The ETSU football team continues to improve from last season, and their spring game Saturday was proof of that.
The offense looks much improved. The Bucs’ air attack was on full display, with 388 of their total offense by passing.
Sophomore quarterbacks Austin Herink (Cleveland, Tenn.) and Nick Sexton (Seymour, Tenn.) combined to connect on 27 of their 40 pass attempts on the afternoon, completing 68 percent. Both quarterbacks also threw a touchdown pass each.
Herink showed his quick decision making, something he needed to improve on after his freshman campaign. Sexton was very good at escaping pressure and finding receivers in open space.
Freshman quarterback Dylan Wieger (Kingsport, Tenn.) gave Buccaneer fans a good first impression of why he’s in the quarterback competition, completing four of his seven pass attempts for 44 yards. Most importantly, he showed athleticism escaping tackles and making plays out of the pocket.
The Bucs’ running game was carried by transfer Matt Thompson (Morristown, Tenn.) and Cory Colder (Ashburn, Va.), who both had rushing touchdowns for the Bucs.
Transfer receiver Vincent Lowe (Chesapeake, Va.) made his presence felt in the spring game. He was the top target of Herink and Sexton. He caught six receptions for 73 yards and a touchdown.
The passing was spread out to multiple receivers such as Hunter Wike (Canton, N.C.) and Hank Black (Knoxville, Tenn.). They were threats in the passing game as they both caught four passes.
Wike finished with 36 receiving yards, while Black finished with 19 yards and a touchdown. Receiver Malik Styles (Dandridge, Tenn.) also finished with three catches for 45 yards. The offensive line did a good job of giving the quarterbacks enough time to make throws.
The Bucs’ biggest improvement in the spring game was the corners’ improved tackling. The only real concern for the Bucs is tackling in space.
The Blue team (offense) battled back from an early 27-7 deficit in the second half to defeat the Gold team (defense). Freshman kicker Landon Kunak (Spartanburg, S.C.) made the game-winning field goal to pull off a 31-30 comeback in the Blue vs. Gold Spring Game.
The Bucs will start the 2016 season in the SoCon after being an FCS independent team a season ago. They will open the season on September 3 at Kennesaw State and will host Western Carolina in their SoCon opener on September 17 at Bristol Motor Speedway.