Last-second TD lifts ETSU over Furman, 17-13

Local sports

GREENVILLE, SC (WJHL) – For the first time since 1997, the Buccaneers snagged a gridiron victory at Furman – and on Saturday they did it with just seconds to spare.

ETSU (7-1, 4-1 SoCon) went to the air with just nine ticks left on the clock, as Tyler Riddell found Malik Murray in the back of the endzone for the go-ahead score. The Johnson City squad would hold on to win 17-13.

It was another slow start for Randy Sanders’ bunch, as they totaled less than 100 yards of total offense in the first half. The Paladins (4-3, 2-2 SoCon) posted a pair of eleven-play drive in the first half, but settled for field goals on both.

The Furman lead at the break was just 6-3.

They needed just four plays out of the locker room, however, to drive 78 yards and score a touchdown. Jace Wilson found Ryan Miller on a short pitch-and-catch to put the Paladins up 13-3.

ETSU would respond on the ground, as Quay Holmes scored from two yards out to cut the deficit, 13-10.

That’s how the score would stay until Riddell’s late-game heroics. He finished the game 22-of-30 for 177 yards and a touchdown.

“I told them if there’s ever an example of again,  you just play the next play, the scoreboard is 0-0 go win the next play and you don’t quit winning the next play until the time is off the clock,” head coach Randy Sanders said after the game.

The Bucs finished with 322 total yards after a quiet first half. Both coaches and players knew the mistakes were self-inflicted, but cleaned it up just in time to earn a victory.

“Offensively we felt like things were there the whole game, we just found ways to mess it up ourselves,” Sanders said. He carried the ball 18 times on the afternoon for 112 yards and a score.

“We knew we were just beating ourselves, it’s not like they were doing anything out of the ordinary,” running back Quay Holmes said. “We knew we were beating ourselves and we came out in the second half and needed to get back to doing our own thing and playing how we play.”

A victory at the Paladins’ place for the first time in 24 years is also something this team and program won’t soon forget.

“This would be a great memory when you get old and your sitting around and looking back and this is one you cherish for a long time.”

The Buccaneers will enter a bye week still atop the Southern Conference. They will return to action on Homecoming, November 6, as they welcome in VMI for a 1 p.m. kickoff.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories