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Staff photo by Robin Rudd / UTC quarterback Nick Tiano celebrates in the final second of the Mocs' 34-33 win against The Citadel on Saturday at Finley Stadium.

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football team beat The Citadel 34-33 on Saturday at Finley Stadium to improve to 6-5 overall and 5-2 in Southern Conference play.

The Citadel is 6-5, 4-3.

 

SATURDAY'S STAR

For the second consecutive week, UTC senior quarterback Nick Tiano was the key. This time he led a wild comeback as the Mocs rallied from down 13 points in the final 8:49 to win a crazy game on senior day. He completed just 11 of 29 passes, but they went for 268 yards and two touchdowns. Tiano also rushed for 54 yards, including a 12-yard scramble for the tying touchdown — junior kicker Victor Ulmo made the pivotal extra point — with 28 seconds left.

 

SATURDAY'S STAT

24.4. That's how many yards the Mocs averaged on each of their 11 receptions against the Bulldogs. Bryce Nunnelly had 129 yards on four catches (32.3) and Tyrin Summers averaged 45 on two, one a 75-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter that is the Mocs' longest completion this season.

 

TURNING POINT

There were several, but the biggest may have come after the Bulldogs stopped the Mocs on fourth down at The Citadel 11-yard line with just more than two minutes left and UTC trailing by six points. Needing to make a stop to get the ball back, the Mocs did just that, with D.J. Jackson tackling Dante Smith short of the first-down marker.

 

HIGHLIGHT PLAY

Big plays were the order of the day, but Tiano's 12-yard scramble to score in the final minute brought the home crowd to its feet and helped the Mocs to an incredible comeback win. Tiano had guided the Mocs inside the 20 with pinpoint passing (and a pass interference call on fourth down), but this time when he stepped back to throw, he saw the middle open up and took off for the end zone, diving for six.

 

WHAT IT MEANS

The Mocs have five SoCon wins and are in position, with a win by The Citadel next Saturday at Wofford, to secure a tie for the league title. No matter how it turns out, Saturday's win is the signature one Rusty Wright wanted in his first season as head coach at his alma mater.

Contact Lindsey Young at lyoung@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6296. Follow him on Twitter @youngsports22.

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