JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Wofford SID) – On Saturday afternoon, the Wofford College football team defeated East Tennessee State 35-17 at Greene Stadium. Joe Newman scored four rushing touchdowns on four straight possessions in the first half to take a 28-3 lead at the break. The Bucs scored the first two touchdowns of the second half to make it a 28-17 game. Wofford then put together a 15-play drive that covered 92 yards in over seven minutes to seal the win at 35-17.
Wofford is 3-2 overall and 2-1 in the Southern Conference. ETSU is 2-4 on the season and 0-3 in the league. The Terriers were led by Joe Newman with 185 rushing yards and four touchdowns, along with 49 passing yards. The Bucs were led by Trey Mitchell with 12-of-23 passing for 163 yards and a touchdown.
“We felt like we were in a good spot but then in the second half they came out moved the ball and scored some points,” said Wofford head coach Josh Conklin. “We didn’t get comfortable until that last drive. They are really talented on the defensive front and I knew it was going to be difficult. I am really happy with our execution on both sides of the ball. On offense we made some plays and made guys miss which was awesome to see. Joe is playing option football at a high level right now and is doing a lot of good things with confidence, which is a difference maker.”
The Terriers had the ball to open the game and after a first down faced a fourth-and-one near midfield. Joe Newman snuck for the first down, but Wofford had to punt to end the drive. The Bucs took over at the five-yard line but went three-and-out and punted. Wofford began their next drive with two penalties before a 22-yard first down catch by Landon Parker moved the ball across midfield. Ryan Lovelace and Blake Morgan added first downs before a one-yard touchdown run by Joe Newman made it 7-0 with 2:03 left in the first quarter.
On the next drive by the Bucs, Jireh Wilson had a tackle for loss that forced a three-and-out. After a Joe Newman first down run, Jason Hill came down with a tipped pass for a first down. Joe Newman then found a seam and went 59-yards for a touchdown to give Wofford a 14-0 lead with 12:53 on the clock in the second quarter. The Bucs used a 59-yard kick-off return to begin their next drive on the 35-yard line. After a first down, the Bucs hit a 27-yard field goal to make it a 14-3 game at the 10:07 mark in the quarter. Wofford used a 57-yard run by Jacquez Allen to move inside the 20-yard line and added a first down by Nathan Walker. Joe Newman ended the drive with an eight-yard touchdown run for a 21-3 lead with 7:40 left in the half.
The Bucs completed a pass but George Gbesee forced a fumble that was recovered by Ryan Titus at the 45-yard line. With the ball back, a first down run and a first down on penalty moved the Terriers inside the 20-yard line. Joe Newman scored his fourth touchdown of the half on a 15-yard run for a 28-3 advantage with 5:07 on the clock. On the next drive by the Bucs they had a first down. A sack by Tanner Barnes and Jireh Wilson on third down forced a punt. Blake Morgan had a first down at midfield before a holding penalty pushed the Terriers back. On fourth-and-one a Ryan Lovelace run picked up the first down with three seconds left. A deep pass on the final play of the half by Joe Newman was intercepted in the endzone.
To begin the second half, the Bucs had four first downs and scored on a two-yard run by Quay Holmes to cut the lead to 28-10 at the 10:23 mark. Wofford gained one first down before punting on the next possession. A sack by Austin Lufkin and Corey Prince on third down resulted in a three-and-out for the Bucs. The Terriers took over at midfield but went three-and-out and punted. The Bucs had a first down and then a 42-yard pass completion for a first down. On fourth-and-one, they gained a yard on the first play of the fourth quarter. A 26-yard touchdown pass to Quay Holmes on the next play made it a 28-17 game with 14:23 remaining. Wofford went three-and-out and punted with the Bucs taking over at midfield.
The Terrier defense forced a three-and-out and began their next drive on the eight-yard line with 11:00 left in the game. After a first down, Joe Newman ran for a 33-yard first down to move across the 50. Blake Morgan added two first downs and a first down catch by KeiAndre Sanders set-up a four-yard touchdown run by Miller Mosley. The Terriers had a 35-17 lead with 3:13 left in the contest. The Bucs had a first down and then had a pass on fourth-and-ten that was two yards short and Wofford took over on downs with 2:02 remaining. Miller Mosley ran for a first down and then the team took a knee to run out the clock.
Wofford had 464 total yards, with 409 rushing yards. ETSU had 258 total yards, 163 of which were passing. Wofford had 22 first downs, while ETSU had 11. Wofford was 5-of-11 on third down and 2-of-2 on fourth down. ETSU was 2-of-10 on third down and 1-of-2 on fourth down. Wofford was called for eight penalties to two for ETSU. Wofford had a 37:26 to 22:34 time of possession advantage.
Wofford vs. ETSU Post-Game Notes
Wofford leads the series 15-13, including the last nine games.
Jim Welsh and KeiAndre Sanders made their first career starts.
Joe Newman had a career-high 185 rushing yards, his second 100+ rushing game of the season and the fifth of his career.
George Gbesee led the team with six tackles, while Jireh Wilson, Austin Lufkin, Corey Prince and Tanner Barnes combined for three sacks.
Landon Parker had his first catch of the season in the first quarter.
Game captains were Joe Newman, Justus Basinger, Mason Alstatt, Jireh Wilson and Blake Morgan.
Attendance was 8,242 at Greene Stadium.
After an open date, the Terriers return home on October 19 against Western Carolina as part of homecoming weekend.