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Herink delivers unexpected contribution on the ground

Douglas Fritz • Nov 17, 2018 at 6:57 PM

Austin Herink can run. How fast is up for debate.

“I’m 53 years old, and I can outrun him,” said ETSU head football coach Randy Sanders.

Replied Herink, “We haven’t raced, but he’s got a lot of athletic prowess. I wouldn’t put it past him.”

On Saturday, his accomplishments outweighed his previous standards. It wasn’t enough in the final analysis, but his footwork was one of ETSU’s best weapons. Herink rushed for a pair of scores, and even had a career-long run as ETSU fell short in a 38-27 decision to Samford that forced it to share the Southern Conference championship.

Coming into the game with 93 net yards rushing on the season, Herink carried eight times for 64 yards. He had a career-high 42-yard run, and also scored on runs of 1 and 11 yards — both coming in the second quarter as ETSU built its second 10-point lead of the game.

“How he has plus yards rushing for the year, I will never know,” said Sanders. “The guy has grit. He competes, he fights and he battles. Sixty-four yards, are you kidding me? And a 42-yard run? That is just heart and determination.”

TOUCHDOWN RUNS

Herink made his first big splash on a short touchdown run in the second quarter. He scrambled on the passing play from the 11-yard line and was hit hard at the six. He broke that tackle, regained momentum, and Samford had no chance to deny him a score when he was hit again at the 2-yard line.

“I saw they were in man and didn’t have anybody playing the quarterback,” said Herink. “No one was open, so I just took off and ran. It was just one of those things where you run as hard as you can.”

It was the first of his two scores with the other being a 1-yard run on a quarterback sneak, giving ETSU a 24-14 lead with 1:48 remaining before halftime.

THE BIG RUN

Just a couple of plays after buying seven yards by faking directions to the receivers for a deep ball, Herink got to the edge and scooted down the sideline for 42 yards.

“Coach talks about keeping the defenders playing the pass as long as possible,” said Herink. “I tried to do that. I got great blocks, obviously. I have to get good blocking for someone as slow as me. I was just going to run and get as many yards as I could get.”

THE AIR GAME

As a passer, Herink was 18 of 34 for 186 yards. He didn’t have any touchdowns, threw one interception, and was sacked twice.

THE LONG RUN

If the Bucs don’t get the postseason call Sunday, Herink said the players won’t like it but will deal with it.

“It would certainly be upsetting,” he said. “We would like to continue to play. But the coaches all say control what you can control. And I think we’re at peace that we’ve done everything we can do to continue to play.”

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