Coming from a tough loss to Furman, the Bucs look to correct things going into Thursday’s “Blue Out” game against West Virginia Wesleyan.
The Bucs gave up big plays against Furman, allowing the Paladins to score on their first eight possessions of the game. These eight drives put together Furman’s 52 commanding points over the Bucs’ 7.
“One of the main things, I think, is we have to run more positive plays and get ahead of the chains,” said Matt Thompson (Morristown, Tenn.), who scored the touchdown for the Bucs. “We have been putting ourselves in bad situations on first and second down, which puts us in third-and-long situations, and it’s harder to move the chains when there’s pressure coming to the quarterback. I feel like we can correct these things. We’ve been working hard in practice, getting back to the basics, and I think everything will improve.”
Four of Furman’s seven touchdowns came off passing. In their 511 yards of total offense, 313 yards came from passing, 267 of those passing yards were from senior quarterback Reese Hannon.
“One great thing about my age and how many years I’ve been in college coaching is that I’ve been there done that,” said ETSU Head Coach Carl Torbush. “I’ve been through all of this before. I know if we do things right, continue to stay focused and make sure our players stay together as a team, then eventually good things will happen to us.”
The Bucs are currently 2-4 and are on a four game losing streak.
“We just have to keep our head on straight and continue working hard,” said Adam Mullins (Elizabethton, Tenn). “This is a process. We need to remain confident and stay focused.”
On Thursday, the Bucs hit the field against West Virginia Wesleyan. It’s a different feeling for the Bucs as they play on a Thursday night instead of a regular Saturday show down. Practice days this week were sped up just a tad to get everything done prior to Thursday’s game.
“Our players responded to it very well,” Torbush said. “I think what we have to do right now is stay consistent.”
West Virginia Wesleyan is entering the game 2-5 coming off a 21-20 win at Urbana.
A leader for the Bobcats, senior all-conference tailback Michael Anderson (Elkridge, Md.), brings 1,073 rushing yards (avg. 153.3) to the table with eight touchdowns. He accounts for 1,213 of 2,558 offensive yards and half of the team’s touchdowns with nine.
Their quarterback, junior Ryan Deal (Hughesville, Md.), has thrown 51.7% with 1,410 yards and nine touchdowns.
Deal has also thrown eight interceptions this season and the team as a whole this year have had nine interceptions and eight fumbles.
Anderson leads the conference in rushing and all-purpose yards with 173.3.
On defense, Kevin Pharaon (Silver Spring, Md.) has 8.5 sacks of the teams’ 17 and leads the conference in sacks and Jabari Weems (Baltimore, Md.) is the conference leader in interceptions.
“West Virginia has a very solid football team,” Torbush said. “But this week is not about West Virginia Wesleyan, it’s about ETSU, and for us to get done what we need to get done, we need to show great improvement, excitement and a great crowd.”
Kickoff is set for 7:30 pm.