JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Nov. 17, 2003) - East Tennessee State senior tailback Gaven Varner (Summerville, S.C.) earned Southern Conference Co-Offensive Player of the Week and redshirt freshman quarterback Carl Meadows (Cumming, Ga.) was named SoCon Freshman of the Week for their performances in Saturday's record-breaking 68-7 victory over Chattanooga.
Varner turned in his fifth 100-yard rushing performance of the season with 119 yards and two touchdowns on just 16 carries against the Mocs. He became just the fourth ETSU player to rush for 1,000 yards in a season and the first ETSU back since Brandon Walker in 1999 to pass the milestone. Varner ran for 94 yards in the first half, and was in on only a handful of plays in the second half.
Varner leads the Bucs and is second in the Southern Conference with 1,002 yards rushing. Already with seven rushing touchdowns, Varner can move into the ETSU top-10 in single-season rushing touchdowns with one more score. Also dangerous catching the ball out of the backfield, he is third on the team with 16 receptions for 71 yards this season.
With East Tennessee State down 7-0 to Chattanooga midway through the first quarter on Saturday, Buccaneer head coach Paul Hamilton called on Meadows to revive ETSU's stalling offense. The move proved to be a stroke of genius, as in the next quarter and a half of play, the Bucs exploded for 48 unanswered points to take a 48-7 lead at the half.
In that first half, Meadows threw a 32-yard touchdown pass to senior slotback Andrew Nuckolls (Dalton, Ga.) to put the Bucs up 21-7, then ran the lead to 41-7 with a 13-yard strike to sophomore tight end Justin Cruze (Knoxville, Tenn.).
Before leaving the game after the third quarter, Meadows capped his afternoon with his first collegiate rushing touchdown, a 10-yard scamper on ETSU's first drive of the half.
Meadows was almost flawless for the Bucs against UTC, going 7-of-10 for 97 yards and two touchdowns through the air while running for another score. He leads the Bucs with 991 yards passing on the season and has thrown for nine touchdowns against just four interceptions.
It is the second such honor for both players this season, as Varner was voted Offensive Player of the Week after rushing for 162 yards against Tennessee-Martin on Sept. 11 and Meadows earned Freshman of the Week after throwing for 300 yards and four touchdowns against Concord on Sept. 4.
The Bucs return to action for their season finale and final game in program history as they host The Citadel Saturday at 1 p.m. from Memorial Center in Johnson City.