Mocs play to 7-7 tie in Blue-White game

Mocs play to 7-7 tie in Blue-White game

April 23rd, 2016 by Gene Henley in Sports - College

UTC graduate Josh Freeman places his third SoCon ring onto his hand after receiving it at halftime of the UTC spring football game at Finley Stadium on Saturday, April 23, 2016, in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Photo by Doug Strickland /Times Free Press.

Gallery: Mocs play to 7-7 tie in Blue-White game

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Nobody wanted a tie.

Not the Blue team nor the White Team. Apparently not the coordinators, either.

They tried everything in the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga's Blue-White football game Saturday at Finley Stadium to break the 7-7 tie, including head coach Russ Huesman letting the play clock wind down to 1 before calling a timeout with less than two minutes to play so Henrique Ribeiro could attempt a winning field goal.

Ribeiro's miss set up the White team with one final attempt, and they thought they had a chance after a double pass from Xavier Johnson to Bingo Morton to Ke'Von Hall was completed deep downfield, but it was ruled that Morton was across the line of scrimmage and the big gainer wouldn't count.

"That was an incredible lesson to learn, but we had some young guys on that side of the ball," Huesman said. "If we had our first-team defense out there, it would have never got executed. If we had a better throw there, it would have been a better play."

The teams finished knotted up in front of a crowd of 2,386 on the final day of spring practice. The players start exams this week.

Blue quarterback Alejandro Bennifield was 10-for-19 for 120 yards and a 42-yard touchdown pass, on a scramble, to Kota Nix. Backup quarterback Tyler Roberson, who led the White team, finished 10-for-16 for 67 yards and engineered a drive that ended in a 3-yard run by Kyle Nalls, the offensive most valuable player.

Cedric Nettles had an interception of Bennifield on the game's first drive and was named the defensive MVP.

It was a solid effort by the White team defense, made up of first-team defenders. They had three sacks and four tackles for loss, and interceptions of Bennifield on the game's first two drives. Lucas Webb made a diving pickoff along the sideline.

"Today was a good way to start our offseason training," Nettles said. "It was a good way to end the spring.

"This spring is a good start in the direction we need to be going headed into the season."

The White defenders took full advantage of the the Blue's vanilla schemes on offense. To limit the contact of the first-team offensive linemen and running back Derrick Craine, no run plays were called.

Nalls was the game's leading rusher but was held to 15 yards on 13 carries. Craine and Alex Trotter, running backs for the Blue team, had no carries.

"We're supposed to come out here like it's a regular game, but we weren't trying to get anybody hurt," Nalls said. "But it is disappointing we didn't do what we were supposed to do."

Nix had 51 yards on his three catches and was the game's leading receiver, while Xavier Borishade had 34 yards receiving also for the Blue team. Morton had 31 on three catches to lead the White team.

"We've got a pretty good defense," Huesman said. "I like our guys. We've got talented guys like Nakevion (Leslie), Lucas, Cedric, Vantrel (McMillan), Keionta (Davis) — they're a good group of defenders. We've got to add pieces to that, so our depth is a little bit of a concern, but we've got six or seven of the best players in the league on the defensive side of the ball."

The final tally

The White team's McMillan, Taylor Reynolds and Dale Warren and the Blue team's Khayyan Edwards were credited with sacks. Warren was also credited with a quarterback hurry.

Redshirt freshman defensive back Le'Vonte Larry and sophomore transfer Ben Schrider, who will have to sit out the 2016 season, each had three tackles for loss.

Edwards, Larry, Brenton Merritt and Tae Davis had pass breakups.

Kerrington Wilson, a redshirt freshman from McCallie, had an interception of former East Hamilton standout Hunter Moore.

Contact Gene Henley at ghenley@timesfreepress.com. Follow him at twitter.com/genehenleytfp.


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