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Turnovers, penalties end Bucs’ perfect run in Chattanooga

ETSU suffers first loss of the year in 21-16 setback at Chattanooga

 

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – All good things must come to an end.

Plagued by a season-high three turnovers, eight penalties and surrendering two rushing touchdowns of 49 and 58 yards, the No. 10 ETSU football team suffered its first loss of the season as Chattanooga defeated the Bucs, 21-16, on Saturday afternoon from Finley Stadium.

Despite gaining more total yards of offense, it was Chattanooga’s 235 yards on the ground that proved the difference. The Bucs out-gained the Mocs, 342 to 317, but two fumbles and one interception haunted ETSU. The Bucs fought until the very end as they recovered an onside kick with 30 seconds remaining, but an offside penalty resulted in the Bucs having to re-kick, which Chattanooga recovered. The Mocs took one knee and escaped for the five-point win to keep The Rail in the Scenic City for another year.

Jacob Saylors (Jasper, Tenn.) had a successful return home as he rushed for 121 yards on 13 carries and had a season-long 54-yard touchdown run. Saylors posted his sixth career 100-yard rushing game, while his 121 yards were the third-most of his collegiate career. Jalen Porter (Gallatin, Tenn.) and Mike Price (Stockbridge, Ga.) led the Buccaneer defense with six tackles each, while Porter generated the lone ETSU sack. Alijah Huzzie (Franklin, Ga.) had his first interception of the season to go with four solo tackles and Tyree Robinson (Gainesville, Ga.) had five tackles and one fumble recovery. Unfortunately, after only being sacked four times in its first six games, Tyler Riddell (Tampa, Fla.) was sacked five times with Devonnsha Maxwell accounting for 4.5 of them.

With the loss, ETSU dropped to 6-1 overall and 3-1 in SoCon play, while Chattanooga improved to 3-3 overall and 2-1 in conference action.

HOW IT HAPPENED:

  • Second Quarter
  • Chattanooga 7, ETSU 0: After both teams were held scoreless in the opening 15 minutes, it didn’t take the Mocs long to find the end zone as Tyrell Price scored on the first play of the second quarter via an eight-yard run up the middle. Following Aaron Sears’ extra-point, Chattanooga led, 7-0, with 14:54 remaining before halftime.

Third Quarter

  • Chattanooga 7, ETSU 3: The Buccaneers evened the turnover margin and capitalized on the Chattanooga fumble to make it a 7-3 score with 9:26 remaining in the quarter. With the Mocs facing first down from their own 26, Gino Appleberry ripped off a 12-yard run, but Olajuwon Pinkelton (Cincinnati, Ohio) got his hand out to jar the ball loose, allowing Tyree Robinson to recover the ball on the Chattanooga sideline. ETSU then went five yards in four plays and Tyler Keltner (Tallahassee, Fla.) connected on his 51-yard field goal.
  • Chattanooga 14, ETSU 3: Chattanooga answered the Bucs’ field goal drive with its second touchdown score of the afternoon when Ailym Ford reached the end zone on a 49-yard run, capping off a 8-play, 75-yard in just under five minutes.
  • Chattanooga 14, ETSU 10: ETSU wasted little time returning the favor as Jacob Saylors found the hole and ripped off a 54-yard touchdown run. Saylors had both carries on the drive and the Bucs pulled within four with 3:37 remaining in the quarter.

Fourth Quarter

  • Chattanooga 21, ETSU 10: After the Bucs turned it over for the third time of the game, Chattanooga made ETSU pay as Tyrell Price ripped off a 58-yard touchdown run on 3rd-and-4, giving the Mocs a two-score lead with 6:43 remaining in the quarter.
  • Chattanooga 21, ETSU 16: Driving with just under two minutes to go, Tyler Riddell found Will Huzzie (Duluth, Ga.) on a 22-yard touchdown pass with a back-shoulder throw to the three-yard line, when Huzzie fought his way to the pylon. Riddell and the Bucs went for the two-point conversion, but it was intercepted and returned to the UTC 38-yard line.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS 

  • With the loss, ETSU – who cracked the Top 10 for the first time since Oct. 11, 1997 – dropped to 19-24-1 all-time in the series and the Bucs are still searching for their first road win at Chattanooga since Nov. 11, 2000.
  • The Buccaneer defense forced two turnovers (one interception and one fumble), marking the sixth time in seven games the Blue and Gold forced at least one turnover.
  • Chattanooga outscored ETSU 14-3 in points off turnovers.
  • The Bucs also held Chattanooga to season-low 82 yards passing, marking its lowest total since passing for 76 against Tennessee on Sept. 14, 2019.
  • Tyler Riddell finished 17-of-29 for 182 yards with one touchdown and three turnovers.
  • After converting on over 48 percent of its third down chances entering the season, ETSU was held to 4-of-13 on Saturday, while going 0-of-2 on fourth down.
  • ETSU was shutout in the first half since being blanked at Vanderbilt in the 2019 season finale … After not scoring on their first five drives to start the game, the Bucs scored on three of their last five.
  • Jacob Saylors finished the day with 121 yards on the ground with 13 carries and one score. Saylors added two grabs for 26 yards as well.
  • Will Huzzie led the Bucs with 73 yards receiving on four catches and one score. Huzzie received a game-high nine targets.
  • Tyler Keltner went 1-2 in field goals, missing from 44 but nailing one from 51 to put ETSU on the board. Keltner moved into a tie for third all-time on the Buccaneer extra-point list after converting on his lone opportunity Saturday. The Tallahassee, Fla. native is tied with Mike Shoun (1987-90) with 72.

NEXT GAME UP

ETSU plays its second consecutive road game next Saturday when the Bucs play at Furman. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. at Paladin Stadium.

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