By Cameron Wood, Staff Writer —
In a game of “what ifs,” the Mocs just couldn’t get it going against UT Martin. The following are a few key takeaways, highlighting the good and bad from the home opening loss.
UT Martin shuts down UTC offense
The UT Martin Skyhawks came in to Finley stadium and made a statement. Their defense stifled the UTC offense, which resulted in the Mocs not even getting a first down in the first half. UT Martin held UTC to just one touchdown in the second half as the Mocs fell 21-7 to a talented Skyhawk team. The Mocs ended the game with 150 total yards, and converted only 1-of-12 on third down.
“We put ourselves in some really tough third down situations,” said UTC Head Coach Tom Arth after the game. “We gotta do a better job, we really do and that goes for everybody involved, players and coaches alike.”
UTC defense held solid despite the scoreline
Despite being on the field for almost 37 minutes, the UTC defense did a good enough job of keeping the game close. UT Martin’s leading rusher, Ladarius Galloway was held to only 79 yards on 21 rushes, a far cry from his performance last week in the Skyhawks’ loss to Ole Miss when he had 188 yards on 24 carries.
Special teams show promise
With the UTC offense sputtering for the majority of the game, sophomore punter Colin Brewer, Chattanooga, got a lot of chances to showcase his abilities. He made good use of them, with his seven punts averaging 42.1 yards with a long of 48 yards. This is in contrast to Martin’s punter Brett Arkelian, who only averaged 39.3 yards with his kicks. In a game where the offense is struggling, a punter that can flip the field and force the opponent to work with bad field position could be a major positive going forward.
Receiving core spreads the love
The shaky first half did not keep sophomore quarterback Nick Tiano, Chattanooga, from throwing the ball. He only went four for six in the first half, but ended the game 13 for 27. Those passes ended up in the hands of eight different receivers, showing the ability to spread the ball around. Junior Bingo Morton, Atlanta, Georgia, was the greatest beneficiary, who had a career-high 75 yards on three receptions, the longest of which was a 59-yard catch that gave the Mocs their only touchdown of the game.
Davis leads defense
Leading both teams in tackles, senior Tae Davis, Oxford, Alabama, helped keep the game close for the Mocs. With seven tackles, five unassisted, Davis showed his seniority. Afterwards he continued to show maturity when speaking about the atmosphere in the locker room.
“We don’t want to drop our heads or point fingers,” said Davis. “We need to keep working hard and do our jobs. We know we are a very talented team. We definitely have the chance to do something special, but we need to stop talking about it and just do it.”
Check out the following video for footage of game day activities and game action against the UT Martin Skyhawks
*Video courtesy of UTC TV Studio, YouTube Channel