VMI falls short to No. 17 Chattanooga 24-23

LEXINGTON, Va. – Falling into an early 14-0 hole, the VMI Football team battled back and controlled much of Saturday’s game against nationally-ranked Chattanooga (No. 17/15), taking the Mocs all the way down-to-the wire but falling just shy 24-23.

“We got off to a bad start. Didn’t tackle well, a little bit out of control and offensively we were out of sorts early, but fought our way back,” said VMI Head Coach Danny Rocco. “The second half we played a really solid half of football. Didn’t put enough points on the board, we gotta score… Down the stretch the defense got us the ball back, but we punted the ball and to Chattanooga’s credit they were able to get two first downs.”

Despite the loss, VMI held Chattanooga to its lowest time of possession of the season (23:38, 5th nationally entering Saturday), holding the ball for over 36 minutes

Lord Botetourt grad Hunter Rice posted a career-high 208 rushing yards and three TDs, eclipsing the 100-yards mark for the third consecutive game including a career-long 67-yard touchdown run. Rice’s three touchdowns marks his fourth career game with two or more scores, is the third time this season he has scored two touchdowns (11th player to accomplish that feat), and second three-score game of career (Mercer, 2021)

Ivan Thorpe recorded a team-high 7 catches and 66 yards, with Egypt Nelson (56 yards) and Aidan Twombly (38 yards) each recording four catches. Eric Rankin lead the VMI defense with 8.0 tackles, 1.0 sacks. Alex Oliver, Evan Eller, Josh Knapp each collect 6.0 tackles.

The Keydets will hit the road next Saturday, traveling to ETSU at 1:00 p.m.

About the Authors:

Eric is no stranger to the Roanoke Valley. He is a Roanoke native and proud graduate of William Fleming High School.