Mocs win 26-6 over Western Carolina

Chattanooga Times Free Press - - SPORTS - BY GENE HEN­LEY STAFF WRITER

CULLOWHEE, N.C. — The Uni­ver­sity of Ten­nessee at Chat­tanooga foot­ball team needed a solid per­for­mance head­ing into its bye week.

It re­ceived just that. With a dom­i­nant de­fense and an op­por­tunis­tic of­fense, UTC jumped to a 19-0 lead and cruised to a 26-6 vic­tory over Western Carolina Uni­ver­sity on Satur­day in front of 7,362 at Whit­mire Sta­dium. The win halted the Mocs’ two-game los­ing streak and put them at 5-2 over­all and 3-2 in the South­ern Con­fer­ence.

UTC plays next on Oct. 27 for home­com­ing against Vir­ginia Mil­i­tary In­sti­tute.

“It was re­ally im­por­tant for us to get back on track,” UTC coach Tom Arth said. “To be able to come down here, play well and come out with a win, our team re­ally needed it.

“I thought our guys played hard, and I thought we re­ally fought hard in some sit­u­a­tions de­fen­sively where the ball was driven down­field and they were down at the goal line and (we were) able to come down with stops re­peat­edly. I think that was a big-time dif­fer­ence in the game. The of­fense did a great job pro­tect­ing the foot­ball. Be­ing able to run the ball at the end of the game and close it out the way we did was re­ally ex­cit­ing and a big mo­ment for our team.”

The Mocs’ de­fense kept the Cata­mounts (3-3, 1-3) out of the end zone, lim­it­ing a team that led the league with 35.8 points per game to a pair of Will Hor­ton field goals. WCU played both Tyrie Adams and Will Jones at quar­ter­back, but the Mocs forced three take­aways, with Ka­reem Orr in­ter­cept­ing an Adams pass — lead­ing to a

UTC touch­down — and Jones fum­bling a quar­ter­back-run­ning back ex­change at the 1-yard line.

The Cata­mounts came into the game av­er­ag­ing 489.8 yards of to­tal of­fense. They had 238 against the Mocs.

The UTC of­fense was ef­fec­tive. Quar­ter­back Nick Tiano had 204 yards pass­ing and a pair of touch­down throws to Joseph Parker. Run­ning back Tyrell Price had a big day, with 135 yards rush­ing on 29 car­ries as well as 38 yards on six catches. He had a 3-yard touch­down run for the Mocs’ fi­nal points.

The Mocs rushed for 144 yards, their sec­ond-most this sea­son.

“We’ll watch film and see what to cor­rect, but as a whole I thought the of­fen­sive line and the of­fense played well,” of­fen­sive line­man Har­ri­son Moon said. “I think it’s good mo­men­tum go­ing into the bye week. As a team, get­ting a win go­ing into the bye week is go­ing to make that bye week a lit­tle sweeter.

“We took the past few weeks per­sonal. We want to pad TP’s (Price’s) stats; we want Tiano to have a good game. Our backs hav­ing a good night means we’re clear­ing the way for them.”

Jer­rell Law­son helped put the first points of the game on the board, sack­ing Adams in the end zone for a safety. The of­fense then put to­gether an eight-play, 75-yard drive, with Tiano find­ing Parker for an over-the-shoul­der catch in the end zone for a 9-0 edge.

Af­ter a Vic­tor Ulmo field goal, the Mocs took ad­van­tage of Orr’s in­ter­cep­tion and 28-yard re­turn to set up the sec­ond Parker re­ceiv­ing score — his first such scores since haul­ing in the game-win­ning grab against East Ten­nessee State in the 2017 sea­son fi­nale.

The Mocs col­lected four sacks, 2.5 by Isa­iah Mack, a ca­reer high for the se­nior. They also had nine tack­les for loss.

“I feel like we did a good job to­day,” Mack said. “The of­fense and the de­fense did a good job feed­ing off of each other, and we just wanted to keep them out of the end zone. As a de­fense we’re never pleased, but to hold a topflight of­fense to just six points, we can go to sleep on that.”

Con­tact Gene Hen­ley at ghen­ley@times­freep­ress.com. Fol­low him on Twit­ter @gene­hen­ley3.

STAFF PHOTO BY ROBIN RUDD

UTC’s Bryce Nun­nelly goes up for a pass over Western Carolina’s Marvin Till­man dur­ing the Mocs’ 26-6 win on Satur­day in Cullowhee, N.C..

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