Mocs Defense Stifles Furman

On what started as a dreary, rainy day ended with the Chattanooga Mocs claiming the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow as they defeated the Furman Paladins 13-3 at Finley Stadium Saturday afternoon.

The damp surroundings and the threat of rain in the air all day led to what was a classic defensive struggle that the Homecoming Mocs won handily in all ways. The game didn’t stay off that way, however.

The Mocs took the opening kickoff and highlighted by a Tyrell Price 42 yard run and Ailym Ford barreling in from the 2 gave Chattanooga an early 7-0 lead, a lead they would never relinquish.

Furman was unable to move the ball and were hindered by the first of many penalties on both sides on the day and were forced to punt.

The Mocs promptly drove the ball back down the field with Ford breaking runs of 9, 21 and 17 yards and soon had a first and goal at the Furman 5-yard line. Looking to go up by two scores Chattanooga QB Cole Copeland was intercepted by Travis Blackshear in the end zone and returned to the Furman 199.

Furman started what would be their longest drive of the game with QB Jace Wilson carrying most of the load. Facing a third and nine Wilson dropped back to pass, could not find an open receiver and bolted for a 23-yard gain into Chattanooga territory. On that particular drive Wilson accounted for 40 yards on the ground, which was almost as many yards running as he had passing on the day (47).

Facing a third and 9 at the Chattanooga 29 Wilson three across the middle and was intercepted at the 5 by Jerrell Lawson ending the threat.

The rest of the half saw both teams’ inability to get past midfield. The third quarter was pretty much the same – a defensive struggle and a messy affair. After starting the half with a drive for negative yards thanks in part to an intentional grounding on third won, the Mocs one-upped them on the ensuing punt by getting called for three fouls on the play.

Tyrell Price breaking free for a 42 yard gain in the first quarter. Photo gDave Weinthal

After three consecutive three-and-outs the Paladins mounted their biggest threat as they drove down inside Chattanooga’s 10. The five stalled at the Mocs’ 7 and were forced to settle for a 24-yard field goal to make the score 7-3.

Chattanooga answered right away as they drove the ball down to the Furman 23 thanks to a couple of nice throws from Copeland along with one run. With the drive stalled on the Paladin 23 they settled for a 40 yard field goal to go up 10-3.

The fourth quarter started off with Furman punting to Chattanooga. From there the Mocs took up 8:53 of the quarter getting down to the Furman 13. With Price and Ford sharing runs downfield the Mocs looked poised to go in for another touchdown. On first down on the 13 a run by Ford got negated by a personal foul after the play. With the drive stalling at the Furman 20 the Mocs settled for a 38 yard field goal to make the score 13-3, which was how the game ended. Both teams shared three and outs before Furman started one last drive to score for vanity’s sake as the outcome of the game was already determined. Devin Abrams 44 yard run got the ball down to the Chattanooga 26 with only seconds to play. One play later and the game was over as Chattanooga won their Homecoming football game 13-3.

The game was very one-sided if you look at the states as Chattanooga held Furman to 157 total offensive yards and only six first downs. Chattanooga also held the ball almost 40 minutes compared to Furman. Chattanooga’s 418 offensive yards were highlighted by Price (111) and Ford (106) each running for over 100 yards.

With the win Chattanooga improves to 5-3 and 4-1 in the conference, a half game behind league leading Mercer. The Mocs will be on the road the next two weeks with a showdown with Mercer scheduled on November 13 before finishing out their season at home on November 20 against The Citadel.

 – Dave Weinthal