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Mountaineers Trample Mocs
No surprises here. Just another ugly loss in a football season full of them for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
Second-ranked Appalachian State smashed and gashed the Mocs 49-7 on Saturday, giving the three-time defending national champions their second win at Finley Stadium in the past 11 months — one more than the Mocs have in that same span. The game had an announced attendance of 6,057.
“They’re everything as advertised,” Mocs coach Rodney Allison said of the Mountaineers (8-2, 6-0), who can clinch at least a share of their fourth straight Southern Conference championship this week against Elon. “Offensively, I don’t see anything that keeps them from going a long way (in the playoffs).”
After scoring 70 points against Wofford eight days earlier, ASU popped one big play after another against the hapless Mocs (1-9, 0-6), losers of eight straight games. Led by quarterback Armanti Edwards’ running and throwing, the offense piled up 407 yards in the first half and 655 for the game, the most UTC has allowed this season.
Edwards had nine carries for 152 yards and was 9-for-17 passing for 176 yards and two touchdowns in the first half, and he never left the bench in the second. Edwards has 22 touchdown passes this season and has thrown 157 consecutive passes without an interception.
“We know we can take a lot of chances (on defense) because we’ve got that guy right there,” Appalachian State linebacker Pierre Banks said, pointing to Edwards. “He going to go on the field and take over.”
Edwards was one of three Mountaineers to rush for more than 100 yards, all of them doing it in just two quarters. Cedric Baker had 107 yards on 12 second-half carries, and backup quarterback DeAndre Presley had 12 carries for 101 yards and was 3-for-3 for 51 yards passing.
“They’re playmakers and they make plays, and there’s no question about that,” UTC defensive end Neil Brown said.
On Appalachian State’s first play from scrimmage, Edwards ran for 28 yards. Three plays later, on third-and-10, he passed to CoCo Hillary for 34 yards to the UTC 18-yard line. On the next play, running back Robert Welton ran the ball in for the first of his three first-half touchdowns.
The Mocs responded late in the first quarter, driving to the ASU 28 before quarterback Jare Gault hit a wide-open Clint Woods down the left side for a touchdown. It was the Mocs’ first offensive touchdown since the first play of the second quarter against Elon on Oct. 18.
Edwards ran for 76 yards on the first play of ASU’s next possession, and Welton scored from the 1 just 79 seconds after Woods reached the end zone, putting the Mountaineers back in front for good. Raeshon Ball fumbled on the ensuing kickoff and the Mountaineers recovered, later scoring on a 16-yard pass from Edwards to Hillary to make it 21-7 with 4:51 to play in the opening quarter.
“Once again it was the big plays that got us,” said UTC linebacker Joseph Thornton, who led the Mocs with 10 tackles. “They’ve got a lot of guys that can make plays, and they were able to get us a few times in the first half when the game was still close.”
The UTC offense never looked as good as it did on the scoring drive and finished with 227 yards. Gault was 5-for-18 for 51 yards with an interception and was sacked three times, and he caught a 32-yard pass from receiver Blue Cooper. Erroll Wynn rushed for 57 yards on 18 carries, and Woods was one of four Mocs receivers with two receptions each.
After weeks of struggles, the Mocs’ punt team had its best game of the season, executing all nine attempts without error. Jeff Lloyd averaged 43.2 yards per punt and ran a fake for 17 yards and a first down. Six of Lloyd’s punts were downed inside the 20, including two inside the 5.
“We finally got it all together, in Week 10,” Lloyd said, “I hate losing, especially that bad, but maybe this gives us something to build on, when one part of the team was productive.”
Mountaineers trample Mocs
By John Frierson, The Chattanooga Times Free Press