Mocs take advantage of Mercer turnovers, win 34-17
MACON, Ga. (UTC Athletics) — The Chattanooga Mocs kept their early Southern Conference record spotless with a 34-17 triumph at Mercer Saturday evening. It was a dominating performance after a slow start.
The Bears took the opening drive in for a touchdown on Robert Riddle’s 14-yard connection with Steven Peterson. After a stalled drive, the Mocs took advantage of stout defense.
Ty Boeck forced a Deondre Johnson fumble after Colin Brewer pinned the Bears at their 10-yard line. Two plays later, Nick Tiano hit Bryce Nunnelly in the corner of the end zone to tie the score.
Johnson immediately answered for the Bears. He returned the ensuing kickoff 98 yards, but it was all Chattanooga from there.
Ailym Ford tied the game in the second quarter sprinting eight yards through a gaping hole in the left side of the line. Victor Ulmo gave the Mocs the lead for good with a 21-yard field goal to end the period. It was a quarter that saw the hosts muster negative-3 yards on just seven plays.
Tiano and Chris James ended the opening drive of the second half with a 1-yard pass on fourth down. A 14-14 game became 24-10 in the span of two possessions. Ulmo made it 20 unanswered points later in the quarter with a 36-yard effort.
Mercer managed a field goal to open fourth-quarter play. But Tiano put the exclamation point on the win with a 11-yard scramble to his right. That ended the scoring in a 34-17 game. The play of the game may have been the open-field tackle at his own 10 by Jerrell Lawson at the end of the third quarter that forced the Mercer field goal.
“That is the difference in these games,” Coach Rusty Wright shared. “People have to make plays and we have to make stops when we are supposed to make them. That is the difference in the football game.”
The Mocs were plus-3 on takeaways forcing four fumbles, recovering three, while also intercepting a pass. The Bears managed just 29 rushing yards, the lowest output since they re-instated the program in 2013.
Ford had his second straight 100-yard rushing game. He totaled 116 yards on 32 carries. Jeffrey Wood II added 74 on nine totes. Tiano was an efficient 18 of 31 for 190 yards with two touchdowns, a third rushing, and an interception.
RECORDS – Chattanooga (3-3/2-0) | Mercer (2-4/1-2)
SERIES – Chattanooga leads 19-9-1.
“Do your job. Be where you are supposed to be. Make people line up and beat you. That is how you play defense. Those guys did a good job. We had a good plan. When they do that, they give themselves a chance.” – Coach Rusty Wright on the defensive effort.
“They had a solid first drive and then we started to capitalize with the d-line playing out of their minds. Our coaches prepared us well all week.” – LB Ty Boeck on the stingy defensive effort.
“Usually if we’re controlling the clock, we’re running the ball. It’s a lot of fun to go in there and just pound the rock.” – OT Malcolm White on the offense controlling the clock.
Check out all we heard at the quotes link at the top of the story.
3 NOTES TO KNOW
37:57 time of possession today is the most since 38:43 at VMI on Sept. 27, 2017. Held the ball for 30:21 of the final 45 minutes.
625 yards rushing over last two games is most in back-to-back games since Sept. 7-14, 2013, running up 671 in wins over Georgia State (401) and Austin Peay (270).
The Tiano to Nunnelly touchdown connection was the 12th for the duo. That’s fourth-best in school history passing B.J. Coleman and Joel Bradford and Kenyon Earl and NFL Hall of Famer Terrell Owens.
Check out all the extra info at the notes link at the top of the story.
3 STATS TO KNOW
415 yards of balanced offense with 225 on the ground and 190 by air. Defense limited Mercer to 257 yards, 138 after the first quarter.
Ty Boeck had his third double-digit tackle game in a row. He tallied 12 tonight with two for loss, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.
The defense recorded 10 pass breakups led by Jordan Jones with three. That’s the second time this season with 10 also defecting 10 in the opener against Eastern Illinois.
Check out all the numbers at the stats link at the top of the story.
NEXT GAME – ETSU at Chattanooga | Thur., Oct. 17 | 7 p.m.