JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Sept. 4, 2003) - East Tennessee State got a stellar performance from redshirt freshman quarterback Carl Meadows (Cummings, Ga.) in a 44-0 victory over Concord in the Bucs home opener in front of 5,481 fans at Memorial Center in Johnson City, Tenn.
The shutout is ETSU's first since a 26-0 victory over Charleston Southern on Nov. 3, 2001 and their first at home since a 61-0 win over West Virginia Tech on Sept. 11, 1999.
East Tennessee State (1-1) was silent on their first two drives, but got on the board following a fumble recovery by redshirt freshman linebacker Mike Cullen (Roswell, Ga.) at the Concord 10-yard line. On second and goal, senior running back Gaven Varner (Summerville, Ga.) rumbled ten yards for the first score of the game.
Just over three minutes later, the Bucs got back on the board after a three-play, 51-yard drive. The drive culminated with a 44-yard touchdown strike from Meadows to senior wide receiver Andrew Nuckolls (Tunnel Hill, Ga.).
The Bucs put three more points on the board in the first half, taking a 17-0 lead into the locker room. Junior place-kicker Jonathan Godfrey (Johnson City, Tenn.) booted a 48-yard field goal with just four seconds remaining in the second quarter.
ETSU got on the board quickly in the second half, scoring a touchdown on just their second play of the half after a quick three and out by Concord (0-1). With 13:09 remaining in the third, Meadows connected with sophomore wideout Brian Matthews (Georgetown, S.C.) on a 54-yard touchdown pass to make the score 24-0 in favor of the Bucs.
After a second-consecutive three and out by the Mountain Lions, the Bucs struck quickly, putting up another touchdown, but this time in an unconventional fashion. On third-and-11 from the Concord 48, Meadows hit sophomore wide receiver James Rainer (Alcoa, Tenn.) with a deep pass down to the one-yard line. As he was being taken down, Rainer fumbled into the end zone, where it was scooped up by fellow sophomore wideout Frank Green (Monks Corner, S.C.) for a touchdown.
The Bucs scored on their next drive as well, running their lead to 31-0 as Godfrey put another three points on the board with a 24-yard field goal.
ETSU's offense was almost unstoppable in the third quarter as they put another touchdown on the board on a drive that was set up by an interception by sophomore defensive back Primus Glover (Springfield, Ga.). With 53 seconds remaining in the third, Meadows hit Nuckolls with a touch pass to the corner of the end zone for a seven-yard score.
The Bucs capped the evening's scoring with 11:09 remaining in the game when Godfrey split the uprights with his third field goal of the evening. His final field goal put him in the Buccaneer record book as his 51-yarder ties for the second-longest in ETSU history, only behind George Cimadevilla's 52-yarder against James Madison in 1986.
"I am very proud of Jonathan Godfrey and the kind of kicker he has become," said ETSU head coach Paul Hamilton following the game.
Meadows also reached a milestone as he went 14-for-28 on the evening with an even 300 yards passing and four touchdowns. This game marks the first time a Buccaneer signal-caller has thrown for 300 yards or more since Todd Wells threw for 307 yards against Wofford during the 2000 season.
Varner led the Bucs with 71 rushing yards on 20 carries and Nuckolls led Buccaneer receivers with four receptions and 81 yards. Cullen paced the Buccaneer defense with nine tackles on the evening, one for a loss and a fumble recovery. Junior safety Gerald Sensabaugh (Kingsport, Tenn.) had a strong evening as well, with six tackles, one for a loss, a forced fumble, a blocked punt and a sack.
"We are going to go get back to work because we have a big out of conference game next week," said Hamilton. "We are proud of what we did tonight, but there is still work to be done."
The Mountain Lions were led in the air by Josh Aliveto, who completed 11 of 22 passes for 65 yards. Speedy tailback Eric Jelks had 62 yards on the ground, while Jerrand Nesmith had six catches and Daniel Timpe led the team with 21 receiving yards. Linebacker Daryl Wilson had a game-high 10 tackles, one for a loss, and also broke up a pass and recorded a sack.
"I want to commend Concord and their team," said coach Hamilton. "Coach Quick has a good football team, and they fought us hard tonight."
The Bucs return to the gridiron on Sept. 11 at 7 p.m. against Tennessee-Martin in their third consecutive Thursday night game. The game will be televised by The Football Network, visit www.footballnetwork.com for information on availability. Concord will next travel to Pikeville, Ky. on Sept. 13 for a 1 p.m. matchup with Pikeville College.
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