CHARLESTON, S.C. (Oct. 29, 2016) – Despite showing signs of respectability throughout much of the first half, the ETSU football team could not overcome an early onslaught of scores and a second half offensive surge from No. 5 The Citadel, ultimately falling to one of the nation’s top Football Championship Subdivision teams 45-10 Saturday afternoon at Johnson Hagood Stadium.
In a matchup of longtime Southern Conference foes, the Bulldogs pulled away in the second half to improve to 8-0 for the first time in school history and move their SoCon record to an impressive 6-0 on the year. Meanwhile, the upstart Bucs dropped to 3-5, 1-5.
The Citadel rushed for 427 yards on the day and also showed a propensity for big plays through the air on way to posting 504 yards in total offense.
Meanwhile, the Bucs showed some fight in the first half when they pulled to within 14 points a 21-7, and then had another chance to make the deficit 14 later in the second quarter when a pass by sophomore quarterback Austin Herink (Cleveland, Tenn.) was intercepted at the Bulldogs’ goal line with ETSU trailing 28-7. Later, the Bucs forced a fumble on The Citadel’s first possession of the second half and capitalized on that turnover to cut the Bulldogs’ lead to 31-10.
However, unfortunately for the Bucs, any thoughts of a comeback were dashed as The Citadel finished the game with 14 unanswered points.
HOW THEY SCORED
- The Citadel 7, ETSU 0: After stopping the Bucs’ first offensive possession, The Citadel took over at its own 35-yard line and needed just six plays to cover 65 yards, scoring a touchdown on tailback Cam Jackson’s 1-yard run. The most significant play of the opening drive was a 38-yard pass from quarterback Dominique Allen to wide receiver Jorian Jordan on the Bulldogs’ first play from scrimmage.
- The Citadel 14, ETSU 0: Explosive offensive plays again bit the Bucs on The Citadel’s second possession. First, Jackson scampered 53 yards to move the ball to the ETSU 12-yard line. Then, just two plays later, Allen and Jordan linked up again for a five-yard scoring pass. Cody Clark’s extra point was good and The Citadel led 14-0 with 8:14 left in the first quarter following a three play, 64-yard drive.
- The Citadel 21, ETSU 0: After forcing a fumble on The Citadel’s third offensive possession, the Bucs again were unable to move the ball and were forced to punt once more. The Bulldogs looked efficient again on offense, covering 64 yards on 10 plays and taking 3:54 off the clock, as tailback Reggie Williams collected a pitch and rolled 11 yards for the touchdown. With 14:11 left before half, the Bucs trailed 21-0.
- The Citadel 21, ETSU 7: The Buccaneers battled back midway through the third quarter, as Herink and wide receiver Drake Powell (Clinton, Tenn.) ignited ETSU with a 52-yard pass to The Citadel 12-yard line. Three plays later, the Bucs were faced with a fourth down at the Bulldogs’ three-yard line and chose to go for it. Herink then found fullback Haddon Hill (Knoxville, Tenn.) for a scoring pass to make it 21-7 with 7:41 left in the half.
- The Citadel 28, ETSU 7: The Bulldogs quickly crushed the Bucs’ newfound momentum. Taking just three plays and benefitting from a facemask penalty via the ETSU defense as The Citadel moved 70 yards in just three plays and scored on a 38-yard run from Jackson. It was his second rushing score of the game and the Bulldogs led 28-7 with 6:47 left before the break.
- The Citadel 31, ETSU 7: After the Bucs missed a scoring opportunity when Herink was intercepted at the Bulldogs’ goal line, The Citadel took advantage of the ETSU miscue and marched 53 yards in 14 plays to close out the half’s scoring with a 29-yard field goal by Clark.
- The Citadel 31, ETSU 10: After Citadel fumbled deep in ETSU territory on the opening possession of the second half, the Bucs’ offense put together their third effective drive of the game and moved to the Bulldogs’ two-yard line. Unfortunately, the drive stalled there and ETSU had to settle for a 22-yard field goal from sophomore JJ Jerman (Seymour, Tenn.) with 2:33 left in the third quarter.
- The Citadel 38, ETSU 10: After being pinned deep in their own territory, the Bucs were forced to punt and set The Citadel up with exceptional field position at their own 49-yard line. Quarterback Jordan Black then took over, rushing for 49 yards on the first play of the possession and then capped the drive with a two-yard scoring run. The extra point was good and the Bulldogs led 38-10 with 13:28 left in regulation.
- The Citadel 45, ETSU 10: A long punt return for the Bulldogs set up another Citadel score midway through the fourth quarter, as Jonathan Dorogy rumbled in from three yards out with 8:04 left in the game to wrap up the day’s scoring.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
- The Bucs’ defense collected a pair of turnovers in Saturday’s game, and ETSU junior safety Paul Hunter (Denton, Texas) was the benefactor of both fumbles. Trailing 14-0 and with The Citadel moving on offense again, the Bulldogs mishandled an option pitch and Hunter was there to jump on the loose ball. That play helped give ETSU some life early in the game. Then, early in the second half with The Citadel again threatening to score, the Bulldogs again bobbled a handoff and the ball squirted free. Once again, Hunter ran the ball down and scooped up the turnover.
- Hunter, sophomore linebacker Dylan Weigel (Pickerington, Ohio) and graduate safety Ryan Powers (Jupiter, Fla.) all totaled double-digit tackles … Weigel – who recorded his 200th career tackle on Saturday – finished with 11, while Hunter also posted 11 and Powers ended with 10 … Weigel has now accomplished the feat 14 times in his career, Hunter has posted double-digit tackles twice this season and Powers has five career games with double-digit tackles.
- Haddon Hill became the fifth Buccaneer to score his first collegiate touchdown this season … Hill’s three-yard reception on fourth down marked ETSU’s first scoring drive of the game in the second quarter.
- Austin Herink’s 52-yard pass completion to Drake Powell marked the Bucs’ longest pass play of the season … The 52-yard reception was also Powell’s longest catch of his career and it also marked Herink’s longest completion of his career.
- ETSU’s defense forced two turnovers on Saturday (two fumble recoveries) … The Bucs have now forced turnovers in six of the eight games this season.
- The Citadel’s average starting field position was its own 36-yard line, compared to ETSU starting on its 25 … The Bucs were held to 2-of-15 on third down chances (2-for-2 on fourth down), while the Bulldogs went 7-of-13 on third down (1-of-2 on fourth).
- The Bucs had scored on 19 straight trips inside the red zone before Austin Herink’s interception in the second quarter.
- JJ Jerman improved to 6-of-8 on field goal opportunities this season after connecting on his 22-yard try in the third quarter … Jerman also made one PAT on Saturday to extend his streak of 37 consecutive makes to start his collegiate career
- Of The Citadel’s 504 yards of total offense, 178 of them came on plays over 30 yards – including the 38-yard touchdown run … In addition, the Bulldogs also had 108 yards on four punt returns and 67 yards on three kickoff returns … ETSU was held to 253 yards of total offense (166 passing/87 rushing).
- Sophomore Domenique Williams (Charlotte, N.C.) registered 111 yards on five kickoff returns.
- The Bucs have now played two teams ranked in the top-five of the FCS Poll this month (Chattanooga on Oct. 1) … The Citadel entered the game leading the FCS in rushing yards at 353.7 yard per game.
- Despite the loss, the Bucs still hold a 15-10 lead over The Citadel in the all-time series.
- A crowd of 12,978 fans was on hand for the game.
The Bucs will be back on the road next weekend, as they travel to Macon, Ga., to take on SoCon foe Mercer. Kickoff is set for 3 p.m.