Western Carolina quarterback Brandon Pechloff tried to escape the rush and flip the football to a teammate.
The pass went nowhere near his intended target.
Instead, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga sophomore D.J. Key snatched the underhand toss and sped up the left sideline for an 85-yard touchdown.
Key's play in the third quarter symbolized the Catamounts' offensive struggles and UTC's defensive dominance in a 51-7 Mocs romp at Finley Stadium.
"I thought they were excellent," UTC coach Russ Huesman said. "We've got good defensive players and Adam [Fuller, the coordinator] is putting them in good position."
The UTC first-team defense scored more points than it allowed. The entire squad forced five turnovers and limited the Catamounts to 264 yards and 22 points below their average of 29 points per game.
"Five [turnovers] -- that's a pretty good day, and two touchdowns," Huesman said. "We got after their quarterback most of the day. Our defense played really well."
Senior linebacker Ryan Consiglio scooped up a fumble forced by Keyon Reed -- who later recovered one -- and scampered 45 yards to the end zone.
"When I picked it up, I knew I had a little ways to go," Consiglio said. "I tried to run as fast as possible. At about the 15 I had to suck it up and get there."
Consiglio also recovered a fumble last weekend against Georgia Southern and now has four in his four-year career.
UTC officials didn't have stats available Saturday to determine the last time the Mocs defense scored twice in the same game.
"We've had some good defensive outings in my years," Consiglio said, "but this will go down in my record book."
'Coach' B.J. Coleman
Senior quarterback B.J. Coleman spent Saturday on the sideline wearing a headset and communicating with his offensive teammates.
"I get bored on the sideline and I felt like a coach," said Coleman, who did not dress out because of his sprained shoulder from the previous week's game.
He chatted in the first quarter with freshman receiver Ron Moore and asked how defenders were playing him. Coleman relayed the answer to offensive coordinator Marcus Satterfield, who called a play on the next drive to get Moore one-on-one.
It worked for a 35-yard touchdown pass from Terrell Robinson with 10 seconds to go in the first period.
"B.J. will be a heck of a coach when he's 45, 50 years old," Moore said. "Anything I need to know, I go to him."
No Citadel-like slip
The Mocs have let leads slip before. Just two weeks ago they led 24-0 at halftime against The Citadel and 27-0 early in the third quarter, only to lose 28-27.
The Mocs didn't let a big lead disappear this time.
UTC sacked Brandon Pechloff on the first play of the second half and Chaz Moore intercepted him on the third play. J.J. Jackson scored on a 22-yard rush on the ensuing Mocs snap for a 38-0 lead.
"At halftime, I told the guys, 'Do not look at the scoreboard. Do not smile," Huesman said. "We had to stay focused."
UTC freshman Zach McCarter from Hixson did not play a week ago at Georgia Southern. The reserve safety intercepted Zac Brindise in the fourth quarter and drew praise from Huesman, who credited his reserves as a whole.
"You want those to do what you coach them to do and the majority of them did," Huesman said. "They all looked half-decent out there."
David Uchiyama is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who began his tenure here in May 2001. His primary beats are UTC athletics — specifically men’s basketball and athletic department administration — and golf, which includes coverage from the PGA Tour to youth events. He also covers other high school sports, outdoor adventures, and contributes to other sections of the newspaper when necessary. David grew up in Salinas, Calif., and began working ...