ETSU Homecoming spoiled by visiting Bulldogs ETSU drops third consecutive one-possession game, 31-27

Published 12:50 am Tuesday, November 5, 2019


JOHNSON CITY – The ETSU Buccaneers saw another victory slip from their hands late in the fourth quarter as the Blue & Gold fell to The Citadel, 31-27.

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ETSU made one final push after falling behind for the first time in the game and came up one-yard short of the endzone in their final drive. Following the loss, ETSU drops to 2-7 on the season and 0-6 in league play.

The Bulldogs improved to 6-4, including 4-2 in Southern Conference action.

The Bucs put seven points on the board in their opening drive for the first time this season as Trey Mitchell (Knoxville) found Will Huzzie (Duluth, Ga.) on a route across the middle for the 59-yard touchdown reception.

The 59-yard pass and catch set career longs for both players and the second career touchdown reception from Huzzie.

The Citadel answered back on their first possession of the game as Brandon Rainey punched the ball in from one-yard out to even the score at seven apiece. All 78 yards on the scoring drive for the Bulldogs came via the ground game.

ETSU outscored the Bulldogs 6-3 in the final 21:51 of the opening half as Tyler Keltner (Tallahassee, Fla.) connected on a pair of field goals, one from 35 yards out and a chip shot from 21 yards away.

The Citadel’s Jacob Godek booted a 21-yard field goal through the uprights himself to trim the ETSU lead to 13-10 before halftime.

The Bucs scored on their first drive of the second half as the defense forced a three-and-out and ETSU’s Malik McGue (Johnson City) returned a punt 13 yards to The Citadel 31-yard line.

A critical three-yard rush on 4th-and-1 from Mitchell kept the drive alive for the Bucs, who then scored five plays later as Mitchell found Anthony Spagnoletti (Bealeton, Va.) in the left corner of the endzone for the 20-10 advantage.

After The Citadel used just five plays to punch the ball into the endzone to trim the ETSU lead back to three, the Bucs went back to work on a 13-play, 75-yard scoring drive that ate 6:43 off the clock.

The drive was led by 57 combined rushing yards from Quay Holmes (Powder Springs, Ga.) and Jacob Saylors (Jasper). Mitchell capped the drive off with his third passing touchdown of the game, finding Jawan Martin (Decatur)wide open from two yards out to put ETSU back on top 27-17.

However, the Bulldogs would not go away as Rainey found the endzone for the second time in the game with a 1-yard rush to pull The Citadel back within three following a 10-play, 65-yard drive.

The Bucs were forced to punt on their next drive after Mitchell’s pass slipped through the hands of Keith Coffee (Miami, Fla.) deep into The Citadel territory on third down.

Two plays after the punt, Rainey found Raleigh Webb for the go-ahead score on a 73-yard touchdown pass, the first lead for the Bulldogs and final lead change of the game.

ETSU made one final push on its final drive of the game after Mitchell found Huzzie for a 34-yard catch and Coffee two plays later with a 28-yard reception down to the Bulldogs’ 6-yard line.

Following three consecutive incompletions, Mitchell found Nate Adkins (Knoxville) at the goal line on fourth down.

However, The Citadel defenders kept Adkins from stretching across the pylons, holding the Bucs to one-yard short of the go-ahead drive.


First Quarter

  • ETSU 7, The Citadel 0: For the first time since Sept. 7, the Bucs scored a touchdown in the first quarter and doing so on the opening drive for the first time this season. Trey Mitchell found Will Huzzie for a 59-yard touchdown strike, the longest pass for Mitchell and longest reception for Huzzie in their young careers. Mitchell’s pass capped a 5-play, 75-yard drive.
  • ETSU 7, The Citadel 7: The Bulldogs evened the game on their first drive from scrimmage, marching 78 yards in 12 plays, eating 6:51 off the clock. All 78 yards were on the ground as quarterback Brandon Rainey punched the ball in for a 1-yard touchdown.
  • ETSU 10, The Citadel 7: ETSU reclaimed the lead thanks to Tyler Keltner’s 35-yard field goal, capping off a 10-play, 57-yard drive that lasted 4:26. The field goal was set up by yet another Mitchell-Huzzie connection, this time a 32-yard reception to The Citadel 35-yard line. Seven plays later, Keltner buried his 10th field goal of the season.

Second Quarter

  • ETSU 13, The Citadel 7: ETSU extended its lead to six after a second field goal from Keltner, this time a 21-yard chip shot. Keltner’s field goal was aided by a 31-yard rush from Quay Holmes and a 12-yard scamper from Chance Thrasher. The Florida native’s field goal capped a 9-play, 62-yard drive.
  • ETSU 13, The Citadel 10: The Bulldogs scored the final points of the opening half with a 21-yard field goal from Jacob Godek, putting an end to a 12-play, 71-yard drive to close The Citadel gap to just three.

Third Quarter

  • ETSU 20, The Citadel 10: The Bucs scored on their first possession of the second half as Mitchell found Anthony Spagnoletti for a 6-yard touchdown catch with the left-shoulder fade. The Bucs took the ball over at The Citadel 31 and took nine plays and 4:39 to record their second touchdown score of the game.
  • ETSU 20, The Citadel 17: The Bulldogs wasted no time in answering with a touchdown of their own, driving 65 yards on five plays and just 2:09 off the clock as Nkem Njoku rushed the ball into the endzone from five yards out. Dante Smith set up the scoring drive with a 49-yard run down to the ETSU 5-yard line.

Fourth Quarter

  • ETSU 27, The Citadel 17: The Bucs reclaimed the 10-point advantage early in the fourth quarter after Mitchell passed for his third touchdown of the game, finding Jawan Martin in the endzone for a 6-yard touchdown strike. Jacob Saylors and Quay Holmes combined for 57 yards rushing on the 75-yard drive to set up the score.
  • ETSU 27, The Citadel 24: The Bulldogs responded yet again, rushing the ball from one-yard out as Rainey found the endzone for the second time. Rainey’s rush was set up by a 65-yard drive, including a 16-yard pass from Rainey to Remus Bulmer down to the ETSU 1-yard line.
  • The Citadel 31, ETSU 27: The Citadel scored the go-ahead touchdown with 4:18 remaining in the game as Rainey found Raleigh Webb for a 73-yard touchdown pass on the second play of the drive. The touchdown gave the Bulldogs their first lead, a lead that would not be relinquished.


  • As a team, ETSU totaled over 200 rushing yards for the third time this season after registering 224 yards on 39 carries (5.7 yards per run) … Overall, the Blue and Gold outgained The Citadel, 428 to 383 … The Bucs completed 15 passes for 204 yards.
  • After holding the Bulldogs to 150 yards on their first 37 plays, The Citadel totaled 213 yards and three touchdowns on its final 20 plays.
  • ETSU posted 10 plays of 10 yards or more, including three pass plays over 30 yards and two rushing plays over 20 yards.
  • Trey Mitchell’s 59-yard touchdown pass to Will Huzzie on ETSU’s first scoring drive of the game was the longest completion of his collegiate career … The catch was also the longest of Huzzie’s collegiate career and it marked the first time the Bucs scored a touchdown on their opening drive this season.
  • Will Huzzie became ETSU’s first wide receiver with over 100 yards since Quan Harrison had 112 yards vs. Mars Hill in the 2018 season opener.
  • Quay Holmes recorded his fifth 100-yard rushing game and first of the 2019 season after totaling a career-high 120 yards on 20 carries … Holmes was never tackled behind the line of scrimmage on Saturday … The 120 rushing yards and 20 carries were both the most by a Buccaneer player this season … In total, Holmes finished with 210 all-purpose yards as he also added 90 kickoff return yards.
  • Freshman Tyler Keltner made both field-goal attempts on Saturday and has now moved to 11-of-13 on the season.
  • Redshirt junior defensive lineman Olajuwon Pinkelton (Cincinnati, Ohio) made his first collegiate start on Saturday – totaling a career-high nine tackles.
  • The Bucs have now dropped five consecutive games and are now 1-5 this season in games decided by seven points or less.
  • Saturday’s attendance of 8,674 was the largest Homecoming crowd in the young history of Greene Stadium … It also marked the 13th sellout crowd in the 17 games played inside the stadium.


ETSU will travel to Cullowhee, N.C. on Saturday, Nov. 9 for the Bucs next Southern Conference game. Kickoff at E.J. Whitmire Stadium has been scheduled for 3:30 p.m.