JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. - In a game that featured more than two hours of weather delays, the VMI football team battled to a signature 31-24 overtime victory over ETSU late Saturday night/Sunday morning at Greene Stadium in Johnson City, Tennessee.
With the win, VMI (2-1, 1-0) earned its first Southern Conference victory since the 2016 season when the Keydets took down ETSU by a 37-7 score in Lexington.
Trailing 24-21 late in the game after a 61-yard rushing touchdown by ETSU, the Keydets marched down the field aided by a 29-yard dash by Alex Ramsey up the middle that set up a 30-yard field goal by Grant Clemons to knot the score at 24 apiece and force overtime.
In the extra period, VMI quarterback Reece Udinski looked to senior Javeon Lara on every play and connected with him on a 21-yard reception that saw Lara break a tackle and scamper down the sideline for what proved to be the game-winning score to put VMI up, 31-24. ETSU advanced to the VMI 5-yard line on their overtime possession, but a one-yard rush and three consecutive incomplete passes sealed the win for VMI as the Keydets rushed the field in elation.
"Our team displayed our core values of grit, brotherhood, and purpose in an epic contest with the defending SoCon champions in their backyard," said VMI head coach Scott Wachenheim. "My coaching staff led by offensive coordinator Brian’s Sheppard, defensive coordinator Tom Clark, and special teams coordinator Chris Moore remained positive and made critical adjustments throughout the ball game. Our players and staff earned this victory and I am proud of each and every one of them."
In a game that was supposed to begin at 7:30 p.m., the game did not start until 8:42 p.m. Additional lightning bolt in the area forced another delay just a few minute before halftime. The teams would eventually go into the break tied at seven apiece.
VMI went up 14-7 early in the third quarter before ETSU trimmed it to four following an Buccaneer field goal. Following an ETSU touchdown, VMI would regain the lead on a one-yard rush by Ramsey to go ahead, 21-17.
Running back Alex Ramsey earned a career-high 11 receptions in the win to go with 16 rushes for 57 net yards. Senior receiver Rohan Martin grabbed a career-high nine receptions and sophomore Jakob Herres also earned a career high eight grabs for a single game.
Udinski finished the game throwing 38 completions for 281 yards and two touchdowns on 64 attempts with no interceptions.
The Keydets return to action at home next Saturday, Sept. 21 against Robert Morris. Kickoff is slated for a 1:30 p.m. start at Foster Stadium.