Ga.) achieved his first interception of the year as he picked off Brody Rollins (Knoxville, Tenn.) at the ETSU 27 yard line. The Bucs were unable to get the ball rolling, and the game ended with a score of 28-3.
The Runnin’ Bulldogs gave ETSU its hardest challenge all year offensively. The Bucs were only able to run 46 offensive plays for 126 yards. This is the second game this season that the Bucs were unable to score a touchdown.
“They are a well-coached team and have an outstanding defense,” said coach Carl Torbush. “Their defense is what has carried them all year long, but their quarterback did a really nice job on offense today. They have experienced players on defense, and their quarterback is a competitor. He made some big plays when they needed them.”
Despite not being able to control Maxwell’s 268 yards, ETSU gave a good defensive contribution. River Boruff (Sparta, Tenn.) and Dylan Weigel (Pickerington, Ohio) combined for 33 tackles, and Tony Welch (Pickerington, Ohio) added his season-high of 15 tackles.
“Our defensive line played very well today,” said Boruff. “Dylan and I were able to feed off them and barely got blocked from their linemen today.”
The Bucs will remain home this Saturday to play in their final game of the season. After the game against Gardner-Webb, the team is now 1-9 coming into the game against Kentucky Wesleyan.
Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. at Kermit Tipton Stadium.