Failed two-point conversion in OT leads to Mocs first conference loss
The Chattanooga Mocs saw their three-time winning streak snapped in a 35-34 overtime loss at Wofford today. UTC went for two in the extra frame, but could not secure the Southern Conference road win.
The loss drops Chattanooga to 4-4 overall and 3-1 in league play. The Terriers improved to 5-2 with their fifth win in a row, and 4-1 in SoCon action.
"It was a tough, hard-fought Southern Conference game," stated UTC head coach Rusty Wright. "We battled, they battled. They made a play. One more play than we did."
UTC freshman running back Ailym Ford continued his tear with 136 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 29 carries. It was his fifth 100-yard rushing game of the season, tying James Roberts (1989) and Gwain Durden (1977) for second all-time among Mocs freshmen.
Ford put UTC up 28-21 with just over two minutes left in regulation, and had the Mocs on the brink of a big road win. However, the ensuing kickoff went out of bounds, making it tough for UTC to contain the Terriers.
Wofford, a triple-option team that came into the game leading the nation in rushing with 369 yards per game, went to the air on its final drive in regulation. Terrier quarterback Joe Newman was 6/11 for 55 yards in that final drive.
The Mocs had a chance to seal the win, forcing a fourth-and-10 from their own 36. However, Newman found Landon Parker for 13 yards to keep the drive alive. It was eventually capped off by a six-yard run by D'mauraie VanCleave to tie the game at 28-28.
Wofford scored first in overtime, followed by Ford busting in from three-yards out. The Mocs called timeout and lined up for the win. Senior Nick Tiano scrambled and found an open Reginald Henderson in the middle of the endzone. Henderson could not handle the pass and the Terriers took the game.
Tiano was 14-29 passing for 245 yards with two scores and two interceptions. Junior Bryce Nunnelly had four catches for 90 yards and a score, while Henderson had three catches for a season-high 86 yards.
Blake Morgan led the Terries with eight carries for 82 yards. Newman had 66 yards and three scores on 14 carries. He was also 14-23 for 134 yards passing.
The Mocs opened with a 61-yard strike from Tiano to Nunnelly in the first quarter. Nunnelly went high over the middle and then outran the Terriers for his fourth score of the season. It was a season-long connection for both Mocs.
Wofford responded early in the second quarter. After picking off a Tiano pass the Terriers needed four plays to go 32 yards to knot the score at 7-7.
Chattanooga grabbed the momentum back midway through the second. Tiano found senior Chris James on a shovel pass from the Wofford 19. James bounced outside and dove for the pylon and a 14-7 lead with 8:27 left in the half.
The Terriers got even before heading to the locker room on a drive that was highlighted by a 58-yard run from Morgan to the UTC 10. The Mocs almost held, but Newman found the endzone on fourth-and-two to even the score 14-14.
The Wofford defense got another interception on a 50/50 ball to start the third quarter. They took advantage with an 11-play drive that Newman capped with an 10-yard run.
UTC came back to tie it at 21 when Tiano pulled a hand off to Ford. He fooled everyone in the stadium before beating a defender for a 24-yard score.
Senior Marshall Cooper led a strong effort by the Mocs defense with a game-high 12 tackles. Junior DB Jordan Jones added seven stops while the Mocs put up a season-high six tackles-for-loss as a team.