Mocs derail No. 10 Bucs in Rail Rivalry

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC Athletics) — “The Rail” is staying home. Devonnsha Maxwell recorded a school record 4.5 sacks while the running back duo of Tyrell Price and Ailym Ford accounted for 193 yards on the ground to lead the Chattanooga Mocs football team to a 21-16 win over the 10th-ranked ETSU Bucs on Saturday afternoon inside Finley Stadium.

Chattanooga (3-3, 2-1 SoCon) keeps possession of the rivalry trophy for the third-straight year following the win while ETSU (6-1, 3-1 SoCon) suffers its first loss of the season. The win marked UTC’s first win over a top 10 opponent since defeating Samford in 2017.

A win always feels good. A win over your rival feels even better. But everything happens one play at a time.

“It was good like it should be. We only get so many rounds on this good Earth and so many opportunities to go play football,” said head coach Rusty Wright.

“We went out there today and talked about playing one snap at a time. I told them I’ll worry about the scoreboard, you worry about playing. I’ll be honest with you, I don’t know if I saw one of them look at the scoreboard.”

ETSU took the opening kickoff and marched into UTC territory but following a loss of gain and a holding call, the Bucs left empty-handed after a missed 45-yard field goal attempt. After Chattanooga went three-and-out on its first offensive possession, Maxwell forced an ETSU fumble with his first sack and Jay Person recovered the rock at his own 47.

The Mocs turned the turnover into points after an eight-yard Tyrell Price touchdown on the first play of the second quarter capped a 7-play, 54-yard touchdown drive giving the hosts a 7-0 lead with 14:54 on the clock. UTC then forced another turnover after Jerrell Lawson notched his third interception of the season to set up the offense at the UTC 36 with 13:13.

Chattanooga drove down the field and on the help of a few first downs and a defensive pass interference call in the endzone, the squad faced a first-and-goal at the two. However, the Mocs came up with nothing after a Cole Copeland pass was picked off at the goal line with 4:40 left in the half. The game would head into the break 7-0 UTC.

ETSU forced a fumble on a Gino Appleberry carry on the first possession of the second half and took over at the UTC 38. The Bucs went just five yards in three plays and converted on a 50-yard field goal to cut the lead to 7-3 with 9:26 left in the third.

An explosive exchange would occur following the field goal. Ailym Ford broke off a 49-yard touchdown run with 4:14 to put UTC ahead 14-3 before a 54-yard touchdown carry from Jacob Saylors cut the lead to 14-10 with 3:37.

It would take until mid-way through the fourth for Chattanooga to explode for another big play. Price found the endzone for the second time, busting out for a career-long 58-yard score to put UTC up 21-10 with 3:37 left in the game.

ETSU connected on a 22-yard throw-and-catch with just 0:35 seconds left. The two-point conversion play was picked off by Person to preserve the UTC lead at five, 21-16. The Bucs needed an onside kick recover and were successful, however, an offsides call negated the recovery. The home team secured the second attempt to keep the Rail trophy in the Scenic City.

ETSU, one of the nation’s top rushing attacks, out-gained the Chattanooga offense 342-317 despite being out-rushed by a wide 235-160 margin. The Bucs were 100 yards more successful through the air, 182-82. UTC forced three turnovers (two fumbles, one interceptions) while ETSU notched a pair (one fumble, one interception).

The two-headed monster rushing duo of Price (98, two TD) and Ford (95, one TD) in the backfield accounted for 193 yards on the turf and three touchdowns. Price scored from both eight and 58 yards while Ford found the paint from 49 out.

It was another impressive defensive effort for the Mocs as they racked up 5.0 sacks, 9.0 TFLs and forced three turnovers while breaking up four passes and hurrying the signal caller twice. Devonsha Maxwell set a new school record with 4.5 sacks (one sack every 6.8 pass plays) for 25 yards and added a forced fumble.

Ty Boeck led the team with 10 total tackles while Person and Brandon Dowdell added seven. Person recovered his second and third fumbles of the season during the win.

RECORDS – CHATTANOOGA (3-3, 2-1) | ETSU (6-1, 3-1)

SERIES – Chattanooga leads the all-time series 24-19-1.

– Devonnsha Maxwell recorded a school-record 4.5 sacks …one better than the 3.5 he got at North Alabama on Sept. 11… shared the prior mark with Davis Tull (2013) and Tyler Unzicker (2001)… all five sacks had his hands on the QB sharing one with Quay Wiggles who also shared his record-tying half-sack at UNA.
– Win keeps “the Rail” in Chattanooga for a third straight year… the Rail is the trophy created in 2018 to award the winning team in “The Rivalry”… the Bucs won the inaugural Rail game in 2018, and it has since lived a lavish lifestyle in McKenzie Arena since 2019.
– Last top 10 win for the Mocs? 23-21 at No. 8 Samford on Oct. 28, 2017… Victor Ulmo hit a 39-yard field goal with 19 seconds remaining for the win.

Check out all the extra info at the notes link at the top of the story.

On the team’s mentality going into the game.
“We came in, knowing it was a big game. We came out ready to play and get the victory. We took last week’s game personally. There were a few things we did not execute on some little things and it was a game we should’ve had.” – Jay Person, So., LB

On the preparation of the team this week.
“I’m fighting for that consistency. It’s never going to easy and it’s never going to be perfect. We got this done today by having the best week of practice since the start of camp. That’s what gave us the opportunity to win today.” – head coach Rusty Wright

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

NEXT GAME – Chattanooga at Samford, 1 p.m. ET | Oct. 23 | 2021 Schedule

Categories: Sports, Sports – Football, Sports – UTC Mocs