Chattanooga quarterback Terrell Robinson passes for a first down over the outstretched hands of blitzing Georgia Southern cornerback Laron Scott. Photo by Scott Bryant/Statesboro Herald
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga quarterback B.J. Coleman will have his right arm “in a sling for a while, for a few days for sure,” coach Russ Huesman said Sunday.
Coleman could play this week or may miss a game or two with the sprained shoulder he suffered early in the second quarter of Saturday’s 28-27 loss at No. 1 Georgia Southern. Coleman was hit on his right (throwing) shoulder and the senior did not return.
“We’re going to see how he progresses, rehab him and we’ll see,” Huesman said.
Coleman has started 28 straight games since he transferred to No. 23 UTC (2-4, 0-3 Southern Conference) and shares the school record with 49 career touchdown passes.
Huesman said redshirt freshman Terrell Robinson will start this week’s must-win game against Western Carolina (1-4, 0-3) if Coleman can’t play.
After Coleman went out against the Eagles (5-0, 4-0), in came Robinson, who rushed for 114 yards and three touchdowns and nearly led the Mocs to a dramatic come-from-behind win.
“He did that against us last year on the scout team the whole year,” Huesman said of Robinson’s ability to move the offense. “That’s exactly how he looked.”
The Eagles scored a couple of quick touchdowns — the first off a Robinson fumble — soon after Coleman was injured. With UTC down 14-0 and looking vulnerable, Robinson led the Mocs on an 11-play, 82-yard touchdown drive.
Georgia Southern led 21-7 at the half and UTC drove 76 yards, all on the ground, on its first possession of the third quarter to make it 21-14. J.J. Jackson scored on a 20-yard run.
“When B.J. went down, we could either stop fighting or keep fighting,” Jackson said. “We decided to keep fighting and just take what the defense gives us.”
The GSU defense hadn’t given teams much of anything on the ground all season, allowing just 57.0 yards a game, but it had few answers for the Robinson and the Mocs’ spread scheme. UTC finished with 238 yards rushing.
“Just to have that mobile quarterback in, things changed around a lot,” Eagles cornerback Laron Scott said.
Georgia Southern was supposed to be the ball-hogging team, but it was UTC in the fourth quarter. With scoring drives of 80 and 73 yards, featuring a combined 27 plays, the Mocs had the ball for 10 minutes, 55 seconds.
After Robinson ran the ball in from the 5 with 1:44 to play to cut GSU’s lead to 28-27, UTC used its last timeout. Huesman opted to go for the win with a 2-point conversion, but linebacker Josh Rowe, who laid the hit on Coleman, was quickly all over Robinson and the attempt failed.
Between redshirt sophomore Graham Nichols and Robinson, the Mocs didn’t have a backup quarterback with any significant game experience. They do now.
“We came at [the Eagles] different, the line executed, the wide receivers executed, they opened up holes for me, and I was able to run through them,” Robinson said. “It’s like our offense opened up, and they didn’t know what to expect.”
If Coleman can play, Huesman said, he will. Despite how well Robinson and the offense performed against GSU, there is most definitely no quarterback controversy.
“If B.J. comes back this week, if he comes back next week, when he comes back, he’s our quarterback,” Huesman said.
Huesman said defensive tackle Nick Davison will wait until after fall semester ends to have surgery to repair his torn ACL. ... After a school-record six straight weeks ranked in the top 25, UTC will almost certainly be out when the new polls are released today.
John Frierson is in his seventh year at the Times Free Press and seventh year covering University of Tennessee at Chattanooga athletics. The bulk of his time is spent covering Mocs football, but he also writes about women’s basketball and the big-picture issues and news involving the athletic department. A native of Athens, Ga., John grew up a few hundred yards from the University of Georgia campus. Instead of becoming a Bulldog he attended Ole ...