ETSU look to build on shocking victory

By Matt Hill
STAR STAFF

   JOHNSON CITY -- Rand-McNally wouldn't be much of a help to the East Tennessee State football team right now. The Bucs don't need an atlas to tell them which direction they're going in.
   The Bucs are on an upswing following their 19-16 upset win over top-ranked Georgia Southern last Saturday night. ETSU will look to continue its upward climb this Saturday against the Charleston Southern Buccaneers, who come into the contest at 4-4. The game will be in Charleston.
   ETSU (3-4, 2-3 in the SoCon) is coming off one of its biggest wins in school history, if not the biggest. It definitely ranks right up there with the 1969 Grantland Rice Bowl win over Terry Bradshaw and Louisiana Tech.
   "A couple of the Grantland Rice Bowl guys came up to me after the game and said that was the biggest win in school history," ETSU head coach Paul Hamilton commented. "I had calls from all over the country. It gives our football program great credibility."
   Hamilton thought his players really wanted this one.
   "I was really proud of the effort that our players competed with in that game," Hamilton said. We talked all week long about winning, and I really believed we could win even though the odds were stacked up against us."
   Now the Bucs have to avoid suffering a letdown. They can point to some past ETSU victories, and what happened the following week.
   ETSU defeated N.C. State in 1987, only to lose to VMI the next week.
   Last season, the Bucs defeated top 10 ranked Furman, but then were slaughtered at Georgia Southern and lost to Wofford the next two weeks.
   "That concerns me," Hamilton said when asked about the Bucs having letdowns after big victories. "Every year we play Charleston Southern they get better. Now we have to play at their place. There is no question that this will be their biggest game of the year. I know they will be ready.
   Charleston Southern is coming off a 39-22 loss to 2-6 Elon College, but Hamilton is still very high on the other Buccaneer team.
   Those players that Hamilton has his eyes on are quarterback Jake Sills and receivers Travis Cunningham and Brad Moultrie.
   "They have an excellent quarterback," Hamilton said. "They kind of played him back and forth last year. They've made a commitment to him this year. He really has a strong arm, and can throw.
   "And they've got good receivers. They give you a lot of different schemes as far as throwing the football. They move the quarterback around a lot. They really concern you throwing the football.
   Even though Elon scored 39 on Charleston Southern last week, Hamilton is still worried about CSU's defense.
   "Their front seven are good football players," Hamilton said. "They're very tough in the box, and they bring a lot of pressure at you. They don't sit and wait. They're going to blitz us. They've got some people that can give you problems."
   This game was originally supposed to be played on November 17, but some rearranging was done after the terrorist attacks suspended a week of play to set the contest up for this week.
   ETSU was scheduled to play a tough Wofford team this week, but that game will now be on November 17. With the rescheduling, it sets things up very well for ETSU. 7-4 is a distinct possibility with the weaker part of the schedule coming up.
   "It could end up being a positive for us," Hamilton said. "I thought we were a good team Saturday night. I thought we played well. But I don't think we're the kind of football team that we ought to end up this season as.
   "I'm glad we have four football games left to play. I think some of the youth of this team is starting to grow up. We've got a chance now to bring out some successful wins down the stretch, and maybe end this season up regarded as a team that at the end of the year was playing as well as most people in 1-AA."
  
ETSU NOTES


   *Strong safety Gerald Sensabaugh was named the Southern Conference Freshman-of-the-Week for his performance against Georgia Southern. The former Dobyns-Bennett standout recorded eight tackles and an interception in ETSU's victory over the Eagles.
   "He is certainly deserving of it," Hamilton said. "I'm very proud of Gerald. He's a tremendous football player. He's the kind of young person that you like to have in your program. He can become very special in our program."