CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – The Presbyterian College football team fell to the sixth-ranked Chattanooga Mocs, 34-0, on Saturday afternoon at Finley Stadium in Chattanooga, Tenn. The Blue Hose fall to 0-2 with the loss, while the Mocs remain perfect at 2-0 on the short season.
Head Coach Harold Nichols’s Take
“Well we gave up to many big plays defensively. We got ourselves off the field on third down at times but we’re just not consistent enough. They had some really good plays and they have a really good football team. They’re not a top-10 team for nothing. They’re a good team in all three phases. It was disappointing that we weren’t able to string a drive together, especially early in the ballgame to give ourselves a chance. We had too many three and outs and too many mistakes. We weren’t very good on first downs so you get in to second-and-long and third-and-long calls and it just goes downhill from there trying to convert first down opportunities. We just didn’t get it done. The credit goes to Chattanooga. They were a really good football team, but we have to play better than that or we’re going to have a hard time winning no matter who we’re playing.”
The Mocs scored 13 points in the second quarter to go in to the locker room at halftime with a 20-0 lead. Alejandro Bennifield found Xavier Borishade for 65 yards on the first play of the quarter to give the Mocs a 14-0 lead at the time. Two drives later, Chattanooga needed just four plays to find the endzone, as Bennifield found Borishade again for 35 yards through the air to make it a 20-0 lead at the half, after a missed extra point attempt.
How It Happened
The two teams felt each other out for much of the early going until Chattanooga got on the board late in the first quarter. UTC quarterback Bennifield found James Stovall for a 46-yard touchdown to give the Mocs a 7-0 lead. The Mocs then scored twice in the second quarter to push the lead to 20-0 at the half.
In the second half, the Mocs got two more touchdowns in the third quarter. UTC scored on its second play of the half, as Bennifield scored from nine yards out to make it a 27-0 game. Two drives later, the Mocs recorded another two-play drive with Bennfield finding Borishade for a third time, this time for 68 yards, to make it a 34-0 ballgame. The Blue Hose put together their best drive of the game in the fourth quarter, going 79 yards on 13 plays but a fumble at the two-yard line was picked up by Chattanooga and derailed PC’s best scoring chance.
Stat of the Game
The Presbyterian defense held the Chattanooga offense without a third-down conversion in the contest. The Mocs were 0-for-9 on third downs against the Blue Hose. PC has now held its opponents to 3-of-18 (.167) on third downs through two contests.
Darrell Bridges rushed for 89 yards on 18 carries, an average of 4.9 yards per carry, playing back in his hometown for the first time since high school. The redshirt junior also caught two passes for 10 yards and returned three kickoffs for 66 yards for a total of 165 all-purpose yards. In two games against Chattanooga, Bridges has totaled 176 rushing yards on 30 carries.
Khari Rosier put together a strong game at defensive end, totaling a career-high eight tackles with 1.5 sacks and 2.5 tackles for loss. The senior now has 8.0 career sacks and 18.5 tackles for loss in his career, most among all current Blue Hose players.
– Zola Davis, Kyle Goddard and Damien McGhee each recorded their first career receptions in today’s game. Davis had an 18-yard reception, the fourth longest PC play of the season, while Goddard had a 15-yard reception in the fourth quarter in one of his two catches on the day.
– Will Brock made his first career appearance at quarterback for the Blue Hose, going 4-for-6 passing for a team-high 58 yards in two series of action.
– PC had seven different players catch a pass in the ballgame, its most since the Blue Hose also had seven players catch a pass against Western Carolina last season.
– Brett Norton recorded a career-long 64-yard punt in the opening half of today’s game. It is tied for the second longest punt in PC’s Division I history. Norton finished the game with 12 punts for a Division I era school record 526 yards in the game, an average of 43.8 yards per punt. The sophomore had six punts downed inside in the 20-yard line, also a Division I era school record.
– The PC defense recorded 3.0 sacks in today’s game for a total of 27 yards. Through two games, PC has 7.0 sacks and entered this week in the top 10 in the country in that category.
Presbyterian wraps up a three-game road trip to start the season when it heads to Campbell, a member of the Pioneer League for football, on Saturday, September 17 at 7 p.m.