Opportunity No. 4 was one for the ages.
In a game that featured four lead changes in the fourth quarter and a game-tying Tyler Keltner (Tallahassee, Fla.) field goal at the end of regulation, the ETSU football team kept its perfect record intact as Quay Holmes (Powder Springs, Ga.) provided the game-winning touchdown in overtime, lifting the 15th-ranked Buccaneers to a thrilling 55-48 win at Samford on Saturday afternoon from Seibert Stadium.
With both teams combining for 1,259 yards of total offense, the Bucs finished with a season-high 531 yards, while red-shirt freshman quarterback Tyler Riddell (Tampa, Fla.) threw for a career-high 291 yards and accounted for four touchdowns (three passing/one rushing). ETSU rushed for 240 yards – 168 coming from Holmes – marking a season-high for the red-shirt junior. Holmes, who also rushed for two touchdowns, registered the 14th 100-yard rushing of his career. The kickoff return game was also critical as Jacob Saylors (Jasper, Tenn.) posted a career-best 71-yard return and followed that up with a 50-yarder both of which set up fourth-quarter touchdown drives. Defensively, Donovan Manuel (Ellenwood, Ga.) was one of four Bucs to register double-digit tackles as his career-high 13th hit on the final play stopped running back Jay Stanton five yards short of the first down marker, sending the ETSU sideline into a frenzy.
The Bucs are off to their best start since 1999 as ETSU improved to 4-0 overall and 1-0 in conference play, while Samford dipped to 2-2, 1-1. ETSU secured the first-ever win over Samford in Birmingham and it’s only the sixth time in program history the Blue and Gold have started the season with four straight wins.