The ETSU football team delivered quite the defensive performance in the much-anticipated season opener as ETSU toppled Southern Conference foe Samford last Saturday by the score of 24-17 inside William B. Greene, Jr. Stadium.
The Bucs overcame a 14-0 deficit in the first quarter, outscoring the Bulldogs 24-3 in the final 45 minutes of play. The victory over Samford halted ETSU’s three-game skid against the Bulldogs.
Samford scored on its first two drives of the game, quickly building a 14-0 advantage over the home squad. The Bucs were able to crack the scoreboard with five seconds left in the opening half as Quay Holmes punched in a 1-yard touchdown run to trim the deficit to 14-7.
Holmes was back at it again in the third quarter, finishing off another drive with a 1-yard run to tie the game at 14. Holmes’ touchdown was set up by a 59-yard punt return from Alijah Huzzie and 30 yards rushing from Jacob Saylors.
With the score tied at 17 in the fourth quarter, ETSU’s defense halted Samford’s offense on back-to-back drives, putting the ball back in the offense’s hands with 6:21 left to play. Three plays later, the Bucs claimed their first lead of the contest after Tyler Riddell found Juliun Lane-Price for a 59-yard strike. The touchdown reception was the first for Lane-Price as he put the Bucs on top 24-17.
With 16 seconds left in the game, Samford had moved into ETSU territory, but the Buccaneer defense slammed the door as Jalen Porter tipped the pass and Donovan Manuel came down with the game-sealing interception. Manuel’s interception allowed the Bucs to line up in victory formation, securing the win in front of the home faithful.