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Wofford's Option Prevails Over ETSU, 24-3
Saturday, November 17, 2001Spartanburg, S.C. - Wofford rolled up 322 yards rushing and scored touchdowns on its first two possessions of the game as the Terriers took a 24-3 Southern Conference football win over East Tennessee State in Spartanburg, S.C. The loss broke a three-game winning streak by ETSU and dropped the Buccaneer's record to 5-5, 3-4 in the Southern Conference. Wofford improved to 4-6 and 3-4 with the win, its third straight over ETSU. ETSU took the opening kickoff and picked up pair of first downs to start the game, but a penalty on the Bucs, one of 10 for 88 yards called on ETSU, seemed to take the steam out of the drive and the Bucs were forced to punt. Wofford took over on its own 22 and proceeded to use its option offense to grind out a 78-yard drive in 13 plays to score. The Terriers gained all but 18 yards via the ground game, with J.R. McNair taking it the final yard to put Wofford up 7-0 with 6:26 showing on the clock. After holding ETSU on its next possession, the Terriers drove 67 yards for another score, this time with Melvin Jones scoring from a yard out to put them up 14-0 with 12:47 left before halftime. ETSU finally put together a good looking drive late in the first half. Starting at its own 27, ETSU drove down the field on the arm and legs of senior quarterback Matt Wilhjelm (Johnson City, Tenn.). He completed 4-of-5 passes for 42 yards and rushed for 13 more as the Bucs got a first and goal at the Wofford eight. But two straight incomplete passes stalled the drive and the Bucs had to settle for a 21-yard Con Chellis (Summerville, S.C.) field goal. In the second half the Buccaneer defense held Wofford on its first drive, but on the ensuing ETSU possession, Wilhjelm was intercepted on a deflected ball by the Terriers' Lee Basinger and Wofford had the ball at the ETSU 18-yard line. The Buccaneer defense held, and Wofford settled for a 20-yard field goal to extend its lead to 17-3. Wofford's defense held off the Bucs the rest of the way, however, holding ETSU to just three first downs for the rest of the game. The Terriers tacked on another touchdown early in the fourth quarter on a five-yard run by Nick Haughey to ice the win. The Terriers had three runners gain over 70 yards on the afternoon, led by McNair's 83. Wilhjelm led ETSU with 36 yards on the ground as the Bucs could only muster 85 total yards rushing. In the air Wilhjelm completed 17 of 32 attempts for 138 yards. He was intercepted twice. Wofford, with its strong ground attack, passed for only 42 yards during the afternoon. Cecil Moore (Morristown, Tenn.) had another strong afternoon for ETSU, grabbing nine passes for 90 yards. The Terriers put together 364 yards of offense and gained 24 first downs, while ETSU totaled 223 yards and 11 first downs. East Tennessee State will finish the 2001 season with a Thanksgiving Day matchup at VMI. Game time in Lexington will be noon.
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