ETSU (2-2, 1-1 SoCon) vs. Appalachian State (2-1, 1-0 SoCon)
Memorial Center - Johnson City, Tenn.
National Leader ... Senior quarterback Todd Wells ranks 16th nationally (I-AA) in passing efficiency with a 145.49 mark ... Georgetowns David Paulus leads I-AA with a 184.4 passing efficiency ... Wells ranks 15th in total offense, averaging 265.2 yards per game ... Morehead States David Dinkins leads I-AA averaging 394.0 yards per game ... Wells leads the Southern Conference in both categories ... Cornerback Denario Smalls is tied for 14th in interceptions.
Southern Conference Leaders ... ETSU ranks third in the Southern Conference in passing offense (224.0 yards/game) ... The Bucs lead the Conference in pass efficiency (141.0) ... ETSU also leads in pass defense efficiency (109.8).
Coaching Connection ... Every game against Appalachian State means a little more to ETSU head coach Paul Hamilton ... Hamilton was a stand-out collegiate quarterback in Boone from 1978-81 ... The three-year letterwinner wore No. 4 and No. 12 as a Mountaineer ... Hamilton is 1-2 against App. State, winning 51-28 in 1997 and losing 22-17 in 1998 and 23-19 last season.
Special Teams Touchdown ... The Bucs first touchdown at Western Carolina came on a 31-yard return by Howard Nix following a Denario Smalls blocked punt ... It was the first time ETSU returned a blocked punt for a score since Nov. 16, 1996 when Derek Fudge accomplished the feat ... The #11-ranked Bucs won that game 28-24 at Chattanooga.
A Defensive Effort ... Four Bucs recorded 10-or-more tackles in the loss at Western Carolina (Sept. 23) ... Safety Keydrick Gordon led the team with a career-high 18 stops (eight solo) ... Gordon had 17 total tackles in the first three games ... Inside linebackers Cory Bolden (15 tackles, one for loss) and Rahim El Amin (14 tackles, four for loss, one sack) lead the team in tackles this season ... Linebacker Lee Neisz had another fine game (12 tackles, one for loss).
Against the Mountaineers ... Appalachian State leads the all-time series 28-13-1 over the Bucs ... App. State has won the previous two meetings, breaking a two-game win streak by the Bucs ... The Mountaineers lead the all-time series in Johnson City (13-8-1) and in the Mini-Dome (8-3) ... In the last game played in Memorial Center, the #17-ranked visitors defeated ETSU 22-17 (Sept. 12, 1998).
Last Season ... A confident 4-0 Buc team went into Boone to face nationally-ranked Appalachian State ... ETSU led 9-7 after the first and 16-13 at halftime but fell to the home team 23-19 ... Jamey Chadwell replaced the injured Todd Wells and threw for 265 yards on 19-of-36 passing ... Denario Smalls led the defense with 11 tackles. Receiving Combo ... Wide-outs Corey Martin and Cecil Moore have been consistent all season ... After not making a catch in the season opener, Martin has 15 receptions in the past three contests (five in each game) ... He ranks second on the team with 287 receiving yards (71.8 yards/game) ... Moore has made 13 catches for a team-high 292 yards this season (73.0 yards/game) ... He made four catches for 63 yards against Western Carolina.
In Todd We Trust ... Senior quarterback Todd Wells is on fire this fall, amassing 1,061 yards of total offense in the first four games ... Wells has thrown for 896 yards (51-of-94) and ranks third on the team with 165 rushing yards ... The 1997 SoCon Freshman of the Year led the Bucs in passing (115.6/game) and total offense (123.8/game) in 1999.
More than a Passing Frenzy ... Quarterback Todd Wells has thrown for over 200 yards in three of the first four games this season ... Wells passed for 283 at Liberty, 238 against VMI and 221 at Western Carolina ... Wells eclipsed 200 yards passing once last year -- 217 in a 38-10 win against Western Carolina.
In the Southern Conference ... The Bucs are 57-102 (21 seasons) in league games since joining the SoCon in 1979 ... Their best finish was second in 1996 when ETSU finished 7-1 in the league ... ETSU is 27-20 since 1994 and have been above .500 every year except 1998 (3-5) in that span ... The Bucs are 13-13 under Coach Paul Hamilton ... ETSU won its 2000 Southern Conference opener on Sept. 16 against VMI, 38-3 ... The Bucs lost at Western Carolina, 39-27, on Sept. 23.
Senior Leadership ... The 2000 Buccaneer squad is being led by a talented senior class ... The following is a list of this years senior leaders:
Todd Wells leads team in total offense and passing
Terrance Sims leads team in rushing, kick off returns
Corey Martin leads team in receiving
Keyandre Fenn leads team in punt returns
Cory Bolden leads team in tackles
Rahim El Amin ranks second in tackles
Russ Lindgren leads team in sacks
Denario Smalls leads team in interceptions
* Eight of the top 10 tackles are seniors. The other two -- Travis Williams and Brandon Calton are freshmen.
Freshman Phenoms ... The Bucs are also being led by their true freshmen ... Running back Corey Carter has scored two touchdowns in each of the past two games ... He ranks second on the team with 180 rushing yards after four games ... Wide receivers Tim Turner and Tony Tiller have made contributions ... Kick returner Andrew Nuckolls has returned five kicks and leads the team, averaging 23.2 yards/return ... On defense, Travis Williams ranks eighth on the team in tackles while Brandon Calton ranks 10th.
Linebacker U? ... East Tennessee State hopes to have an All-America linebacker for the fourth consecutive season ... each of the last four years the Bucs have enjoyed a stellar linebacking corps ... gone from last years squad are two-time All-America Kevin Peterson (1998-99) and All-Southern Conference player Derek Fudge ... taking over in the middle this year is All-America candidate Rahim El Amin and All-Southern Conference candidate Cory Bolden ... linebacker Mario Hankerson earned All-America honors in 1997 ... Three of ETSUs top four tacklers this season are linebackers: Bolden (45), Rahim El Amin (40), Keydrick Gordon (40), and Russ Lindgren (33).
Winning Season ... ETSU is playing for its third winning season in the past four years ... The Bucs finished last season 6-5 and went 7-4 in 1997 -- head coach Paul Hamiltons first campaign ... If the Bucs finish above .500 in 2000 it would be the fourth time in the past five years they accomplished the feat.
Leader of the Ship ... Fourth-year head coach Paul Hamilton has an 19-18 (.514) career record ... Hamilton earned 17 wins in his first three years which made him the winningest coach in that span in Buc history ... Hamilton is ETSUs 16th head coach.
Pre-Season Honors ... Three Buc players earned preseason All-Southern Conference honors ... Seniors Rahim El Amin (linebacker), Terrance Sims (kick returner) and Denario Smalls (defensive back) earned the distinction ... Following last season, three Buccaneer players earned All-Conference honors: Jim Beverly (center), Derek Fudge (linebacker) and Kevin Peterson (linebacker).
Quick Snaps ... The Bucs 38 points against VMI was the most since ETSUs 38-10 win against Western Carolina last fall (Sept. 25, 1999) ... Aaron Bass 78-yard punt at Liberty (Sept. 2) was the fourth longest boot in ETSU football history ... Kicker Con Chellis has made two career field goals (49 yards vs. West Virginia Tech on Sept. 11, 1999 and 48 yards at Liberty on Sept. 2, 2000) ... The Bucs had long scoring plays -- 58 yards, 28 yards, 82 yards and 59 yards -- at Liberty (Sept. 2).
On the Airwaves ... ETSU football and basketball fans can enjoy game broadcasts on WJCW-AM (910) -- the flagship station of the Buccaneer Radio Network ... Chip Kessler returns as the Voice of the Bucs after leaving the post in 1996 ... The pregame show, College Football Today, will air one hour before game time while the postgame show will run for 30 minutes following the final whistle ... Both shows are hosted by Bill Meade, program director of WJCW ... The Paul Hamilton show airs live from The Firehouse Restaurant every Thursday night from 6-7 p.m. on WJCW.