Johnson City, Tenn. (October 25, 2002) -- Memorial Center in Johnson City, Tenn. is where area football fans are going to be Saturday when No. 4 Furman comes to town to take on East Tennessee State at 3:30 p.m.
The Buccaneers have faced off against the Paladins 28 times, with Furman holding a substantial 21-7 advantage. Furman won a commanding 19 of the first 22 games in the series, but the Bucs have held the advantage in recent matchups between the two teams, winning four of the last six games, including three consecutive in Memorial Center. Those three games have however been very close, with ETSU winning by a combined seven points.
This weekend's contest is the first of two televised games for the Buccaneers this season, as CSS will roll into town early Saturday morning.
The Buccaneers provided their fans with two memorable television games last year. Con Chellis kicked a 41-yard field goal as time expired to give East Tennessee State a thrilling 23-21 victory over The Citadel on Oct. 4. Two weeks later, the Bucs stunned No. 1 ranked Georgia Southern, 19-16. GSU had a 9-0 lead ath the half before ETSU exploded for 19 points in the third quarter and held on for the victory. Cecil Moore had two touchdown receptions for the Bucs in the win.
East Tennessee State is often at its best against ranked opponents, having won nine games against ranked teams in the last seven seasons. Seven of those wins have come in the Mini-Dome. During Paul Hamilton's five previous seasons, he is 4-9 against ranked opponents. One of those wins was a 23-21 upset over #6 Furman the last time the two teams met in the Mini-Dome on Oct. 21, 2000.
ETSU, like most schools, enjoys a home field advantage playing in Memorial Center. One of only seven college owned domed stadiums in Division I football, the Buccaneers have posted seven straight winning records at home, including winning five of its last six and going 15-4 dating back to the 1999 season. In each of the last two years, the Bucs have scored an upset over a top-10 ranked opponent in the Dome, including knocking off top-ranked Georgia Southern a year ago. Under Coach Hamilton, the Bucs are 22-10 in the Dome.
The Buccaneers got back on the winning track against future SoCon rival Elon last Saturday afternoon, 31-15. Senior quarterback Jatavis Sanders connected with senior wide receiver Cecil Moore for four touchdowns setting a career-high for touchdown passes and with 287 yards passing.
The Buccaneer defense also possibly played their best game of the season last Saturday, collecting nine sacks and three interceptions. Sophomore linebacker Lamar Beam and senior linebacker Justin Reinier each had four sacks on the afternoon. Junior safety Montreal Harkley had two interceptions while freshman safety Primus Glover, starting the first game of his career had his first-ever interception.