It was clear after 10 yards that nobody was catching Chris Mayes.
The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga defensive tackle, who stands 6-foot-3 and weighs close to 300 pounds, scored on a 55-yard fumble return Saturday during the Mocs' scrimmage at Finley Stadium.
The return, which had the other members of the defense going nuts on the sideline, was the highlight of the scrimmage. And Mayes said it was perhaps the best moment of his career.
"I do believe so," he said following the 90-play scrimmage, still smiling from ear to ear. "It's my first touchdown since I've been in college, so it was a great feeling."
It wasn't in an actual game -- Mayes, a Navy transfer, hasn't suited up for the Mocs yet after sitting out last season -- but it felt like it for the big man from Murfreesboro.
Mayes' return came after he scooped up a fumble by running back J.J. Jackson, though it was hard to tell if Jackson ever had the ball secured. Mayes leaned over and the ball bounced into his hands so he didn't have to break stride as he took off for the Chestnut Street end zone.
"I turned around to see all my [defensive] teammates," he said, "and the only voice I heard in my head was like the little kid from 'Little Giants,' 'I'm going to score a touchdown!'"
In a scrimmage that belonged to the offense, Mayes' return was the defense's shining moment. Even offensive coordinator Marcus Satterfield was impressed with Mayes' moves.
"I would love to put Chris Mayes in a bunch of places [on offense]," Satterfield said. "That's amazing that we couldn't catch him. He looked great."
In the 90-play scrimmage, the Mocs offense had five players with at least 32 yards rushing. Quarterback Jacob Huesman led the way with 100 yards on eight carries, including a 60-yard run on a broken play.
"It was nice to break one of those," Huesman said. "I hadn't had one like that since high school."
The first part of the scrimmage was scripted, which helped the offense, Satterfield said. After coming out "dead" in the first scrimmage, he said he was proud to see the offense start fast and continue to play at a high level.
"We could get our feet up under us and thank goodness the defense worked with us and let us script the first 30 plays," he said. "They came out with a purpose to try to run the football and did a good job. ... We're moving in the right direction."
Marquis Green had 11 carries for 86 yards and scored on a 6-yard run and Jackson had 62 yards on 11 attempts. The only other back available -- Keon Williams and Chris Awuah were out due to injury -- was Kenny Huitt. The redshirt freshman gained 56 yards on 13 carries.
Quarterback Terrell Robinson had 32 yards on nine carries and completed 5 of 9 passes for 48 yards and two touchdowns (both 12-yarders to tight end Faysal Shafaat). Huesman was 7 of 14 passing for 97 yards, including a 42-yarder to wideout Bryant Belew.
EHRENFELD TO TSU
Former Mocs offensive lineman and offensive line/tight ends coach Russ Ehrenfeld left the program last month to "pursue other opportunities," Huesman said at the time. That opportunity is apparently at Tennessee State, which FootballScoop.com reported Sunday had hired Ehrenfeld to coach TSU's offensive line.
Ehrenfeld was the line coach at TSU before joining Huesman's staff after the 2008 season.
John Frierson is in his fifth year at the Times Free Press and fifth 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 ...