The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football team improved to 3-3 this season, including 2-1 in the Southern Conference, with Saturday's 21-16 win over 10th-ranked and previously unbeaten East Tennessee State University at Finley Stadium.
What were already standout performances by two UTC players got a little bit better numerically on Sunday, when the program released updated statistics that credited Devonnsha Maxwell with five sacks instead of 4.5 and Tyrell Price with an additional 4-yard carry, giving him the fifth 100-yard rushing performance of his Mocs career.
The Mocs' next game is against Samford (3-3, 2-2) at 1 p.m. Eastern on Saturday at Seibert Stadium in Birmingham, Alabama.
Here are three next-day takeaways from the win against the rival Buccaneers.
Good Mocs show up: The Mocs have struggled with consistency from game to game, and in some cases from half to half or even possession to possession. Against ETSU, they avoided the lapses that led to losses versus Virginia Military Institute in overtime the week before and versus Austin Peay in the season opener.
"It's never going to be easy. It's never going to be perfect, but that's what we have to fight for," UTC coach Rusty Wright said Saturday. "It's human nature to go backwards, it's not to go further, and that's what our kids have got to understand — we got this done today by having the best week of practice we've had in a long time, and I don't lie to them when I talk about how we perform in practice or in the game. I'm as up front with that group as any group, but that's what gave us an opportunity to win."
Ground impact: As has been the case all season, the Mocs leaned on the running back tandem of Ailym Ford and Price. The latter finished with 102 yards and a pair of touchdowns on the ground, while Ford added 95 and a score. The Mocs topped 200 yards for the third straight game, and they're 3-2 and averaging 222.2 rushing yards per game with 13 scores since Cole Copeland took over at quarterback.
"That's just fresh bodies coming back to back," Price said of the ground game, which also features junior Gino Appleberry. "Instead of receiving hits all the time, we can deliver them and that can wear down on the defense."
"D" gets it done: At every level defensively, the Mocs dominated Saturday. Maxwell's sacks total set a single-game program record; linebacker Ty Boeck reached double digits in tackles for the third time this season; safety Jerrell Lawson — who had two career interceptions entering the 2021 spring season — picked off a pass for the third time this year; and outside linebacker Jay Person recovered two fumbles, both of which set up UTC touchdown drives.
"We all took it personal as a defense," Maxwell said. "We had plenty of time in the VMI game to end the game and we just didn't, so we all tried to make ourselves get better. We didn't worry about anything else, we just put in the work."