UTC's Darrell Bridges looks for running room early in the first half.
photo by Greg Davick
The Chattanooga Mocs fell just short in a 20-14 heart-breaker against The Citadel. It was a hard-fought game that went the full 60 minutes.
The Mocs defense stiffened and gave their offensive teammates a shot late in the fourth quarter. The Citadel marched 41 yards, churning out 5-plus minutes of game clock. Tae Davis dropped Grant Drakeford for a 3-yard loss at the Mocs 39, forcing the Bulldogs to punt.
The ball was downed inside the 5, however, the officials ruled the ball touched the goal line before it was downed.
The touchback gave Chattanooga breathing room with 3:18 to go. Freshman quarterback Cole Copeland took immediate advantage.
He opened with a 31-yard catch-and-run to Bingo Morton, crossing the 50 to the Bulldogs 49. Eight more yards to Morton was followed by a strong 12-yard run by Darrell Bridges. A 1-yard run to the 28 by Bridges signaled a timeout for the Mocs with 1:34 to play, leaving the team with one.
Copeland then found Joseph Parker down the right sideline running out of bounds at the 11. Three straight incompletions set up fourth down with a final timeout called with 1:17 to go. Copeland looked to the back of the end zone. His strike was intercepted by Aron Spann to end the Mocs' hopes.
Bridges got the scoring started with a 61-yard run up the middle with 17 seconds remaining in the first quarter. He got a late block from Bingo Morton around the 10 yard line to clear the final few yards.
Bridges scored both of the Mocs touchdowns, with a one-yard plunge late in the second quarter. That score was set up by a fantastic punt return by Brandon Dowdell.
Dowdell collected the ball at his own 37 and burst down the Mocs sideline, 37 yards to the The Citadel 35. Bridges opened the drive with runs of 20 and three yards before Copeland found Stewart inside the 10. He was pushed out at the 1 followed by Bridges' dive over the center of the defense for the score.
The Bulldogs dominated the second half. They scored on their first three possessions after intermission, accumulating nearly half their 444 yards on the day over that 18-and-a-half minutes of clock time.
The Citadel ran 26 plays over those three possessions gaining 204 yards, all on the ground. It started with an early 45-yard field goal by Jacob Godek cutting the Mocs lead to 14-10.
After UTC was stopped after six plays, Colin Brewer's punt was downed at the Bulldogs 5. Ten plays and 95 yards later, Rod Johnson ran in from four yards for a 17-14 lead late in the third. Their next drive ended with a 34-yarder by Godek ending the scoring early in the fourth quarter.