Elon blanks ETSU football in Southern Conference opener
Running back Gaven Varner rushed for 102 yards on 18 carries in Saturday's loss at Elon.
Running back Gaven Varner rushed for 102 yards on 18 carries in Saturday's loss at Elon.

Saturday, September 20, 2003

Elon, N.C. (Sept. 20, 2003) -- An injury-plagued East Tennessee State football team fell to Elon Saturday in the Southern Conference opener for the Buccaneers at Rhodes Stadium in Elon, 14-0. "This was one of the most difficult ballgames I have coached in since I've been here," said ETSU head coach Paul Hamilton. "Our defense played well enough to win, but we did things offensively that cost us the game." ETSU (2-2, 0-1 SoCon) held the Phoenix to just 45 yards passing, but allowed 182 yards on the ground. Meanwhile the Buccaneers struggled to get the offense going with some key injuries on the offensive line and the loss of starting running back Gaven Varner (Summerville, S.C.) for a period of time. After a blocked punt gave the Phoenix (2-2, 1-1 SoCon) great field position on ETSU's four-yard line, Elon broke a scoreless tie at the 6:48 mark in the second half, when Phoenix quarterback Anthony Crews found the endzone on a one-yard QB sneak, helping the home team to a 7-0 advantage. Elon struck again with 10:10 to play in the third quarter on a 37-yard touchdown run by Crews, which gave the Phoenix a 14-0 lead following the extra point by William Rawls. Crews was just 6-of-13 passing, while ETSU quarterback Carl Meadows completed 14-of-38 passes for 144 yards. Meadows connected with eight different ETSU receivers, but the redshirt freshman QB was sacked a total of three times in the contest, including twice by Elon's senior defensive end Wesley Wheeler. "I knew this game was going to be tight," said Hamilton. "We had some chances to make some plays, but we just didn't make them." The Buccaneers had the opportunity to take an early lead, but kicker Jonathan Godfrey's (Johnson City, Tenn.) 47-yard field goal attempt sailed wide left early in the second quarter. Despite limited action in the backfield, Varner rushed for over 100 yards for the third time in four games this season. The 6-foot-1, 230-pound tailback carried the ball 18 times for 102 yards. Redshirt freshman wide receiver Frank Green (Monks Corner, S.C.) caught a team-high three receptions for the Bucs for 45 yards. Defensively, ETSU was led by senior linebacker Mike Cullen (Roswell, Ga.), who recorded nine tackles. Senior cornerback Tony Tiller (Lithonia, Ga.) had one pass breakup and one fumble recovery. "This is certainly a disheartening loss," said Hamilton. "But we'll be ready next week." The Buccaneers will be back at home next Saturday, when they play host to Western Carolina. Kick-off is scheduled for 1 p.m. in Memorial Center.
Follow ETSU Athletics on Twitter Twitter and become a fan on Facebook Facebook.
MSOC Furman 0 Johnson City, Tenn.
Oct 15 ETSU 1
MTEN ETSU Nashville, Tenn.
Oct 16 ITA Ohio Valley Regionals
MTEN ETSU
Oct 17 ITA Ohio Valley Regionals
WGOLF Mercedes Benz Collegiate Championship Knoxville, Tenn.
Oct 17 15th of 16
WTEN ETSU
Oct 17 ITA Ohio Valley Regionals
MCC Catamount Classic Cullowhee, N.C.
Oct 17 2 of 10
WCC Catamount Classic Cullowhee, N.C.
Oct 17 1 of 10
MGOLF U.S. Collegiate Championship Alpharetta, Ga.
Oct 17 Results
VB Wofford College 0 Johnson City, Tenn.
Oct 17 ETSU 3
WSOC VMI 0 Johnson City, Tenn.
Oct 17 ETSU 7
WTEN ETSU
Oct 18 ITA Ohio Valley Regionals
MTEN ETSU
Oct 18 ITA Ohio Valley Regionals
MGOLF U.S. Collegiate Championship Alpharetta, Ga.
Oct 18 Results
VB Mercer University 1 Johnson City, Tenn.
Oct 18 ETSU 3
MSOC Wofford 3 2OT
Oct 18 ETSU 3
WTEN ETSU
Oct 19 ITA Ohio Valley Regionals
MTEN ETSU
Oct 19 ITA Ohio Valley Regionals
MGOLF U.S. Collegiate Championship Alpharetta, Ga.
Oct 19 12th of 15
WSOC UNC Greensboro 1 Johnson City, Tenn.
Oct 19 ETSU 3