Bucs fall at Austin Peay in non-conference finale
Published 2:31 pm Sunday, September 17, 2023
CLARKSVILLE – Austin Peay scored on its first five possessions and ETSU football suffered a 63-3 setback to the Governors on Saturday night at Fortera Stadium in Clarksville.
Playing its final non-conference game, the Buccaneer defense surrendered 612 yards, while Austin Peay quarterback Mike DiLiello went 37-of-46 with a single-game program record 441 passing yards and five touchdowns. DiLiello completed passes to 11 different players and also ran one in for a score.
ETSU totaled 269 yards of offense with 192 yards coming on the ground. Freshman Torey Lambert (New Orleans, La.) led the backs with 51 yards on 12 carries, while Idaho transfer Zach Borisch (Kennewick, Wash.) totaled 47 rushing yards. Tommy Winton III (Knoxville, Tenn.) paced the receivers with three catches for 40 yards, marking his first collegiate receptions and receiving yards.
With injuries already limiting the Bucs at the quarterback position, ETSU lost two more on Saturday night as Baron May (New Philadelphia, Ohio) – who started the game – went down with an injury late in the second quarter. Timmy Dorsey (Overland Park, Kan.) then took over but left the game early in the third quarter and never returned. Haynes Eller (Ooltewah, Tenn.) became the third Buccaneer quarterback on the night and finished the contest.
The Govs’ first five scoring plays consisted of four passing and one rushing as APSU led 35-3 with less than six minutes to go in the first half. APSU’s special teams got in on the scoring in the third quarter when Kam Thomas returned a punt 89 yards for a touchdown and Garrett Hawkins capped things off with a defensive touchdown on a fumble return for a score in the fourth quarter.
Ewan Johnson (Knoxville, Tenn.) provided the only scoring for the Bucs as he made a 25-yard field goal with 12:34 remaining in the second quarter.
Stephen Scott (Greensboro, N.C.) and Sheldon Arnold II (Loganville, Ga.) each finished with 12 tackles, marking career highs for both players. Scott, who posted his third career double-digit tackle game, registered his 100th career hit on Saturday. Zach West (Boone, N.C.) also notched his 100th career tackle in the contest.
Nate Brackett (Rockwood, Tenn.) averaged 46.3 yards per punt, while he landed two inside the 20-yard line and had three soar over 50 yards.
Austin Peay ran 75 plays to ETSU’s 62, while the Govs were 8-of-13 on third down and 3-for-4 on fourth down. The Bucs went 2-for-14 on third down.
With the loss, ETSU – who made its first trip to Clarksville since 1977 – dipped to 1-2, while Austin Peay won its home opener and improved to 1-2.
Following its bye week, ETSU begins Southern Conference play as the Bucs travel to Birmingham, Ala. to take on Samford on Saturday, Sept. 30.