Johnson City, Tenn. (Oct. 19, 2002) - Senior quarterback Jatavis Sanders (Stone Mountain, Ga.) and senior wide receiver Cecil Moore (Morristown, Tenn.) connected for four touchdowns in a 35-16 victory over Elon Saturday afternoon from Memorial Center. Moore's four scores breaks an ETSU record for touchdown receptions in a game and ties the record for most overall touchdowns in a game.
Sanders eclipsed career highs with 287 yards passing and the four touchdowns. He had thrown for just two touchdowns combined in his previous seven games this season. Moore had caught three touchdown passes this season before his career-high total today.
The Buccaneers (4-4) opened up the scoring late in the first quarter on beautiful one-handed catch in the corner of the end zone from Sanders to Moore with 2:16 left in the first stanza. The two seniors connected again for a six-yard touchdown on the next ETSU drive to make the score 14-0 with 13:36 left in the second quarter. The big play of that drive was a 50-yard completion from Sanders to junior wide receiver Andrew Nuckolls (Tunnel Hill, Ga.).
Sanders and Moore struck again with 32 seconds left in the half on an 18-yard touchdown strike. That drive started after an interception by junior safety Montreal Harkley (Hanahan, S.C.), his first of two on the day.
ETSU followed the same strategy in the second half as Moore hauled in his fourth touchdown on a 21-yard pass from Sanders to make the score 28-0 with 3:30 remaining in the third quarter.
Elon (2-5) defensive end Maurice Locklin got a piece of an Aaron Bass (Clinton, Tenn.) punt early in the fourth quarter, giving the Phoenix possession on their 25-yard line. Elon responded immediately, as wide receiver Arketa Banks hauled in a 75-yard touchdown from Larry Burney on the first play of the drive to make the score 28-7 with 13:33 left in the game.
The Bucs put their final points on the board with an 11-play, 43-yard drive that ended in a 25-yard field goal by sophomore kicker Jon Godfrey (Johnson City, Tenn.).
Late in the fourth quarter, Elon linebacker Calvin Sutton scooped up a fumble by ETSU sophomore quarterback Dashannon Gamble (Ladson, S.C.) and returned it 57 yards to the Buccaneer 28, setting up Elon's final score. Phoenix running back Rashaud Palmer scored on a two-yard run and quarterback James Murdaugh connected with Banks on a two-point conversion to provide the final 31-15 score.
Sanders finished the day 17-of-29 passing, in addition to his touchdown and yardage totals. Moore led the Bucs with eight receptions for 95 yards, his second-best totals in both categories this season. Junior running back Gaven Varner (Summerville, S.C.) paced ETSU on the ground, totaling 78 yards on 19 carries while also catching three passes for 55 yards.
Burney led the Elon passing attack, tallying 86 yards in the air on 4-of-6 passing and a touchdown. Palmer had a team-high 34 yards rushing on eight carries for Elon. Banks and Marcus Johnson tied for the team lead with two receptions, with Banks pacing the team with 94 receiving yards.
The Buccaneer defense also played one of their best games of the season, making several big plays. ETSU had just three sacks going into today's game, but had nine sacks in today's game alone. Senior linebacker Justin Reinier (Panarama City, Ca.) and sophomore linebacker Lamar Beam (Shelby, N.C.) each had four sacks on the day. Beam led the team with 11 tackles, six for losses in addition to his sack total. Freshman safety Primus Glover (Springfield, Ga.) recorded his first interception of his ETSU career to go along with Harkley's two picks.
Mike Warren of Elon tied for the game-high with 11 tackles. Dwayne Ijames had an interception for the Phoenix, while Locklin and Polk Williams recorded sacks in the game.
"If we can be sound in the kicking game, play good defense like we are and get the ball to Cecil (Moore) and Gaven (Varner) enough, we can be a very good football team," said ETSU coach Paul Hamilton following the game.
Today was a matchup of future conference rivals, as Elon will be joining the Southern Conference next season.
"This is a team and a school that will be tough week in and week out in this conference," commented Hamilton. "I have a lot of respect for (Elon head coach) Al Seagraves, and I am sure that they will come in this league and be a good football team."
The Buccaneers stay home next week to face nationally-ranked Furman on Oct. 26 at 3:30 p.m. from Memorial Center in Johnson City, Tenn.