JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Oct. 1, 2016) – The last time ETSU’s football team played Chattanooga, the Buccaneers won by a school record 61 points back in 2003. Unfortunately, the result was not as favorable thirteen years later.
The Bucs – who are in just their second season of football after an 11-year hiatus from the sport – got a quality barometer for what it takes to compete nationally in the Football Championship Subdivision, as No. 3-ranked Chattanooga rolled to a 37-7 victory in Southern Conference action Saturday afternoon at Kermit Tipton Stadium.
ETSU (2-2, 2-2) had looked competitive in the early going, moving the ball on a pair of possessions and trailing only 3-0 after one quarter. However, by halftime the Mocs (5-0, 3-0) had increased their lead to 17-0 and then tacked on another pair of touchdowns in the third quarter to put the game away at 31-0.
HOW THEY SCORED:
- Chattanooga 3, ETSU 0: The Mocs needed a fourth-down conversion midway through their first drive of the game, but the gamble paid off as they retained possession and broke through on the scoreboard. Ultimately, UTC moved the ball deep into ETSU territory before a third-down sack by the Bucs’ defensive end Jason Maduafokwa (Seymour, Tenn.) resulted in an 11-yard loss and stymied the UTC drive. Even so, the Mocs’ Henrique Ribeiro was able to connect on a 52-yard field goal and Chattanooga led 3-0. The drive went 37 yards in 13 plays and took 5:36 off the clock.
- Chattanooga 10, ETSU 0: Using a 47-yard pass from quarterback Alejandro Bennifield to wide receiver James Stovall, the Mocs took their third possession of the game 81 yards in just six plays and scored on a one-yard run by tailback Derrick Craine. The extra point was good and UTC led 10-0 with 10:34 left in the first half.
- Chattanooga 17, ETSU 0: A controversial pass interference call and a long third-down conversion helped spark the Mocs on their next scoring drive, as a 1-yard touchdown run by Richardre Bagley made it 17-0 with 5:56 left in the first half. The drive covered 57 yards in seven plays.
- Chattanooga 24, ETSU 0: After trading a pair of possessions in the second half, the Bucs were forced to punt from their own end zone and a personal foul on ETSU only made matters worse, giving the Mocs quality field possession at the ETSU 23-yard line. Six plays later and Craine scored on a 2-yard run to make it 24-0.
- Chattanooga 31, ETSU 0: The Mocs wasted little time scoring again, as a fumble on the Bucs’ first play from scrimmage on their next possession was returned to the 1-yard line. On the next play, Craine scored for the third time in the game, rumbling in from 1-yard out. The extra point was good and the Mocs led 31-0.
- Chattanooga 31, ETSU 7: After Chattanooga attempted to add another touchdown with a fourth down play at the ETSU 1-yard line midway through the fourth quarter, UTC running back Alex Trotter fumbled the ball and the Bucs’ junior defensive back Daren Ardis (Bradenton, Fla.) picked up the loose ball. Ardis returned the fumble 87 yards to the UTC 11 yard line. Two plays later, ETSU sophomore quarterback Nick Sexton (Seymour, Tenn.) found junior Dalton Ponchillia (Nashville, Tenn.) for an 11-yard touchdown reception to make it 31-7 with just over five minutes left in the game.
- Chattanooga 37, ETSU 7: The Mocs added the last score of the game in the final minutes, going 70 yards on five plays in just over three minutes to score on Kyle Nalls’ 1-yard run.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
- ETSU sophomore linebacker Dylan Weigel (Pickerington, Ohio) recorded his 11th career game with double-digit tackles … Weigel totaled a game-high 12 tackles.
- Ardis’ 87-yard fumble return matched the longest in school history. Ardis joins former Buccaneer Charles Stein at the top of that list. Stein returned a fumble 87 yards in 1978 against Appalachian State.
- Senior defensive back Tavian Lott (D’Lo, Miss.) recorded ETSU’s first interception of the season, which marked the third of his career … Lott also finished with six tackles … Jason Maduafokwa now has three sacks on the season and has registered at least one sack in two of his first three collegiate games played.
- The Bucs were 9-3 against UTC from 1992 to 2003, but Chattanooga held a 20-18-1 advantage in the all-time series entering Saturday’s game.
- Chattanooga’s defense entered Saturday’s game No. 1 in the country in points allowed (8.8 ppg) and No. 2 in total defense, allowing team’s an average of 200.5 yards per game.
- As a unit, the Buccaneer defense held UTC to 4-of-12 on third down … Following the interception and fumble, ETSU has forced turnovers in three of its four games.
- Following its 11-yard touchdown pass, the Bucs moved to a perfect 10-of-10 in red zone scoring – seven touchdowns and three field goals.
- Dalton Ponchillia has registered at least one reception in all 15 games played in his ETSU career and has multiple catches in each game this season.
- A crowd of 7,411 fans were on hand for this rivalry-renewed game between ETSU and Chattanooga.
- Chattanooga finished the game with 397 yards in total offense compared to 132 yards for the Bucs. ETSU also committed a pair of turnovers.
- The Bucs wore pink socks and wristbands during the game in support of breast cancer awareness.
The Bucs will return to action next Saturday when they hit the road to face Southern Conference foe VMI. Kickoff is set for 1:30 p.m. in Lexington, Va., and the game will be broadcast via live web streaming courtesy of ESPN3.
For more information on Buccaneer football, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the football link.