Coming off a lopsided loss to the Tennessee Vols, the Bucs traveled to VMI looking for their first road win of the season. One player needing a solid performance for the Bucs was quarterback Logan Marchi (Winsted, Connecticut) who threw two interceptions a week ago.
“We are coming into this game much more mature than last time we played,” Matt Pyke (Clinton, Tennessee) said.
The Bucs beat the Keydets in Johnson City last year, 24-6.
“I feel like because they did not have a good record at the time, we were looking at the next week,” Nasir Player (Columbia, South Carolina) said. “We know we can’t do that this year.”
The Bucs got on the board early, scoring a touchdown in the first quarter a couple minutes into the game. The score was made by Quan Harrison (Greeneville, Tennessee) on a 69-yard punt return.
For the Bucs, their offense could not get going especially passing on third down. Despite the struggles, the Bucs offense was able to prevent VMI from scoring.
However, one minute into the second quarter, VMI found the end zone on a one-yard rushing touchdown. That was followed by a Marchi pick six eight seconds later to give VMI a 14-7 lead over the Bucs. JJ Jerman (Seymour, Tennessee) was able to bring the VMI lead to four connecting on a 25-yard field goal with under five minutes to go. The Bucs trailed 14-10 until with less than two minutes to go VMI scored a field goal to go up 17-10. Jerman connected on a 19-yard field goal to bring the score to 17-13.
Under 12 minutes to go in the third quarter Marchi got the Bucs a three-point lead scoring on a 19-yard rushing touchdown to give the Bucs a 20-17 lead. VMI responded with a touchdown of their own scoring on a one-yard pass to give VMI a 24-20 lead. With one quarter to win, the Bucs made the most of their opportunity when Quay Holmes scored a two-yard touchdown with under 12 minutes to play. The Holmes touchdown gave the Bucs a 27-24 lead that they finished the game with. With the win, the Bucs improve 2-1 on the season and start conference play 1-0.
“We’re not at a point where we can assume anything or think any game is going to be easy,” head coach Randy Sanders said. “We better show up and be ready to play every week, and that’s our challenge –– to show up and play a game this week.”
The Bucs defense was able to force five turnovers in the win over VMI four of the five were interceptions. The offense, however, gave the ball away four times.
ETSU returns home Saturday, Sept. 22, taking on Furman at 7:30 p.m.