JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (AP) — Jacob Saylors scored three touchdowns in the first quarter and East Tennessee State, ranked No. 11 in the FCS preseason poll, rolled to a 44-7 win over Division II Mars Hill in a season-opening college football game on Thursday night.
It was a stress-free debut for new coach George Quarles after replacing Randy Sanders, who retired after the Buccaneers set a school record with 11 wins and reached the FCS quarterfinals. Quarles was an assistant at Furman the last five seasons and is in four Tennessee halls of fame, including the Tennessee Football Coaches after going 250-16 in 22 seasons at Maryville High School.
Saylors, the Southern Conference preseason Offensive Player of the Year, had scoring runs of 40 and 1-yard sandwiched around a 2 9-yard touchdown reception from Tyler Riddell as the Buccaneers led 20-0 after one quarter. Riddell added another TD strike in the second quarter and it was 34-0 at halftime.
Jimmy Urza threw a 5-yard pass to Ty Snelson in the third quarter for the Mars Hill score. That came after Riddell’s third touchdown pass. Riddell finished 14 of 19 for 197 yards passing.
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