East Tennessee State 23, Vanderbilt 3

September 04, 2021 at 7:05pm
Vanderbilt Stadium , Nashville,
Attendance: 22029

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Sept. 4, 2021) – The ETSU Football team treated Nashville, Tenn. to a show on Saturday night with a monumental win over Southeastern Conference foe, Vanderbilt. The Bucs toppled the Commodores in front of their home crowd by the final score of 23-3 to improve to 1-0 on the young season, while dropping Vanderbilt to 0-1 to begin the Clark Lea era.

The question of if playing in the spring would hinder or help the Buccaneers was answered at Vanderbilt Stadium. The Bucs were able to own the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball to force their way to the 20-point victory.

The Buccaneer defense stymied the SEC offense, despite being undersized. It was ETSU who proved to be the most physical of the two teams. After yielding a field goal midway through the first quarter, the Bucs held the Commodores scoreless for the remainder of the game, only allowing 318 yards of total offense. More impressively, ETSU forced three turnovers in the final quarter. Sophomore linebacker Stephen Scott (Greensboro, N.C.) turned one of those turnovers into six points with a 27-yard fumble recovery for the touchdown, proving to be one of the biggest plays of the game. Senior Karon Delince (Phenix City, Ala.) and freshman Sheldon Arnold (Loganville, Ga.) added one interception a piece in the win.

The Buccaneer offense kept pace with Vanderbilt and had the defense on their toes in the final three quarters. ETSU finished the game with 314 yards of offense, including 253 yards in the second and third quarters combined. ETSU outgained Vanderbilt 253-90 during that stretch, while also building a 13-3 lead heading into the final quarter. Tyler Riddell (Tampa, Fla.) rose to the occasion, connecting on some pivotal passes to newcomer Malik Murray (Duluth, Ga.) and the experienced Will Huzzie (Duluth, Ga.). Riddell found Murray for a 5-yard touchdown to put ETSU on the board and build the confidence on the visiting sideline. As always, Quay Holmes (Powder Springs, Ga.) lived up to his hype with 149 yards rushing on 23 carries.

With the clock winding down, the ETSU sideline and the Johnson City faithful that made the trip, erupted into a frenzy. The convincing win continued to put the FCS on the map as the Bucs stormed the field following their first Power-5 win since 1987.