To cap off the Vols vs ETSU historic week, the Bucs football team traveled to Neyland Stadium with an attendance of 96,464 fans. Coming off a win a week before, the Bucs now faced a whole new challenge competing against an SEC team. A weather delay early in the game breathed new life in the Vols as they scored 28 straight points en route to a 59-3 victory.
After a slow start from both teams offensively, the Vols scored first on a field goal to give them a 3-0 lead.
The Bucs offense struggled to get past half field resulting in punts. That was going well since it made the Vols work to score on offense. That was until with 2:49 remaining in the first quarter when the Bucs punt was blocked and returned for a touchdown by Vols Marquill Osborne (Cornelius, North Carolina). The Vols ended the first quarter leading 10-0.
After a weather delay of 48 minutes, the Vols scored on six plays for 82 yards to give them a 17-0 lead. Followed by an interception on the Bucs following drive to set the Vols up on the one-yard line to go up 24-0.
“You have to give East Tennessee State credit, they gave a bunch of different looks and stemmed around,” Vols Head Coach Jeremy Pruitt said. “They played hard, and at the end of the first quarter we had eight rush attempts for negative-1 yard.”
For the Bucs, the damage didn’t end there as the following drive Logan Marchi’s pass was intercepted for a touchdown by Darrin Kirkland Jr. (Indianapolis, Indiana). The Vols didn’t stop there after forcing a punt, the Vols converted on a reverse play to go up 38-0 with three minutes to go in the first half.
“It’s always a fun time for the defense to get a turnover, and if they get a turnover, it’s probably putting us closer to the end zone,” Vols receiver Marquez Callaway said. “Also, any time they can help us, you know we work together, so we help them and they help us.”
ETSU head coach Randy Sanders understood the difficulty his team faced.
“We knew from an offensive standpoint it was gonna be a tall task; that’s just where we are,” Sanders said.
The Vols continued to dominate at the line of scrimmage with a 45-0 lead after their first drive of the second half. The Bucs got on the board with a 39-yard field goal by JJ Jerman.
The Vols continued to dominate, winning 59-3. With the loss, the Bucs look to build on their experience in Neyland Stadium.
“We set our four primary goals before the season started,” Sanders said. “This game could have helped us achieved one of them, but it wasn’t going to prevent us from achieving any of the four.”