JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – The Bucs held No. 3 Furman to just 16 points in a SoCon showdown on Saturday afternoon. Still, the Blue and Gold came out on the wrong side of an eight-point decision down in Greenville.
The ETSU offense has been devastated by injury this season, but still they moved the ball well against a strong Paladins defense on the road.
“For a team that hasn’t scored touchdowns, or very many of them, we did some really goo things Saturday,” head coach George Quarles said on Monday. “I think top to bottom, that’s the best defense in the league.”
Still, three interceptions from William Riddle and continued struggles in the redzone kept the offense off the scoreboard.
The points, instead, came from a special teams unit that has been red-hot all season long. Redshirt-sophomore linebacker Teddy Wilson blocked his fourth punt on the season, which is tied for the best mark in the country. Ton’Quez Ball completed the play with an eight-yard scoop-and-score to keep the Bucs in the game in the fourth quarter.
“They’ve just done a great job of scheming up other teams, and we’re getting some great individual effort from guys just doing their job,” Quarles said.
“I think it’s just coming down to just being physical to the point of attack,” Wilson explained. “You know, he just got to go get it. You know, without your teammates, you know, they got to be there to do their job as well. So them doing their job helps us get our job done.”
Another redshirt-sophomore, Trey Foster, has a blocked punt this season, as well. He says the group is playing with a great sense of confidence at this point in the year.
“Going into the game – it might not be the first one, might be the second one, but you go back to the coach and say, this will happen,” he told reporters on Monday. “This is what they did. Then we make adjustments on the field and that’s what happened.”
Despite the three turnovers on Saturday, Quarles anticipates Riddle will remain the starting quarterback against VMI this Saturday.
“That’s the decision that we made right now,” Quarles said. “Now certainly, this week it could change.”
“It kills him,” Quarles said of Riddle watching back the film from Saturday. “He sees the mistakes right away and he knows where he messed up and wants to get it corrected. He takes it the right way – it’s just kind of where we are right now.”
Kickoff against VMI on Saturday is slated for 1 p.m.