Defense wins games, and during their Homecoming Game on Nov. 12 against Cumberland University, the ETSU football team displayed this well.
The first half brought excitement as Cumberland entered the game showing that they would not be an easy homecoming opponent.
Cumberland scored on their opening drive when redshirt senior quarterback Justin Snyder completed a 13-yard run to give the Phoenix the advantage. About four minutes later, the Bucs responded in their opening drive after gaining good field position on the 1-yard line. Tailback Jajuan Stinson (Knoxville, Tenn.) finished it off and rushed in the end zone for a touchdown.
Stinson went on to finish with 143 all-purpose yards including the game-high 114 yards rushing.
Quarter two had the ETSU fans on their feet. Cumberland scored first again at the start of the quarter but ETSU went on to outscore the Phoenix 16-8 before halftime.
The second half was nothing but defense. Neither team could score as each defense made it tough to get a first down. Key moments in the second half came in the third quarter when the Bucs stopped two plays on fourth down.
Austin Gatewood caused the first turnover on downs at the ETSU 44 yard line, and teammates Paul Hunter (Denton, Texas) and Ryan Powers (Jupiter, Fla.) had pass break ups to stop Cumberland’s drive at the five-yard line.
“You just have to make those plays and good teams make those plays,” Gatewood said.
The Bucs defeated Cumberland, 23-16.
“We found a way to win, and it’s always better to be on the winning side of a Homecoming game,” said Head Coach Carl Torbush. “We had a great crowd today and it was nice to have former players back in town. I am proud of our team to get the win, especially on Homecoming, because it’s important to the fans, former players and all of us.”
The Bucs will play their final game of the season next Saturday, Nov. 19 at Kermit Tipton Stadium against Samford. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m.