Mocs Quarterbacks Alejandro Bennifield and Nick Tiano Both Injured in 45-7 Loss to Western Carolina

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(gomocs.com) CHATTANOOGA—The Chattanooga Mocs lost their Southern Conference home opener 45-7 to Western Carolina in Finley Stadium. It dropped the home squad to 1-4 on the year, 1-1 in league play, while the visitors moved to 4-1, 2-0 in the conference.

Turnovers were costly. Twenty-one of the 45 points came from fumbles recovered in the end zone or deep in Mocs territory. Western accumulated 392 yards of total offense compared to 172 for the Mocs. The rushing attack accounted for 222 led by Corey Holloway’s game-high 105.

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The Mocs used three different quarterbacks due to injuries to starter Alejandro Bennifield (1st quarter) and Nick Tiano (4th quarter). Richardre Bagley led the effort on the ground with 34 yards on 10 carries, while Bingo Morton grabbed six catches for 49 yards.

The Catamounts opened the scoring with a Holloway 1-yard run in the first quarter. It reached 10-0 after Will Horton’s 39-yard field goal.

Two second quarter fumble recoveries in the end zone on sacks sent the visitors into the break ahead 24-0. Holloway’s second score from a yard out came from a fumble on a fake punt that the Cats recovered at the Mocs 1.

Along with Holloway, Tyrie Adams had 169 yards of total offense. He threw for 125 and ran for 44. Jordan Mathis added five catches for 56 yards and a score. The defense recorded seven sacks with two each from Ezavian Dunn and Tahjal Watt.

NOTABLE
Three notes from tonight’s contest. Check out the full complement of facts and figures in the link above.
– Four sacks tonight are a season high for the Mocs defense.
– 392 yards total offense is a season low for WCU (435 at Gardner-Webb) which came into tonight averaging nearly 575 yards per game.
– Dominic Caldwell threw for a touchdown on his first career pass. He connected with Darrell Bridges on the 6-yard score.

QUOTABLE
Check out all we heard at the quotes link at the top of this story.

“There’s a sour taste in our mouth right now that we don’t like, and we’re not used to. We’re facing adversity, we’ll see what we’re about. I believe in my teammates, I believe in our coaches…we’ll get it turned around.” – Senior LB Tae Davis.

STATS
Check out the final stats at the link above. Here are three stats of note…
– Tavon Lawson tied for team-high honors with eight tackles and a career-best 1.5 sacks.
– Two of Western Carolina’s six touchdowns were scored on fumbles recovered in the end zone, while another came after a fumble recovered at the UTC 1.
– Bingo Morton’s six catches are a career high. He has 11 receptions over the last two weeks.

NEXT UP
The Mocs are back in Finley Stadium next Saturday for Homecoming weekend. They host Furman for a 4 p.m., kick on ESPN3.

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Rick Nyman grew up in Anniston, Alabama and attended the University of Alabama. His television career started at WJSU-TV in Anniston where he had the opportunity to cover SEC football with Alabama and Auburn. Anniston is just 20 minutes from the Talladega Speedway, so NASCAR was a big part of his sports coverage. Due to this he was able to interview Davey Allison, Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon, and several other top-name NASCAR drivers. Rick's next television job was in Savannah, Georgia, where he covered basketball player Kwame Brown (now with the Washington Wizards), who later became the first ever high school player selected as the top pick in the NBA draft. He covered the PGA Tour's annual swing thru Hilton Head and also had the opportunity of covering the Atlanta Falcons Super Bowl appearance in 1999 in Miami. Rick especially enjoys all the atmosphere, tradition and drama of college football. He also likes profiling sports personalities and learning what drives them both on and off the field. If he's not covering sports, he's either watching Seinfield or David Letterman, playing golf, reading, or working out. What he enjoys about Chattanooga is the passion people have for sports. The mountainous region of Chattanooga reminds him of his hometown of Anniston, which also has big, beautiful trees and plenty of hills. You can contact Rick at rnyman@wdef.com.