The Bucs brought the No. 3 ranked team in the Football Championship Subdivision, the Chattanooga Mocs, into Kermit Tipton Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 1 for a Southern Conference showdown.
Competing against big competition did not stop the Bucs’ energy in the beginning. After the first quarter, ETSU only trailed by three after a field goal kick by UTC.
The second quarter is when the Bucs began to lose their grip. Following a 47-yard pass from quarterback Alejandro Bennifield (Lovejoy, Ga.) to wide receiver James Stovall, UTC’s running back Derrick Craine (McDonough, Ga.) made it into the end zone to give the Mocs a 10-0 lead.
About five minutes later with 5:56 remaining before halftime, the Mocs scored again on a one-yard rush by Richardre Bagley (Powder Springs, Ga.).
The Bucs were not able to add on to the scoreboard before halftime and ended the first half 17-0.
Things did not get better for the Bucs coming out of halftime.
In the third quarter, Derrick Cain scored his second and third touchdown of the game to give his team a 31-0 lead heading to the final quarter.
The Mocs seemed to have the victory in sight. The Bucs scored a touchdown with 5:22 remaining when Nick Sexton (Seymour, Tenn.) completed a pass to Dalton Ponchillia (Nashville, Tenn.) for 11 yards to give the Bucs their first touchdown of the game.
“It was a good feeling for me and to the team,” Ponchillia said. “Just to end the game with a touchdown and not be shutout really helps an offense.”
Despite the momentum and volume from the crowd, the touchdown came too late. UTC’s Kyle Nalls (Fayette, Ala.) rushed for one yard in the end zone and put the game way, 37-7.
“We have a long way to go,” said Head Coach Carl Torbush. ”But I think all of us can see that we are not that far away. We need some help in certain places, and you can’t make mistakes when you play a team like this. You have to play pretty much mistake free to have a chance to win, and we did not do that.
The Bucs will hit the road Saturday to play VMI in Lexingtonn, Virginia. Kickoff is set for 1:30 p.m.