Photo Gallery compiled by Assistant Photo Editor Cade Deakin. Photos by Cade Deakin, Troy Stolt, Elian Richter, and Jackson Hollis.
Written By Madison Reed, Staff Writer—
After a strong start offensive, it was the Mocs’ defense that gave them a chance to upset No. 6 Wofford. The best example of that came in the fourth quarter.
“Our defense gave opportunities to our offense,” UTC coach Tom Arth said. “That is one thing we talked about at halftime, was the importance of stops have to equate to points. We have to do a good job of feeding off each other.”
The Terriers were leading in the fourth quarter 14-10 when linebacker Marshall Cooper, Hixson, Tenn. forced a fumble that linebacker Tavon Lawson, Talladega, Al. recovered.
“That was a great moment; defense did a great job for us,” quarterback Nick Tiano, Chattanooga, Tenn. said. “That is the spot where we have to go down and put points on the board for us. Unfortunately, we came up a little short. We put up a decent drive but couldn’t finish it.”
When the Mocs couldn’t capitalize on the Terriers’ mistake, the game was essentially over. Or at least it was after Wofford, on the first play of its ensuing possession after UTC punted, scored a touchdown on quarterback Joe Newman’s 66-yard run. The Terriers went ahead 21-10, and that was the final score.
UTC took on the No. 1 defense in the SoCon., which game into the game allowing average of 16.5 points per game. UTC is second with allowing 19.8.
“I think early on in the game we struggled to get stops. They went down the field pretty effortlessly on their first two possessions,” Arth said. “From there, we really made some adjustments on the defensive side and were able to get a lot of stops.”
The game was a confrontation between a team that does most of its damage on the ground versus a passing offense. Wofford averages 375.5 rushing yards—second in the nation-—and 118.3 passing yards, whereas Chattanooga averages 106 rushing yards and 288.4 passing yards.
Chattanooga has gained a significant amount of mileage—literally—between Tiano and wide receiver Bryce Nunnelly, Cleveland, Tenn. this season, but tonight the magic was not there.
Going into the game, Nunnelly was leading the SoCon and second in the nation with an average of 144.2 receiving yards per game.
The duo started off the game strong with a touchdown pass Tiano to Nunnelly with Chattanooga’s first possession—the only touchdown for The Mocs.
“We didn’t run the ball as well as we had hoped,” Arth said. ”We came out in the second half and got a couple runs, which was good. We thought we would be able to continue to run it, but unfortunately we struggled. That is something that hurt us last week and certainly hurt us again this week, having the inability to run it without any kind of consistency makes it tough for us offensively. “
Arth stressed when the team was 4-0 that it was not playing at the level to continue to win games. He turned out to be a prophet..
“We have to improve; we are not playing well enough to continue to be successful without making these improvements.” Arth said. “We are kind of the same team. If you are not improving, then it is going to be tough. We have got to continue to find ways to get better.”
The Mocs are 4-2 and 2-2 in the SoCon, but they still harbor hope to make it to the NCAA FCS playoffs.