Joe Newman ran for four touchdowns in the first half, staking Wofford to a big lead, and the Terriers held on for a 35-17 victory over ETSU in a Southern Conference game Saturday at Greene Stadium.
“You have to give Wofford credit, but we did a pretty good job helping them on both sides,” ETSU coach Randy Sanders said. “Our offense laid an egg on the first two possessions and our defense couldn’t slow them down or stop them. It was pretty easy to see why we could get in a hole.”
The Terriers (3-2, 2-1) and Bucs (2-4, 0-3) shared the conference title with Furman last season.
This game was decided before halftime after Wofford dominated every aspect of the game in jumping out to a 28-3 advantage.
In the first two quarters, Wofford outgained the Bucs 331-53 in total yards. At that point, Newman had 122 rushing yards, exactly 100 more than ETSU. The Terriers ran 39 plays to the Bucs’ 18 and held the ball 11 minutes more.
“It’s definitely frustrating,” ETSU linebacker Blake Bockrath said. “We have to play better as a defense. We have to prepare better.”
Newman’s touchdowns came on runs of 1, 59, 8 and 15 yards and he finished with 185 yards on 22 carries. He also completed 3 of 6 passes for 49 yards.
“He’s playing the best football of his career as he should as a senior,” Wofford coach Josh Conklin said. “I’m really happy for him. He’s such a difference-maker for us.”
ETSU’s lone points in the first half came on a 27-yard field goal from Tyler Keltner.
SECOND HALF, SECOND EFFORT
Whatever Sanders told the team at halftime seemed to work. ETSU put together its first sustained possession of the day to start the second half, a 75-yard, nine-play drive that ended with Quay Holmes’ 2-yard touchdown run.
The Bucs scored again early in the fourth quarter when quarterback Trey Mitchell somehow eluded a pass rusher, spun and fired a bullet to a wide-open Holmes at the goal line for a 26-yard touchdown. Mitchell pumped his fist and moments later Keltner’s extra point brought the Bucs to within 28-17.
Holmes had kept the drive alive with a fourth-down conversion one play before his touchdown catch.
“I told them at halftime I thought we got our butt kicked pretty good and it was up to us to make up our mind whether we’re going to take it or fight back,” Sanders said.
The Bucs’ defense got the ball back again, giving the offense a chance to further cut into the deficit, but a three-and-out slowed the momentum.
ETSU held Wofford to 22 yards in the third quarter, but the Terriers finally put together a drive just when they needed it the most. They kept the ball for almost eight minutes and scored again with 3:13 left on a 4-yard run by backup quarterback Phillip Mosley to make it 35-17.
The Bucs’ day ended when they completed a pass for 8 yards on fourth-and-10 with two minutes remaining. That allowed Wofford to run out the clock.
BY THE NUMBERS
Wofford ended up with 464 total yards, 409 on the ground. The Bucs gained 258.
Mitchell completed 12 of 23 passes for 163 yards. Keith Coffee and Isaiah Wilson each caught four passes.
Jacob Saylors was the Bucs’ leading rusher with 64 yards on 12 carries.
ETSU gets a week off before heading to Chattanooga for a Thursday night game on Oct. 17. Wofford, also entering its bye week, hosts Western Carolina on Oct. 19.