For the second week in a row, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football team was poised to knock off a top-10 foe on the road. Despite a stout defensive effort, UTC’s second upset bid in as many weeks came up short in a 24-21 loss at No. 8 Wofford today.
The Mocs held Wofford’s triple-option attack to a season-low 233 yards and just 14 points in regulation. Trailing 14-6 late in the game, UTC forced its fifth three-and-out, giving the Mocs a chance with just over two minutes to play.
Senior James Stovall got his hand on the punt that eventually wobbled 22 yards to the Wofford 43. Chattanooga took nine plays to get within two points when freshman Cole Copeland found junior Bingo Morton for a six-yard TD catch.
With nine seconds left to play, the Mocs still needed to convert the two-point conversion. Head Coach Tom Arth called a trick play where Copeland handed off to senior running back Darrell Bridges. Bridges reversed to Morton who narrowly avoided a tackle in the backfield before finding Copeland in the endzone to tie the game.
Both teams scored in overtime, with the Mocs taking the second possession. Copeland hit senior Alphonso Stewart for an 11-yard score to force a second extra session.
The Mocs took the ball first in the second overtime, but Copeland threw a pick on the first play. Wofford ran three plays before kicking 34-yard field goal for the win.
Chattanooga had chances early. The defense forced three-and-outs on three of Wofford’s five possessions in the first half. The Mocs moved the ball inside the Wofford 10 twice, but both times penalties cost them. UTC had to settle for field goals on both drives and trailed 7-6 at halftime.
Ulmo hit from 20 and 28 yards in the first half. He just missed a 47-yarder in the second half that would have given the Mocs a 9-7 lead. He had the distance, but the attempt was just wide-right.
UTC’s defense came up big all night, including a key fourth-down stop in the third quarter. Wofford drove down to the Mocs 27 and went for it on fourth-and-five. Senior linebacker Dale Warren’s blitz forced a bad pass that stopped the Terriers’ threat.
Warren posted a season-high nine tackles, while senior Taylor Reynolds had a game-high and career-high 14 tackles. Senior linebacker Tae Davis added 12 stops, while junior Derek Mahaffey tied a career-high with nine.
Copeland was 27-39 for 201 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Stewart had six catches for 68 yards and score, while Morton added seven grabs for 23 yards. Senior running back Darrell Bridges added 80 yards on the ground and tied a season-high with 22 carries.