JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. — East Tennessee State played up to its nationally-ranked status in a convincing 38-6 victory over visiting Delaware State in the first meeting between the teams at William B. Greene Stadium Saturday night.
The start of the game was delayed for 30 minutes due severe weather in Johnson City area.
The Buccaneers, ranked 16th and 17th in the major Football Championship Subdivision polls entering the weekend, improved to 3-0, while the Hornets dropped their second straight game to fall to 1-2. East Tennessee State, which opened the season with 23-3 victory at Vanderbilt of the Southeast Conference, is undefeated after three games for the first time since 1999.
ETSU’s Quay Holmes and Jacob Saylors rushed for more than 100 yards and two touchdowns each, while the defense held Delaware State to 175 yards of total offense, keyed by seven sacks, including four by linebacker Jalen Porter.
Wide receiver Trey Gross had five receptions for 59 yards and the lone touchdown, while Kwannah Kollie returned six kickoffs for 167 yards (27.8 ypr) to stand out for the Hornets.
The Bucs had a field goal and three touchdowns on their first four possessions to open up a 24-0 lead in the second quarter.
On the kickoff following ETSU’s third touchdown, Kollie returned the ball 54 yards to the Bucs’ 38. Six plays later, Jared Lewis connected with Gross on an 18-yard touchdown pass. Gross caught the ball at the Bucs’ five yard line and broke a tackle before dashing to the end zone for his first touchdown this season and 17th of his career.
The extra point attempt was blocked, leaving the Hornets behind 24-6 with nine seconds to go before halftime.
Saylors rushed for a 36 yard touchdown and Holmes ran 64 yards to pay dirt as the Bucs’ outscored the Hornets 14-0 in the second half. Holmes racked up 157 rushing yards on 21 carries, while Saylors chipped in 109 on 11 attempts.
ETSU totaled 449 yards in the contest, including 309 rushing on 43 carries.
Delaware State forced two turnovers in the game, giving the Hornets nine for the season, including six interceptions.
Esaias Guthrie picked off a third quarter pass for his team-leading third interception of the season, the most by a Hornet since Jahad Neibauer had three in 2018. Guthrie was tied for the MEAC lead with two INTs entering this weekend and has three for his career.
Linebackers Brooks Parker and Kamari Jackson led the Hornets with seven tackles each vs. East Tennessee State. Fellow backer Maurio Going had five tackles and an 11-yard fumble return on a ball pried loose by Isaiah Williams in the fourth quarter.
Lewis was starting his first game of the season under center for the Hornets. He completed 10 of 18 passes for 108 yards (long 18) and a touchdown, but was sacked seven times by the ETSU defense, accounting for 64 lost yards.
Wade Inge came off the bench to rush for a team-high 43 yards on seven carries for the Hornets (6.1 ypc).
Delaware State is home for its next contest on Sep. 25 to take on Merrimack. Kick-off is set for 2:05 pm at Alumni Stadium.