The Bucs came into homecoming weekend with a 4-1 record and at the top of the Southern Conference. Their opponent would be the Gardner-Webb Bulldogs, a team that has struggled this season, but head coach Randy Sanders said they were better than their record suggested. The Bucs wowed the sold-out crowd, blasting the Bulldogs 45-0.
The Bucs got on the board first with under 11 minutes remaining when redshirt-freshman Quay Homles (Powder Springs, Georgia) scored on a two-yard touchdown run to give the Bucs an early 7-0 lead over Gardner-Webb. The Bucs defense was able to hold Gardner-Webb scoreless in the first quarter and held them to one-yard total as an offense.
Offensively for the Bucs, they were sharp. Bucs quarterback Austin Herink (Cleveland, Tennessee) finished the first quarter completing 9-11 passes for 85-yards. In just that quarter, the Bucs controlled the clock for over 10 minutes.
The Bucs went on the board early in the second quarter when JJ Jerman (Seymour, Tennessee) converted a 23-yard field goal to give the Bucs a 10-0 lead.
Holmes’ hard running allowed him to run in his second touchdown of the game for 11-yards and gave the Bucs a 17-0 lead with under five minutes remaining in the first half. The Bucs ended the first half only allowing 59-yards defensively. On offense, the Bucs accounted for 252 yards.
“We both bring a different style, so it makes it tough for defenses,” said Holmes.
After causing a fumble with under eight minutes remaining, the Bucs were set to start with the ball at the 37-yard line.
Jacob Saylors (Jasper, Tennessee) made quick use to the field position, popping a run for a 37-yard touchdown. The score gave the Bucs a 24-0 lead. The Bucs did not stop there as Homles rushed for his third touchdown of the game, matching the team’s last season total. The score gave the Bucs a commanding 31-0 lead with under four minutes to play in the third quarter.
“Both Quay and Jacob have different styles,” Sanders said. As long as they don’t fumble, I’m happy. I’m excited to be 5-1, but we’re not where we need to be yet.”
Matt Thompson (Morristown, Tennessee) got in on the rushing scoring action as he ran for a five-yard touchdown run to give the Bucs a 38-0 lead with under seven minutes remaining in the game.
The Bucs defense was solid in the second half despite Gardner-Webb doing well to make plays running the ball a bit in the fourth quarter. After a defensive touchdown by ETSU’s Titus Tucker (Lenoir, North Carolina), the Bucs were set at the one-yard line. That led to a one-yard touchdown by Saylors to bring the Bucs lead to 45-0.
The Bucs shutout win is the first since 2003 and scored the most points in William B. Greene stadium history. With the win, the Bucs improve to 5-1 on the season.
“Austin and Logan are doing a good job of making decisions,” Sanders said. “I told the guys Sunday this game would be the game to see where we were mentally.”
Holmes and Saylors both ran for over 100 yards.