Chattanooga Upsets 8th Ranked Samford 23-21 on a Victor Ulmo Field Goal in the Final Seconds
(gomocs.com) BIRMINGHAM—1983. October 8, 1983 to be exact. That’s the last time a Chattanooga Mocs football team went on the road to defeat a top 10 opponent beating No. 10 Appalachian State 30-8. Fast forward 34 years and 20 days to today’s 23-21 triumph at No. 8 Samford snapping the streak.
Redshirt freshman kicker Victor Ulmo split the uprights from 39 yards putting the Mocs ahead 23-21 with 19 seconds remaining. Samford got to its 36 with four seconds to go.
They ran a play that resulted in lateral after lateral until Kareem Orr collected a fumble ending the contest. It was a fitting end as it was the seventh takeaway of the game for the Mocs and fourth fumble recovery.
Orr started the game-winning effort pouncing on a fumble forced by Tae Davis at the UTC 29. Armed with one timeout and 2:27 on the clock, the Mocs opened the drive with a 14-yard Alex Trotter run. Three plays later, it was 4th-and-1 at the 45 with 1:09 left. That timeout was needed.
Cole Copeland stepped under center and turned to Trotter. The Chattanooga native’s burst lasted 17 yards into Bulldog territory down to the 38. Copeland then found Alphonso Stewart for a 16-yard gain to the 22. Two plays later, Ulmo went out for the game-winner.
It was a good start for the Bulldogs taking the opening drive 75 yards for a 7-0 advantage. The home team averaged 9.4 yards per play in that series. Over the next 2-plus quarters, the defense limited the high-flying Samford offense to a pedestrian 3.8 yards per play.
That prompted 20 unanswered points for the visitors from Gig City. A beautiful 14-yard touchdown pass down the right side from Copeland to Joseph Parker got the Mocs on the board.
Lucas Webb sent the Mocs into halftime with a lead. He corralled Hodges’ offering and returned it 20 yards for his fourth career pick 6, a Southern Conference record. Here’s Webb’s record-setting score.
Copeland struck again in the third quarter. His 13-yard strike to Stewart made it 20-7 as Ulmo’s PAT hit the uprights. Hodges took over early in the fourth quarter.
He finished a shot-field drive with a 1-yard plunge after a Mocs fumble with 11:50 to go at the UTC 19. His 30-yard pass to Chris Shelling four-plus minutes later put the Bulldogs on top 21-20 with 7:40 to play.
The UTC defense took over. Three straight Samford offensive series were stopped by fumble recoveries. Dale Warren got one on a punt return before the two by Orr to finish the game.
Three notes from tonight’s contest. Check out the full complement of facts and figures in the link above.
– Webb’s pick-6 not only set a SoCon record, but it also match a school record for career interceptions. It was his 13th which matches Phillip Aldridge (1982-85) and Bucky Wolford (1965-67). The defensive score was the 5th of his stellar career matching the league mark originally set by Furman’s Ryan Steed (2008-11).
– The Mocs defense forced seven turnovers in the game. First takeaways in four contests. The stretch lasted 283:04 of clock time snapped by Taylor Reynolds’ fumble recovery with 2:15 left in first quarter.
– Season highs of 12 penalties and 107 yards for the Mocs.
“Since I missed the PAT after the third touchdown, all types of situations crossed my mind. I knew Samford was a really good team who could come back. They ended up taking a one-point lead. At that point, I just wanted to get myself ready mentally to perform. I knew all the guys around would do their jobs. It makes it a lot easier for me. Great snap, great hold. I really have no words (about the kick). The offense did a great job putting me in a great position. 39 yards right down the middle…you can’t ask for much more. (Alex) Trotter made a bunch of 10-plus-yard runs. Great job by the offensive line and Cole (Copeland). I’m just thankful they put me in position to get that chance.” – PK Victor Ulmo.
Reynolds picked up his defensive mates with two takeaways – one fumble recovery & his first career interception. Those were his first since his freshman year in the home win over VMI.
– Seven total takeaways for the Mocs. Entered the contest with six on the campaign.
– Bridges’ 89 yards rushing today gives him 296 over the past three games, an average of 96.7 per contest.
The Mocs remain on the road next weekend at Wofford. Game time is 1:30 p.m., Eastern time.