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Bucs Stun Samford

By Southern Pigskin Staff
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East Tennessee State upends Samford 15-14 on a game-winning field goal.

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Nov. 19, 2016) – The 2016 season ended like it began for the ETSU Buccaneers – with an impressive win.

Just as he gave the Buccaneers a dramatic season-opening victory over Kennesaw State with a field goal field goal in double-overtime back in September, sophomore placekicker JJ Jerman (Seymour, Tenn.) came through again with a game-winning field goal as time expired to lift the Bucs past 18th-ranked Samford 15-14 in Southern Conference play on Senior Day Saturday at Kermit Tipton Stadium. The win marked ETSU’s first victory over a ranked opponent since Oct 27, 2001, when the Bucs knocked off No. 1 Georgia Southern, 19-16, inside the Dome.

The Bucs, who fell behind 14-3 and scored 12 unanswered points to pick up the win, ended their second season since returning to the gridiron in 2015 with a 5-6 overall record (2-6 in the SoCon) and a pair of wins over teams ranked in the Top 25, as Kennesaw State is currently No. 22 in the nation. Meanwhile, Samford (7-4, 5-3) likely falls out of contention for a possible spot in the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs with the loss.

Facing statistically the best offense in the SoCon, the ETSU defense came to play in the first half and kept the Bucs in the game throughout. Forcing a fumble and allowing just one touchdown, the Bucs went to the halftime locker room down just 7-3. In addition, the ETSU offense did its part by putting together time-consuming drives and keeping the Bulldogs offense off the field. In all, the Bucs won time of possession, holding the ball for 18:41, compared to 11:19 for Samford.

That defensive effort continued in the second half, as did the Bucs’ offensive patience and advantage in time of possession. By the end of the game, ETSU possessed the ball for over 41 minutes of game play, compared to just 18 minutes for the Bulldogs, which set a new single-game record for the Bucs. Even more impressive, Samford had entered the game averaging 38.3 points and 469.3 yards a game offensively. On this night, they were held to just 14 points and 265 yards.