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Mocs Get Validating Victory

By BJ Bennett
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When it seemed like a late touchdown pass might turn this contest into another heartbreaker for the Mocs, a team still finding itself found a way to respond.

It has been a disappointing season for Chattanooga, a recent power which entered the weekend with more losses in Southern Conference play this fall than the last three years combined. Improvement, however, is clearly being made. After coming within mere yards of beating The Citadel, the Mocs got back to their winning ways on Saturday, upsetting 8th-ranked Samford in Birmingham. The triumph gives head coach Tom Arth a signature victory and gives Chattanooga some much-needed momentum moving forward.

Victor Ulmo kicked a game-winning 39-yard field goal with 19 seconds to play following a memorable eight-play drive to get into scoring position. Alex Trotter converted a 4th-and-1  near midfield with a 17-yard burst, with true freshman quarterback Cole Copeland finding Alphonso Stewart for 16 more yards on the very next play. Defensively, the Mocs held high-powered Samford to just one touchdown until early in the fourth quarter, allowing merely 34 rushing yards on 27 attempts. Chattanooga forced fumbles on the Bulldogs' final two drives.  

The end result was the Mocs' first one-score win since mid-September of last season, a new narrative of late-game situations going their way. 

Chattanooga overcame many mistakes on the road to victory. The Mocs turned the football over four times and were whistled for 12 penalties for 107 yards, but ultimately, when it mattered most, simply willed their way to a win. Facing star quarterback Devlin Hodges, Chattanooga grabbed three interceptions, recording seven turnovers in all, also going 3-for-4 on fourth down tries. It wasn't necessarily pretty, but it was, even in late October, progress.

When it seemed like a 30-yard touchdown pass from Hodges might turn this contest into another heartbreaker for the Mocs, a team still finding itself found a way to respond.  

Up next for Chattanooga is another massive challenge: at top ten Wofford. The mindset, for the Mocs, should now be different. This one win may be remembered as an important one for Chattanooga, a potential turning point for a program now moving back in the right direction.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: / Twitter: @BJBennettSports