CULLOWHEE, N.C. (AP) — Cole Gonzales threw five touchdown passes, three in the third quarter, to power FCS No. 21 Western Carolina to a 58-7 rout of East Tennessee State in the Blue Ridge Border Battle on Saturday.
The Buccaneers grabbed a first-quarter lead when they answered Richard McCollum's opening 32-yard field goal with a 3-yard touchdown run from Trey Foster to take a 7-3 lead with 7:46 left to play in the first quarter.
Gonzales hit David White Jr. with a 40-yard TD in the first quarter and followed that with a 38-yard strike to Censere Lee in the second. He opened the third quarter with a 5-yard toss to White, then hit Ajay Belanger from 31 yards out and capped his day with a 6-yard pass to Branson Adams.
Brody Palhegyi came on in the fourth quarter and connected with Clayton Bardall for a 27-yard touchdown.
Richard McCollum converted field goals from 41 and 24 yards out and was 6 for 6 on PATs.
Gonzales threw five TD passes for the second time in the last three games after doing so in a 45-38 loss to Mercer. He finished 25 of 38 for 363 yards. Overall, the Catamounts (7-3, 5-2 Southern Conference) piled up 513 yards with four quarterbacks completing passes. Adams finished with 17 carries for 110 yards and a touchdown and pulled in seven passes for 73 yards and a score. Lee caught seven passes for 127 yards.
East Tennessee State (1-6, 2-8) was limited to just eight first downs and 215 total yards of offense.
Western Carolina closes out the regular season at VMI on Saturday.
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AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/college-football