Mocs struggle on the ground, fall 21-10 to #6 Wofford


CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC Athletics) — The Chattanooga Mocs dropped a hard-fought 21-10 decision to No. 6 Wofford at Finley Stadium Saturday afternoon. A hot start for both teams, became a defensive standstill.

It was 14-10 Terriers after Lennox McAfee plunged in from four yards out. That score came with 10:54 left in the second quarter. All went quiet for both offenses from there.

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Wofford was driving early in the fourth quarter when Michael Bean stuffed Andre Stoddard for no gain on a second-and-1 at the UTC 37. The Terriers went with the razzle-dazzle on third-and-1 as T.J. Luther came around on the reverse and streaked down the right sideline. He cut back inside the 10 where he was stripped of the ball by Marshall Cooper. D.J. Jackson scooped it up at the two and returned in 18 yards to the Wofford 20.

The Mocs could not build on that momentum. A three-and-out was followed by quarterback Joe Newman keeping on the triple option play around the left end. Sixty-six yards later, the Terriers led 21-10.

The home team was not deterred. It immediately began its best drive of the second half. Nick Tiano’s two-yard screen to Bryce Nunnelly netted a first down. Two plays later, Tyrell Price bulled his way for three yards and another first at his own 46.

Tiano then looked deep for Wil Young. He forced his defender into a pass interference call and the Mocs were in business in Terrier territory. The defense held as a fourth-and-two offering just eluded the grasp of Nunnelly. That essentially ended the contest for the Mocs as Wofford ran 17 of the final 18 plays.

The Terriers amassed 511 yards of total offense, 442 on the ground. The Mocs were limited to 186 with a season-low 21 rushing.

The first four possessions of the game led to scores. The Mocs started the game on their own 25 and marched 75 yards in a season-long 6:57 for the early lead on Tiano’s 11-yard hook up with Nunnelly.

Wofford responded with its own 72-yard answer on the ensuing possession with Newman scoring on a 12-yard dart. Victor Ulmo drilled a 42-yarder on the second drive as the offense stalled at its own 25. The visitors then drove 80 yards with McAfee’s aforementioned score making it look like a shootout was starting at Finley Stadium before both defenses settled in.

Chattanooga: 4-2 | 2-2 SoCon
No. 6 Wofford: 4-1 | 3-0 SoCon

UTC trails 11-14 in the series…8-6 at home vs. the Terriers.

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

“I think early on in the game we struggled to get stops. They went down the field pretty effortlessly on their on their first two possessions. From there, I think we really made some adjustments on the defensive side. We were able to get a number of stops. I think we played really well throughout the second quarter and third quarter. Other than the one big touchdown run in the second half, I thought we played really well defensively.” – Coach Tom Arth

“They definitely had control of time of possession. That hurts our defense. Our defense has bailed us out plenty of times. We have to find a way to help them. We didn’t do that today.” – Senior WR Wil Young

Three notes from today’s contest. Check out the full complement of facts and figures in the link above.
– For the second time this year, Tiano completed his first 10 passes of the game. First time was at UT Martin on Sept. 15.
– First game this season the squad did not record a play of 20 or more yards. Entered the contest with 23 (4 rushing/19 passing) thus far.
– Bryce Nunnelly ended the game with eight catches. He’s had five or more every contest averaging 7.8 per game. That’s the longest stretch on record to start the season. Cos DeMatteo ended the 2000 season with eight in a row.

Check out the final stats at the link above. Here are three stats of note…
– Michael Bean had a career-high 17 tackles. That’s the most since Nakevion Leslie’s 19 at The Citadel on Oct. 15, 2016.
– The Mocs dominated possession in the first quarter holding the ball for 10:13. They posted 12:39 over the remaining 45 minutes as Wofford ended up with 37:08 in total time of possession.
– UTC was -25 in plays run as the Terriers held a 74-49 advantage.

The Mocs head east to Western Carolina next Saturday. The 3:30 p.m., kickoff airs on ESPN+. Wofford stays on the road with the short trip to Furman at 1 p.m., also on ESPN+.