published Thursday, October 11th, 2012

Mocs stress stopping Furman's Williams

Furman's Jerodis Williams (30) escapes the grasp of UTC's Gunner Miller.
Furman's Jerodis Williams (30) escapes the grasp of UTC's Gunner Miller.
Photo by Robin Rudd /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Jerodis Williams didn't have much to say about the numbers he's put up this season. That's OK, the pretty much speak for themselves.

Furman's senior running back, a 2011 first team All-Southern Conference pick, has rushed for 766 yards and seven touchdowns through six games. He also has nine catches for 74 yards and a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.

"I just don't pay attention to that stuff," he said. "Maybe if we were doing better as a team I would be more excited about what I've done individually."

Furman (2-4, 1-2 SoCon), which hosts the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (2-3, 1-1) on Saturday at Paladin Stadium, has had a season the Mocs would recognize. Three of the Paladins' four losses have been by three points or less, including last week's 20-17 loss to undefeated and fourth-ranked Wofford.

Against the Terriers, the 5-foot-11, 208-pound Williams had 121 yards and two touchdowns on 26 carries.

Williams' best day came against Western Carolina, when he scored on the 100-yard return, ran 89 yards for a touchdown and had a two-yard run for a score -- all in the first half. He finished with 239 yards rushing on 18 carries.

Williams, who rushed for 1,055 yards and nine touchdowns last season, refused to take much credit. He said it was all about the offensive line, the blocking receivers and nearly every other aspect of a football team.

Furman's second-year coach, Bruce Fowler, said Williams makes things happen.

"I think the biggest thing is he's a very determined runner," he said. "If he's got some space and some room there, if he gets in a one-on-one situation, he's got a chance to make some good yards."

Williams finished last season second in the SoCon in rushing, behind Wofford's Eric Breitenstein (1,474 yards). Williams is behind Breitenstein again this season — the Wofford senior is second in the Football Championship Subdivision with 178.6 yards a game.

A year ago, in Furman's 14-7 win at Finley Stadium, the Mocs held the Paladins to 84 yards rushing on 39 carries. A repeat of that might be tough.

"The backs don't put the ball on the ground," UTC defensive coordinator Adam Fuller said. "They get what they're supposed to get and then get more."

Extra points

The Mocs rallied to beat Furman 28-10 at Paladin Stadium in 2010 and lost in Chattanooga last season. The last time UTC took two of three in the series came in the early 1990s, when the Mocs won in 1993-94. ... Furman's defensive line coach is Jimmy Lindsey, a UTC graduate who spend two years on coach Russ Huemsan's staff before leaving after the 2011 season.

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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