published Friday, November 9th, 2012

Wofford's Breitenstein one of best ever in SoCon

  • photo
    Wofford's Eric Breitenstein points to the endzone at Finley Stadium in this file photo.
    Photo by Robin Rudd /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

There's nothing subtle about the way Wofford All-America fullback Eric Breitenstein plays football. The 5-foot-11, 225-pound senior is as subtle as a sledgehammer.

However, the Southern Conference's dominant rusher the past three seasons, who has 5,091 career yards, can't be fully appreciated without taking a closer, more thorough view, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga coach Russ Huesman said.

"When you watch him for four years ... he's not a guy that's flashy," Huesman said. "You've got to rewind the film to really appreciate him. And when you do, I think coaches around the league have a feel for how good he is."

The Mocs (5-4, 4-2), who play Wofford on Saturday in Spartanburg, S.C., with a shot at the SoCon title on the line, know well what Breitenstein can do. In his two games against the Mocs -- he missed the 2009 game due to injury -- he rushed for a combined 271 yards and four touchdowns.

The SoCon's 2011 offensive player of the year -- an award he'll almost certainly win again this season -- needs just 37 yards Saturday to surpass Shawn Graves (1989-92, 5,128 yards) as the Terriers' all-time leading rusher. He already has the school records for 100-yard games (28) and carries (810).

"He's a tremendous player; he is a fantastic human being, a great leader," Wofford coach Mike Ayers said. "And he's one of those guys that, when you go into a fight, you want him on your side."

Breitenstein, who has 1,396 yards this season, received plenty of attention when he set a SoCon single-game rushing record with 321 yards on 27 carries against Elon on Sept. 29. The record was held by former Appalachian State quarterback Armanti Edwards, one of the Football Championship Subdivision's legends.

Perhaps more impressive that that gaudy statistic is this one: Breitenstein has lost a total of 6 yards in 188 carries this season. Huesman had studied Breitenstein's games on tape, and when informed of the 6 yards lost, he didn't believe it.

"I want to see those 6, because I didn't see them," Huesman said. "I don't know where they are or how they were there. I'm sure it was like a half-yard here, half-yard there -- there were 12 half-yards."

Wofford is second in the FCS with 372.9 yards per game, so it's not just the "Breitenstein Show." But he's the key to the Terriers' offense, especially this week when injuries may force Wofford to start its third-string quarterback.

"The thing that he does with his style of running," Samford coach Pat Sullivan said, "is he's always falling forward. You look like you've got him stopped and all of a sudden they move the chains 4 yards. If you miss one tackle, he turns it into a 30-40-yard gain."

Extra points

Mocs linebacker Gunner Miller (shoulder) did not practice Wednesday or Thursday and is questionable for Saturday. ... Former Mocs quarterback B.J. Coleman, now on the Green Bay Packers' practice squad, attended Thursday's practice. ... Senior right tackle Adam Miller and sophomore defensive end Davis Tull were named to the Capital One Academic All-District team Thursday. Miller is a two-time honoree.

about John Frierson...

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 ...

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