BRISTOL, TN- For the ETSU football team, simply playing in a historic game wasn’t enough. The Buccaneers wanted to win it … and they did.
Thanks to an epic comeback, the Bucs overcame an 18-point, first-half deficit to score 24 unanswered points, taking the lead in the second half and defeating Western Carolina 34-31 Saturday afternoon in the Food City Bucs at Bristol game at Bristol Motor Speedway.
In the Bucs first Southern Conference game since 2003, an ETSU program-record crowd of 13,863 fans looked on as ETSU improved to 2-0 on the season and 1-0 in league play. Meanwhile, dropped to 1-2, 0-1. This marked the second straight time the Bucs took down a team who was receiving votes in the STATS FCS Top 25 poll.
The turning point of the game came as ETSU trailed 21-3 with two minutes left in the first half and Western Carolina was driving on offense. A 43-yard pass to the Catamounts’ Spearman Robinson took the ball to the ETSU 30-yard line, but as he was tackled, the Bucs’ Daren Ardis (Bradenton, Fla.) punched the ball loose and teammate Kevin Ferguson (Cincinnati, Ohio) recovered with 1:23 left before the intermission.
ETSU then took the ball 71 yards in eight plays to close the half with a touchdown to make it 21-10. Instead of trailing by as much as 25 points at 28-3, the Bucs were back in the ball game at 21-10 and outscored the Catamounts 31-10 the rest of the game to take the victory.
Courtesy: East Tennessee State Athletics