By Abe Avila, Staff Writer—
Last weekend the Chattanooga Mocs traveled to south Florida on Saturday resulting in a 41-20 loss to Jacksonville State. The Mocs fall to 1-1 on the season meanwhile Jacksonville State receives their first win of the year.
The Mocs trailed for the entire duration of the contest, but threatened in the third quarter after Nick Tiano, Chattanooga, made two connections totaling 36 yards to freshman wide receiver Lameric Tucker, Cleveland, Tenn., and one 16 yard reception to sophomore Bryce Nunnelly, Cleveland, Tenn., resulted in a first and goal. Freshman running back Ailym Ford, Florence, S.C., scored to cut the lead down to 27-20.
“I told them in the locker room, here is what is going to happen,” Head Coach Rusty Wright said. “We are going to go back out there and get it close and figure out a way to win it in the fourth quarter. That is what you have to do down here during these games. We were not strong-willed enough or disciplined enough to take care of things in the end.”
Ford raked in 127 rushing yards on the night adding to the Mocs’ total rushing yards of 156-the most since 2016 against Sam Houston State in the FCS playoffs.
“It comes from hard work and my team,” Ford said. “I could not have done it without my team. I am just proud of them.”
Quarterback Nick Tiano went 14-28 passing for 147 yards and earned his third career rushing TD.
Sophomore Bryce Nunnelly had a game-high eight catches for 87 yards. He has 5+ catches in each of his last 13 games.
For Jacksonville, quarterback Zerrick Cooper threw for 344 yards on 20 of 26 passing with one interception and two TDs. The Gamecocks tallied 509 yards total offense behind Cooper’s efforts.
This loss was First time the Mocs allowed over 30 points to an FCS opponent since a 41-17 loss at Furman on Oct. 7, 2017 however head coach Rusty Wright praised his team for how they fought.
“They will play hard, there is no question,” Wright said. “Those cats, we may not play smart all of the time, but they will play hard. They put it out there and gave themselves a chance. We have to make some plays when there is a chance to make some plays and turn momentum our way.”
On the defensive side of the ball linebacker Marshall Cooper, Hixson, Tenn., had a dominant performance with a game-high 10 tackles—his fifth career game with 10+ tackles and second in a row.
Next up the Chattanooga Mocs will travel to Knoxville on Saturday to square off in a much anticipated game against the Tennessee Volunteers in Neyland Stadium.