JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – East Tennessee State University football fans got to witness the Buccaneers reign victorious Saturday in their first playoff game since the ’90s. Now, they are eyeing the quarterfinals in Fargo, North Dakota.
The Blue and Gold will travel to North Dakota for Round 3 of the FCS playoffs this upcoming Saturday. Fans told News Channel 11 they were ecstatic by the win and that they could not wait to witness yet another Buc victory.
“This team, this year, has really personified what it is to be a Buccaneer,” said Mason Mosier, Junior and SGA President of ETSU.
Gray Crum is a junior at ETSU and has helped organize participation in the student section at each game so far this season.
“We’re always right in the front row, me and a couple of my friends, and we just love cheering on the Bucs. It’s our favorite thing to do every Saturday,” he said.
Having been enrolled at the university for a few years, Crum has watched the Buccaneers develop and grow.
“It’s incredible, to be honest,” Crum said. “My first couple of years, our football team was okay. But this year, we’ve really just exceeded all expectations. It’s been an absolute blast. It’s a great time to go here. It’s a great time that you’re on the football team, and I know the players are having a blast, and we absolutely love cheering them on. It’s a phenomenal experience, to be honest.”
Junior Paulina Ramirez, also a member of the SGA, told News Channel 11 the atmosphere on campus is palpable after a Bucs win.
“It feels actually really awesome to be able to win and the celebration afterward. There’s always like such spirit around the university and football games and tailgating, just like there are such good vibes,” she said.
It was clear after Saturday’s win that the excitement on campus was unmistakable.
“It’s unbelievable. ETSU is the place to be right now,” Mosier said Monday.
For some ETSU super fans like Dennis Brooks, the win over Kennesaw State was breathtaking.
“I don’t know, it was sort of surreal this time,” Brooks said. “It was just so so crazy that it was hard to absorb.”
The close score so late in the game meant many fans leaving before the final whistle, but not all.
“I’d already written the season off. I told my wife I’m like ‘this was a good run. It’s been fun this year,’ and she asked me ‘Oh, should we just go home?’ and I’m like, ‘No, I’m not going to do that. I’m not going to let these players know I gave up on them,'” Brooks said.
Now, it’s all eyes on the next game against North Dakota State in the quarterfinals.
“I just wish I could afford that trip to Fargo, I would love to go to the game. But obviously, it’s very complicated, if we’re fortunate enough to win two more miracles and then I’ll try to get to Frisco, Texas but it’s hard to get to Fargo,” Brooks said.
Mosier said he is working on a plan.
“I’ve still got to talk with the President about it, but SGA really wants to do something where people can watch the game. I suggested even taking a bus over there that we had. That’s a long trip to North Dakota, so we’ve got to see what we can do. But I’ll tell you what, we’re looking forward to it. We’re going to get people out there, and I want some kind of watch party or something,” Mosier said.
Crum said he’s still weighing his options.
“Me and a couple of my friends have actually talked about a flight, but you know, we’ll see. If not, we’re all gonna get together and definitely watch the game,” he said.
Some vowed not to miss the game at any cost.
“Unfortunately, I won’t be able to make it. I will be flying to my country Colombia, but I am very excited to see what it comes down to. And if we win, it would be ecstatic,” Ramirez said. “I’ll be on the live stats, making sure how we’re doing.”
And for the Buccaneers, Brooks had only one message of encouragement: “just keep doing what you’re doing.”