Mocs trounce Samford for sixth straight win, 55-13

CHATTANOOGA (UTC Athletics) — The Chattanooga Mocs football team forced four turnovers on defense and racked up 492 yards of total offense in way of a 55-13 rout over Samford in Southern Conference action on a sunny Saturday afternoon inside Siebert Stadium in Brimingham, Ala.

Chattanooga (4-3, 3-1 SoCon) held the high-scoring offensive attack of Samford (3-4, 2-3 SoCon) to just 200 yards of offense on the day to help capture its second-straight SoCon victory. The offensive outburst marked the most points UTC has scored against Samford since 1910.

“We played like a football team, for the first time all year we played like a team. That’s because for the past two weeks we’ve done things better day to day and consistently made our way into being a better football team,” said head coach Rusty Wright.

“I don’t know how I could have a bigger smile on my face, it’s always great to get on the road and win because it’s a big deal. These kids and coaches have put in a lot of work this week and it paid off for them.”

HOW IT HAPPENED
Chattanooga forced Samford to a three-and-out after the hosts received the opening kickoff. The Mocs needed just one play from scrimmage to find the endzone when Cole Copeland found Tyrell Price for a 41-yard catch and run to make it 7-0 with 14:01 on the clock.

Samford responded with a 10-play, 52-yard drive but was held to a 31-yard field goal to cut into the deficit, 7-3, with 11:24 left in the first. Chattanooga continued the scoring on its next possession when Copeland capped off an 8-play, 74-yard drive with a two-yard keep pushing the lead to 14-3.

UTC scored on its next two possessions when Aaron Sears knocked through a 31-yard field goal ahead of a 57-yard touchdown drive that took nine plays in 4:47 to extend the lead 24-3 with 9:08 left in the half. The latter scoring drive was set up by a Rueben Lowery III forced fumble and Kameron Brown recovery at the UTC 43.

Chattanooga beat the halftime clock with just 0:03 left when Price reached across the goal line after an eight-yard scamper to etch a 31-3 lead at the break. The offense amassed 327 yards of total offense in the opening half.

The two teams traded field goals on each of their first possessions of the second half to move the point total to 34-6 with 9:02 on the third quarter ticker. On the next drive, Rashaun Freeman intercepted a Samford screen pass at the two-yard line and immediately punched it in to build on the sizable lead, 41-6.

The Bulldogs responded with a 10-play, 61-yard touchdown drive that took up just under three minutes, highlighted by an 18-yard touchdown pass over the middle, to cut the deficit to 41-13 with 3:40 left in the third. That would be the last home score of the day as UTC continued its rout until the final horn.

Tyler Walker hauled in his first career touchdown pass, a 17-yarder, with 10:16 left in the fourth to put UTC ahead 48-13 before Drayton Arnold entered the game under center and scored on a 3-yard rush to put the stamp on a Chattanooga victory, 55-13.

BY THE NUMBERS
Chattanooga scored on its first four possession of the game for the first time September 15, 2018, during a 34-24 win at UT Martin. The offense racked up 492 yards of total offense that featured a balanced attack of 299 yards through the air and 193 on the ground. Samford’s high-paced and high-scoring offense was limited to just 200 yards of total offense.

Copeland threw for a season-high 261 yards with two touchdowns and an interception while adding 17 yards and two more touchdowns in the rushing game. Ford paced the UTC backfield with 139 yards on 28 touches with 130 yards coming in the first half.

The receiving core saw 10 different Mocs catch at least one pass with JaMoi Mayes leading the squad with three (69 yards). Chris James led in yardage with a career-high 83 yards on just two catches while Walker added a pair of receptions for 46 yards and a touchdown. Price caught one pass for 42 yards and a touchdown to aid the offensive attack.

Defensively, the Mocs forced a season-high four turnovers (three interceptions, one fumble) for the second time this season and marked the fourth time with three or more, including back-to-back games (3, ETSU). Brandon Dowdell, Freeman and Jarrell Lawson accounted for the picks while Brown recovered the fumble forced by Lowery III.

A whopping 23 different Mocs recorded at least one tackle in today’s win with CaMiron Smith leading the charge with five (all solo). Dowdell, Freeman, Jay Person, Christian Snyder and Kam Jones all registered four a piece with a combined 2.5 TFLs.

RECORDS – CHATTANOOGA (4-3, 3-1) | SAMFORD (3-4, 2-3)

SERIES – Chattanooga leads the all-time series 33-10-3.

3 NOTES TO KNOW
– Copeland had four touchdowns which is a career best… two rushing (2, 1) and two passing (42, 17)… threw for a season-high 261 yards on 11 of 14… 48-yard connection with Chris James is a career long… 42-yard TD to Tyrell Price is career long on a score.
– The Mocs scored on their first four possessions – TD/TD/FG/TD… last time they scored on the opening four possessions was FG-TD-FG-TD start in the 34-24 win at UT Martin on Sept. 15, 2018.
– 42:48 time of possession… highest TOP since school-record 42:57 vs. Indiana State (Dec. 6, 2014 in FCS playoffs).

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

QUOTABLE
“Huge, I think at half time we had the ball for 20 minutes and had a bunch of quick scores for a little bit, that’s huge because you have to be able to control the tempo and keep the defense as fresh as you can. Thankfully, we were making plays defensively.” – Rusty Wright, head coach, on effectiveness of the ground game.

“I mean everywhere, these guys don’t really have a weakness, the secondary is unbelievable. Obviously, the pass rush is unbelievable, the linebacker group is full grasp. It is definitely difficult going against them every day and it makes us better as team.” – Cole Copeland, quarterback, on the defense’s effort.

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