Mocs suffer second straight loss, fall to No. 11 Furman

CHATTANOOGA—The Chattanooga Mocs battled toe-to-toe with No. 13 Furman before falling 35-20. It was a tough loss in a pivotal Southern Conference matchup.

Nick Tiano’s 4-yard hookup with Chris James and subsequent 2pt conversion for the duo made it a 28-20 contest with just over six minutes to play in the game. The touchdown came after Tiano’s fourth-down completion to Bryce Nunnelly extended the drive inside the 10.

The defense, which turned the Paladins over twice in the first quarter, and had the better of it for three quarters, could not get the stop it needed. The visitors ran three straight times for nine yards. On fourth-and-1, Devin Abrams plunged over right guard for two yards and the first down.

The running game churned clock time and another third-down went to the defense, but there were just 15 seconds remaining. The Paladins ran to the right side again, Abrams looked like his forward momentum had been held up short, but he kept is legs moving breaking free for a 31-yard touchdown run for the final score.

“Those last two (scoring) drives, we were in position to make plays,” sophomore linebacker Ty Boeck shared. “We just didn’t tackle well, that’s on us.”

It was a see-saw battle. The Mocs built a 9-0 lead early on a Victor Ulmo 23-yard field goal and Tiano’s three-yard keeper. Abrams got Furman on the board late in the second quarter from the one. Hamp Sisson capped a quick 80-yard drive with an eight-yard dash for a 14-9 advantage with 26 seconds to go in the half.

That looked like the halftime score to everyone but Ailym Ford and the Mocs offensive front. He sped around left end 57 yards to the Furman 18. That run put him over the 1,000-yard mark for the season. The Mocs took a couple of shots into the end zone but settled for Ulmo’s 32nd career field goal and a 14-12 deficit.

The key play of the third quarter came from the foot of Grayson Atkins. His 62-yard punt was downed at the UTC 2. Three plays later, the Mocs pinned at their 1 with no room to maneuver, a 31-yard punt was answered with a 32-yard Sisson connection to Ryan Miller.

“You have to go play,” Coach Rusty Wright shared when asked about the difference in halves. “I didn’t yell or scream or anything, because I thought we should have been ahead. I just said hey, let’s figure out a way to win it.

“They made plays in the second half and we didn’t. They went and made some things happen, we didn’t. We never could get going, they kept punting us back and keeping us deep. We didn’t make plays when we had to make plays. We have to learn how to find a way to finish.”

Tiano was quick to take some of that back from his coach.

“I think we missed opportunities against a really good team…similar to last week,” he acknowledged. “When we had opportunities to score especially when the defense gave us some turnovers, we have to go and put six points on that board. I think that’s what we’ll look back at the most from this game.”

RECORDS – Chattanooga (4-5/3-2) | No. 13 Furman (6-3/5-1)

SERIES – Chattanooga trails 19-30.

“I have to do a better job of coaching them and putting them in better situations. I didn’t do a good job preparing some of them this week to get them ready when the ball game started. We’ll find a lot out about this group come Monday after two hard losses like that.”” – Wright added when talking about the difference in halves

“We didn’t tackle very well at times. They had a lot to do with that. We forced them to change quarterbacks and that’s who I was worried about.” – Wright on the defensive effort positive & negative

“I’m really proud of this team, we fight until the end no matter what the score is. These were two really good teams we played (the last 2 weeks) and we’ve hung around and had a chance to win both weeks. It’s just finding a way to keep fighting. We have three games left and we need to win them all to give us a chance. You never know what might happen.” – Senior QB Nick Tiano

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

– Ford became the 13th Chattanooga running back to top 1,000 yards in a season. He now has 1,072 which is ninth all-time and the most since Derrick Craine’s 1,083 in 2016. He is 18 yards shy of Mike Smith’s freshman record of 1,090 in 1977.
– Ulmo moved into fifth-place all-time in field goals made with 32 after his 32-yarder (how appropriate) to end the first half. That broke a tie with Jack Teichman (1980-83).
– Tiano eclipsed the 5,000 mark in career passing yards on a 40-yard strike to Kanore McKinnon on the first drive of the second quarter. It ended with his TD run from the three. He passed Steve Woods (1978-81) into seventh in program history with 5,131 yards. He’s 738 behind Mickey Brokas (1970-73) in sixth.

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

– The Mocs scored three points off the two early turnovers provided by the defense. Furman scored a touchdown as mentioned above with its one short-field opportunity.
– Ford’s 179 yards is his fifth consecutive 100-yards effort and sixth total for the season. He’s run for 826 yards in his five SoCon outings. That’s 165.2 yards per game and 5.8 per carry.
– Boeck’s 13 tackles mark his fourth game with double-digit tackles.

Check out all the numbers at the stats link at the top of the story.

NEXT GAME – Chattanooga at Samford | Sat., Nov. 9 | 3 p.m. (ET) | 2019 Schedule

Categories: College, Sports, Sports – Local Sports News, Sports – UTC Mocs

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