Maxwell Leads Defense As Mocs Prevail, 21-16

Linebacker Sets School Record For Sacks As UTC Downs No. 10 ETSU

Saturday, October 16, 2021 - by Joseph Dycus
Mocs' D-lineman Devonnsha Maxwell (90) reacts following a sack of ETSU quarterback Tyler Riddell. Maxwell set a new school record of sacks in a game with four and a half sacks.
Mocs' D-lineman Devonnsha Maxwell (90) reacts following a sack of ETSU quarterback Tyler Riddell. Maxwell set a new school record of sacks in a game with four and a half sacks.
- photo by Joseph Dycus

Devonnsha Maxwell lined up shaded just outside the right tackle’s shoulder. He blasted out of his stance and knocked the Buccaneer blocker backward. Maxwell bent around the edge, lunged toward ETSU quarterback Tyler Riddell, and brought him to the ground for one of his three and a half drive-killing fourth quarter sacks. Maxwell’s school-record 4.5 sacks on the day was a UT-Chattanooga record and a huge reason for the Mocs’ 21-16 win over their rivals.

 

“I relied on my technique, and then I started getting hot and just went from there,” Maxwell said.

“We needed a play, so I went out there and made some plays.”

 

The breezy first half took a little over an hour to play, the consequence of two run-heavy offenses who couldn’t score. UTC quarterback Cole Copeland relied on his two bell-cow tailbacks Ailym Ford and Tyrell Price to move the ball downfield. It was not the most glamorous strategy in the world, but it was enough to score the touchdown.

 

Tyrell Price, lined up deep in the backfield, took the handoff to start the second quarter. He exploded forward and met the ETSU defender head-on. He spun off the Buccaneer tackler at around the two yard line, and into the endzone for an eight yard score.

 

The Buccaneer offense was lethal between the 20’s and moved the ball whenever they wanted. Quarterback Tyler Riddell completed eight passes to seven different receivers in the first half, spraying the ball from sideline to sideline.

 

But UTC’s defense held it down when they needed to, with one stop coming on a Jerrell Lawson pick. The pass rush, led by Maxwell, made sure Riddell couldn’t hold the ball for deep shots down the sideline. Going into halftime, Price’s eight yard score was the only points surrendered in the game.

 

“You only get so many rounds on this good earth to play football, and each one of them is precious and you have to take advantage of it,” coach Rusty Wight said. “We talked about playing one snap at a time. I told them I’d worry about the scoreboard, they should worry about playing.”

 

Coming out for the second half, halfback Gino Appleberry ran behind the left guard for a 12 yard gain……….before fumbling the ball and giving the ball back to the Buccaneers with a short field. Brandon Dowdell got a crucial tackle for loss on third and short to force the long field goal. After missing a 45 yard attempt in the first quarter, Tyler Keltner nailed the 51-yarder to make it 7-3.

 

The Mocs came back with a solid drive downfield, with Price and Ford gashing the defense for good gains to set up an 18-yard deep crossing route to Reginald Henderson on third down. Ailym Ford then finished off the drive with a 49-yard touchdown behind the left guard. He took the handoff from eight yards deep in the backfield, got through the hole, and then outran the rest of the defense down the left sideline to give UTC a 14-3 lead with 4:42 left in the game.  

 

The Buccaneers had about as strong of an answer as they could have hoped for on the very next possession. Running back Jacob Saylers slipped through a gap in the UTC line and outran everyone to the endzone for a 54 yard touchdown to make it a one-score game again. And as the third quarter ended, a ground-gaining Buc offense was once again driving downfield.

 

That drive came to an end when Jay Person dropped Riddell, caused a fumble, and then recovered it to maintain the UTC lead. The Mocs then went with six straight runs, the first two by Ford and then the third by Copeland. On the fourth, Price gained four. On the fifth, Price went for two.

 

And on the sixth, Tyrell Price stuck his foot in the ground, cut up field and down the right sideline, and raced past everyone for a 58 yard touchdown, giving the Mocs a 21-10 lead. After the game, Price gave most of the credit to his offensive line. Price ran for 98 yards while Ford went for 95. The Mocs totaled 235 yards on 37 attempts.

 

“They played well, and they never fail because they’re consistent,” Price said. “I give them all the credit. They pound and grind on those other guys, and when me and Ailym come in, we’re fresh coming in. We start delivering the hits and that wears on the defense.”

 

Maxwell dominated the next ETSU drive, bringing Riddell down twice, the second sack being a half-sack on fourth down with Quay Wiggles. On the next Buccaneer possession, Maxwell sent the Buccaneer offense in reverse on two more sacks. The drive stayed alive on fourth and 23 when UTC was called for pass interference. Riddell connected with Will Huzzie on a 22 yard jump-ball to make the score 21-16. His pass on the two-point conversion was intercepted.

 

“I know there’s a lot of great guys who came before me, so to have a record that belonged to one of those guys and to be mentioned with them feels good,” Maxwell said of his record-breaking day.

 

On the ensuing onside kick, Keltner’s successful conversion was nullified by a penalty. On the next attempt, UTC recovered it. After a small postgame scuffle, the Mocs hoisted the Rail Trophy. The Mocs hope to make it two in a row against Samford on the road next week.

 

“I’m fighting for that consistency, because it’s never going to be easy, it’s never going to be perfect,” coach Wright said. “Human nature is to go backward, and not to go forward. We got this done today because we had the best week of practice we’ve had since the first of camp.”


ETSU     0     0    10     6 -- 16
UTC       0     7      7      7 – 21

 

2nd Quarter
UTC 14:54 Tyrel Price 8 run (Aaron Sears kick) 0-7

3rd Quarter
ETS 9:26 Tyler Keltner  51 field goal 3-7
UTC 4:42 Allym Ford 49 run(Sears kick) 3-14
ETS 3:37 Jacob sailors 54 run (Keltner kick) 10-14

4th Quarter
UTC 6:43 Price 58 run (Sears kick) 10-21
ETS 0:35 Will Hezzie 22 pass from Riddell () 16-21

 

STATS

 

 

ETSU

UTC

FIRST DOWNS

21

13

TOTAL OFFENSE

342

317

RUSHES-YARDS

37-160

37-235

PASSING YARDS

182

82

PASSING (COMP-ATT-INT)

7-29-1

8-14-1

PUNTS-AVG.

2-46.5

4-45.2

FUMBLES-LOST

0-0

0-0

PENALTIES-YARDS

8-62

7-65

TIME OF POSSESSION

32:03

27:57

 

INDIVIDUAL STATS:

Rushing: (ETS) Jacob Saylors 13-121, Quay Holmes 16-65, Tyler Riddell 8-(-26); (UTC) Tyrell Price 13-98, Allym Ford 14-95, Cole Copeland 5-18, Gino Appleberry 2-17, Lance Jackson 1-4, Javon Burke 1-1.

Passing: (ETS) Tyler riddell 17-29-1 for 182 yards; (UTC) Cole Copeland 8-14-1 for 82 yards.

Receiving: (ETS) Will Hezzie 4-73, Nate Adkins 4-48, Juliun Price 2-24, Malik Murray 2-15, Jacob sailors 2-13, Quay Holmes 2-6, Noah West 1-3; (UTC) Tyrell Price 3-39, Reginald Henderson 2-30, Tyler Smith 1-8, Chris James 1-6, KeShawn Toney 1-(-1).               

 

 

Get in touch with the author by emailing joseph.a.dycus@gmail.com or on Twitter at @joseph_dycus . 



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