The third-ranked University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football team used a balanced attack and a standout second half by running back Derrick Craine to defeat Samford 41-21 in front of 8,714 at Finley Stadium Saturday.
The Mocs, who travel to East Tennessee State next week, rolled up 521 yards of total offense (285 rushing, 236 passing) on their way to their first 4-0 start since 1979. They improved to 2-0 in the Southern Conference, slowing down a potent Samford attack by forcing three turnovers.
Craine finished with 223 yards rushing on 23 carries, with 194 of those yards coming on 14 second-half carries. He had scoring runs of 34 yards and from a yard out to put the game away with 1:37 remaining.
Alejandro Bennifield finished 19-for-34 for 236 yards and touchdown throws to Richardre Bagley and Xavier Borishade.
The Mocs jumped out to a 21-0 lead on Bennifield's two scoring passes and a 16-yard run by the 6-foot-2, 220-pound quarterback. Samford rallied in the third quarter, with a touchdown pass from Devlin Hodges to Kelvin McKnight and a 5-yard run by Roland Adams that trimmed the UTC lead to 24-14.
UTC responded with a 34-yard run by Craine on a fourth-and-1 play with 3:56 to play in the third quarter and Samford never threatened again.
Hodges finished with 314 yards passing, with McKnight leading the way with 143 yards on nine catches. Samford finished with 46 yards rushing.
For a full story, read Sunday's Times Free Press.