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ETSU Football Falls to No. 25 NC State In Season Opener
Saturday, August 31, 2002Raleigh, N.C. (August 31, 2002) -- Offense was scarce for the East Tennessee State football team on Saturday night as head coach Paul Hamilton's Buccaneers (0-1) were held scoreless in a 34-0 loss to No. 25 North Carolina State (2-0) at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh. ETSU quarterback Jatavis Sanders (Stone Mountain, Ga.), a former NC State transfer, struggled against the Wolfpack's swarming defense. Sanders completed just one pass in 10 attempts for a mere 11 yards. Fellow QB Dashannon Gamble (Ladson, S.C.) had less fortune moving the ball, instead giving it up twice on a pair of interceptions in three passing attempts. But Sanders and Gamble were not the only ones who struggled on the offensive end -- the Bucs as a team managed only 81 yards of total offense compared to 370 by NC State. Sanders was the team's leading rusher with 46 yards on 11 carries. Junior Nick Spearman (Summerville, S.C.) was the team's second leading ball carrier, averaging 4.5 yards per rush for a modest 18 yards and recorded the team's only reception on an eleven-yard completion by Sanders. The Buccaneers, which returned all 11 starters on the defensive side of the ball, held NC State quarterback Phillip Rivers in check most of the evening. Rivers, who was picked off by sophomore and honorable mention All-America selection Tony Tiller (Lithonia, Ga.) in the first half, accumulated 144 yards in the air on 11 of 13 passing under rainy conditions. Much of the Wolfpack's progress came on the ground as the hosts rushed for 190 total yards, including four touchdowns. NC State tailback Gregory Golden carried the ball seven times for 65 yards and found the endzone twice on three- and 14-yard scampers. Things weren't going well for ETSU from the opening kickoff, when Lamont Reid returned the kick 90 yards for a touchdown to give the Wolfpack an early 7-0 lead. NC State held the Bucs to just 35 yards on 36 plays in the first half and extended their lead to 21-0 at halftime. East Tennessee State will be happy to return home for next Saturday's contest, when the Bucs will play host to the Mars Hill Mountain Lions. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Memorial Center with tailgating festivities beginning at 3 p.m.
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