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ETSU (2-1, 1-0 SoCon) vs. Western Carolina (1-2, 0-1 SoCon)
Whitmire Stadium - Cullowhee, N.C.
National Leader ... Senior quarterback Todd Wells ranks seventh nationally (I-AA) in passing efficiency with a 168.69 mark ... Columbias Jeff McCall leads I-AA with a 208.0 passing efficiency ... Wells ranks 14th in total offense, averaging 279.67 yards per game ... Morehead States David Dinkins leads I-AA averaging 551.0 yards per game .... Wells leads the Southern Conference in both categories.
Southern Conference Leaders ... The Bucs lead the Conference averaging 435.0 yards of offense ... With Wells at the helm, the Bucs also lead in pass efficiency (168.7) ... The Buc defense is atop the SoCon in pass defense efficiency (106.3) ... Individually, Todd Wells leads in total offense (279.7) and Russ Lindgren is tied for the lead with three sacks.
Freshman of the Week ... For the second time this season an ETSU player earned Southern Conference Freshman-of-the-Week honors ... Fullback Corey Carter earned the honor after rushing for 107 yards on 18 carries (5.9/attempt) in a 38-3 win against VMI on Sept. 16 ... It was Carters first collegiate 100-yard rushing game in just his third ETSU game ... Wide receiver Tim Turner earned the honor on Sept. 4 for his three-touchdown, 145-yard effort.
A Program First ... For the first time in ETSU football history, a quarterback ran for 100+ yards and passed for 200+ yards when Todd Wells ran for 108 and threw for 238 in a 38-3 win against VMI (Sept. 16). Rushing Leader? ... Senior quarterback Todd Wells has led the team in rushing each of the last two games ... He ran for 108 yards against VMI (Sept. 16) -- his first ever 100+ rushing effort -- and 61 yards on seven carries to lead the Bucs in a 41-7 loss at Colorado State (Sept. 9) ... The last time a QB had led the team in rushing was Nov. 7, 1998 when Wells ran for 58 yards on seven carries in a 45-24 win against Wofford ... Wells ranks second on the team with 164 yards after three games this fall (54.7/game).
Big Day of Offense ... ETSUs 581 yards of total offense vs. VMI was the most since the Bucs amassed 707 in a 51-28 win against Appalachian State on Oct. 4, 1997 ... ETSU exploded for 343 rushing yards on 57 attempts (6.0 yards/carry) against the Keydets ... Two Bucs -- Todd Wells (108) and Corey Carter (107) -- eclipsed the 100-yard rushing mark for the first time in their career.
Moving Them Backwards ... For the first time since Nov. 21, 1970 the ETSU defense held its opponent to negative rushing yards against VMI on Sept. 16 ... The Bucs stopped VMI for -18 rushing yards on 24 attempts ... In the final game of the 1970 season, ETSU stopped Austin Peay for -27 yards on the ground in a 45-14 win.
In the Southern Conference ... The Bucs are 57-101 (21 seasons) in league games since joining the SoCon in 1979 ... Their best finish was second in 1996 when ETSU finished 7-1 in the league ... ETSU is 27-20 since 1994 and have been above .500 every year except 1998 (3-5) in that span ... The Bucs are 13-12 under Coach Paul Hamilton ... ETSU won its 2000 Southern Conference opener on Sept. 16 against VMI, 38-3.
Against the Catamounts ... ETSU is 20-20-1 all-time against Western Carolina ... The Bucs have captured five of the last six contests ... Coach Hamilton is 2-1 against Western Carolina ... The lone tie in the series came in 1955 when the Bucs and Cats were knotted 7-7 in Johnson City, Tenn.
Last Season ... In a game televised by FoxSports South, ETSU handed Western Carolina a 38-10 loss in Memorial Center ... Todd Wells was 13-of-22 for 217 yards and three touchdowns ... Scott Carter led the rushing attack, gaining 86 yards on 13 carries ... ETSU gained 230 yards on the ground while holding the Catamounts to 55 rushing yards.
An Opportunistic Defense ... The Buc defense has forced eight turnovers (five interceptions, three fumbles) in the first three games ... Cornerback Denario Smalls and linebacker Russ Lindgren have both snatched two picks while Keyandre Fenn grabbed one against VMI ... Rahim El Amin, Andrew Foerster and David Johnson recovered the fumbles ... El Amins recovery came in the Liberty endzone for a touchdown ... It was ETSUs first defensive touchdown since October 25, 1997 when Mario Hankerson returned an inteception 39 yards for a touchdown in a 58-28 win against #16 Furman.
More on Turnovers ... ETSU is +2 in the turnover department this fall ... The Bucs were +5 at Liberty, -2 at Colorado State and -1 against VMI ... ETSU was even in the turnover department last fall.
On the Road ... The Bucs are 6-11 on the road since Coach Hamilton took over in 1997 ... The Bucs won their season opener on the road, 37-20, against Liberty in Lynchburg, Va. on Sept. 2 ... ETSU fell the next week, 41-7, at Colorado State ... ETSU was 1-4 away from the Mini-Dome last fall.
Back in Action ... Entering the season, wide-out Corey Martin was the Bucs top returning receiver ... Martin made 17 catches for 202 yards last season (18.4/game) ... Martin didnt make any receptions against Liberty but was the Bucs top threat against Colorado State ... He caught five passes for 95 yards (19.0 yards/catch) ... Martin continued his strong play against VMI on Sept. 16, leading the team with five receptions for 99 yards.
Linebacker U? ... East Tennessee State hopes to have an All-America linebacker for the fourth consecutive season ... each of the last four years the Bucs have enjoyed a stellar linebacking corps ... gone from last years squad are two-time All-America Kevin Peterson (1998-99) and All-Southern Conference player Derek Fudge ... taking over in the middle this year is All-America candidate Rahim El Amin and All-Southern Conference candidate Cory Bolden ... linebacker Mario Hankerson earned All-America honors in 1997 ... ETSUs top three tackles this season are linebackers: Bolden (30), Russ Lindgren (26), El Amin (26).
In Todd We Trust ... For the fourth consecutive season, the Bucs will look to Todd Wells as their offensive general ... Wells is on fire this fall, amassing 839 yards of total offense in the first three games ... Wells has thrown for 675 yards (35-of-61) and ranks second on the team with 164 rushing yards ... The 1997 SoCon Freshman of the Year led the Bucs in passing (115.6/game) and total offense (123.8/game) in 1999.
Winning Season ... ETSU is playing for its third winning season in the past four years ... The Bucs finished last season 6-5 and went 7-4 in 1997 -- head coach Paul Hamiltons first campaign ... If the Bucs finish above .500 in 2000 it would be the fourth time in the past five years they accomplished the feat.
Leader of the Ship ... Fourth-year head coach Paul Hamilton has an 19-17 (.528) career record ... Hamilton earned 17 wins in his first three years which made him the winningest coach in that span in Buc history ... Hamilton is ETSUs 16th head coach.
1999 Recap ... After opening the season 4-0 and reaching a #13 ranking in the ESPN/USA Today Poll, the Bucs traveled to Boone and dropped a heart-breaking 23-19 decision to Appalachian State ... ETSU rebounded with a 24-12 win against Liberty and on October 18 reached its highest ranking of No. 12 ... The Bucs lost their next three games before rebounding with a win against Chattanooga, 28-14, in the home finale ... The 1999 season concluded with a 24-7 loss at Division I-A Middle Tennessee State.
Pre-Season Honors ... Three Buc players earned preseason All-Southern Conference honors ... Seniors Rahim El Amin (linebacker), Terrance Sims (kick returner) and Denario Smalls (defensive back) earned the distinction ... Following last season, three Buccaneer players earned All-Conference honors: Jim Beverly (center), Derek Fudge (linebacker) and Kevin Peterson (linebacker).
Quick Snaps ... The Bucs 38 points against VMI was the most since ETSUs 38-10 win against Western Carolina last fall (Sept. 25, 1999) ... Aaron Bass 78-yard punt at Liberty (Sept. 2) was the fourth longest boot in ETSU football history ... Kicker Con Chellis has made two career field goals (49 yards vs. West Virginia Tech on Sept. 11, 1999 and 48 yards at Liberty on Sept. 2, 2000) ... The Bucs had long scoring plays -- 58 yards, 28 yards, 82 yards and 59 yards -- at Liberty (Sept. 2).
On the Airwaves ... ETSU football and basketball fans can enjoy game broadcasts on WJCW-AM (910) -- the flagship station of the Buccaneer Radio Network ... Chip Kessler returns as the Voice of the Bucs after leaving the post in 1996 ... The pregame show, College Football Today, will air one hour before game time while the postgame show will run for 30 minutes following the final whistle ... Both shows are hosted by Bill Meade, program director of WJCW ... The Paul Hamilton show airs live from The Firehouse Restaurant every Thursday night from 6-7 p.m. on WJCW.