Chattanooga takes advantage of early VMI miscues, blasts Keydets, 63-7

The Chattanooga Mocs scored touchdowns on six of their first seven possessions and never looked back, on the way to a 63-7 win over the VMI Keydets in SoCon football action Saturday at Foster Stadium in Lexington, Va. The game was the SoCon opener for both teams and was the first win for Chattanooga (1-3, 1-0 SoCon) under head coach Tom Arth.

vmi footballUTC raced out to a 42-0 lead before the Keydets (0-4, 0-1) scored with 3:58 left in the first half, doing so on a 73-yard pass by Duncan Hodges to Javeon Lara that was the first touchdown pass of Hodges’ career. VMI was unable to rally further, however, as the visiting Mocs held the home team to just one offensive first down in the second half on the way to the big win.

Turnovers were a main story, as Chattanooga generated four – including three interceptions – to go along with a blocked punt. Those five mistakes led to 28 UTC points.

UTC scored first on an unseasonably warm, sunny day in Lexington, and led 7-0 when Bill Hogan came on to punt the ball away on VMI’s second offensive possession of the game. Hogan’s punt was blocked and the ball was recovered by the Mocs at the 1-yard line. One play later, Darrell Bridges ran it in for a touchdown and a 14-0 lead with just over five minutes gone by in the game.

The Mocs added another TD later in the quarter and another Bridges’ TD run 2:35 into the second period, making it 28-0 when a fumble by Hodges was recovered by UTC’s Lucas Webb and returned for a touchdown, making it a 35-0 game. That margin grew to 42-0 before Lara’s long TD catch that accounted for the halftime margin, 42-7.

UTC scored three times in the second half, including on a 17-play, 76-yard drive to start the third quarter that ate up nearly 10 minutes on the clock, and that accounted for the final margin of 63-7.

Offensively, UTC saw quarterback Nick Tiano go 25 for 33 for 249 yards and four touchdowns while completing passes to 10 different receivers. VMI was led by Ryan Francis, who had double-digit tackles with 10 stops, and the defense made five tackles for loss on the day.

VMI football will return to action Sept. 30, when the Keydets take on Mercer in Macon, Ga. Opening kickoff is set for 4 p.m.



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