The UTC Mocs welcomed the Southern Conference preseason favorite, #17 Samford Bulldogs, to Finley Stadium for a conference game under the lights Saturday.

The Mocs opened up a 17-0 lead in the first half with QB Nick Tiano throwing two TD passes. A 55-yd strike to Bryce Nunnelly in the 1st quarter, followed by an 18-yd TD to running back Tyrell Price.

The Bulldogs fought their way back before the half, cutting the Mocs' lead to seven after two quarters.

UTC benefited from another Tiano TD in the 3rd quarter, this time on the ground. His 5-yd TD run gave the Mocs a 24-13 lead late in the 3rd quarter.

Samford tried to tie it late with a last-second throw to the end zone, but the Mocs would break it up for the 27-20 victory.

Tiano finished 16-35, passing for 278 yds. with 3 total TD's. Nunnelly was the leading receiver with five catches for 108 yds. and a touchdown.

This is the sixth time in school history the Mocs have started the season 4-0. The last being just two years ago in 2016.

UTC will go on the road next Saturday for a conference game against ETSU. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m.