(gomocs.com) CHATTANOOGA—The Chattanooga Mocs claimed a hard-fought 34-27 Homecoming win over VMI at Finley Stadium Saturday afternoon. The squad used a mix of quick-strike and grind-it-out offense balanced by a powerful pass rush to get the victory.
The Keydets got on the board via a 1-yard Quan Myers leap for a 7-0 advantage midway through the first quarter. It was quickly 14-0 after Tyren Cloyd’s pick 6 on the ensuing Mocs possession.
Nick Tiano and Bryce Nunnelly quickly got the Mocs on the scoreboard. They connected on a 64-yard catch-and-run to close within a score. VMI made it four straight scores between the two teams when Reece Udinski hit Jakob Herres from seven-yards out to get lead back to 14, 21-7.
That was it for the Keydets offensive effort for the next 30-plus minutes. Chattanooga leveled the tally sheet at 21-all with second quarter scores by Tyrell Price and Wil Young. Price’s came on a 1-yard dash, while Young caught a 17-yard Tiano offering.
The Mocs scored twice out of the break. Price’s 5-yard third quarter score and Alex Trotter’s 19-yard touchdown built the margin to 34-21 with the latter’s coming at the 5:57 mark in the fourth period. Both of Price’s TDs came at the end of the longest drives of the season per time of possession. The 1-yard run ended an 8:34 second march, while the latter stopped the clock at 8:10.
VMI battled back. Taking over at its own nine with 4:41 to play, Udinski directed a 91-yard scoring effort ending with a 2-yard pass to Devone Humphrey to get within a single score. UTC senior Cody Swabek stepped up and cleanly received the onside kick to end all drama.
Chattanooga: 6-2 | 4-2 SoCon
VMI: 0-8 | 0-7 SoCon
Chattanooga leads the series 17-7-1…it’s an 8-3-1 advantage at home.
Check out all we heard at the quotes link at the top of this story.
On the defensive adjustments in the second quarter:
“We made some adjustments in personnel. We made some adjustments in some of the calls. We got to some more three-down and played a little bit more zone. We were losing some one-on-one matchups. We had to do some different things to keep them off balance and put ourselves in a better position to be successful.” – Head Coach Tom Arth
On the two-touchdown deficit in the first and second quarter:
“No panic at all. We’ve been in that situation before. We’ve been in that situation when we practice. I don’t feel like there was any panic on the sideline. We knew what we had to do and we went and done it.” – Sophomore WR Bryce Nunnelly
Three notes from today’s contest. Check out the full complement of facts and figures in the link above.
- Seven sacks today is the most since the same total on Dec. 3, 2016 in the FCS Playoffs loss at Sam Houston State. It’s the highest total in a regular season contest since seven against Western Carolina on Oct. 13, 2007 in Finley Stadium.
- Nick Tiano and Bryce Nunnelly’s 64-yard pass connection was the sixth time in 2018 Tiano’s exceeded 55 on a pass play. It’s fifth time with Nunnelly with four of the five resulting in scores.
- The -16 yards rushing by the Keydets are the fewest since -20 to Marshall in a 23-7 win on Nov. 2, 1985.
Check out the final stats at the link above. Here are three stats of note…
- Isaiah Mack had three of the season-high seven sacks. That’s 19 for his career sitting snuggly in fourth-place all-time at UTC behind David Tull (37.0), Keionta Davis (31.0) and Joshua Williams (23.5). He was a half-sack shy of the school record by Tull at Furman (10/12/13) and Tyler Unzicker at ETSU (11/10/01).
- Bryce Nunnelly’s 130 yards receiving is his fifth of the season with 100 or more. He’s the fifth Moc to have five or more in a campaign. He’s 47 yards shy of 1,000 for 2018 which would make his the fourth receiver in school history to attain that mark.
- VMI had 134 yards total offense and 12 first downs after taking a 21-7 lead in the second quarter. The defense allowed just 44 yards and two first downs from that point (14:55, 2Q) through the third.
The Mocs head back on the road to take on Furman next Saturday. The 1 p.m., kickoff broadcasts on ESPN3 from Greenville