published Sunday, October 14th, 2012

Mocs paddle Paladins with pressure

UTC quarterback Jacob Huesman dodges a Furman defender.
Photo by Richard Shiro
UTC quarterback Jacob Huesman dodges a Furman defender. Photo by Richard Shiro

GREENVILLE, S.C. — Pressure was the story Saturday at Paladin Stadium. The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga delivered it throughout the Mocs' 31-10 win over Furman.

Before a fairly silent announced crowd of 8,351 — actual bodies in seats appeared to be closer to half that — the Mocs won their second straight Southern Conference road game. UTC (3-3, 2-1) also played like a team that was able to carry a lot of confidence over, through the off week, from its Sept. 29 win at The Citadel.

"It definitely puts us in a groove, and we've got to try and ride this momentum and keep playing well," said defensive end Davis Tull, who had two sacks and forced a fumble.

The UTC offense had quarterbacks lined up all over the field — Jacob Huesman and Terrell Robinson were both lined up at wide receiver on one play — and Furman's defense could never get a handle on what the Mocs were doing.

"That's kind of fun to watch, isn't it?" UTC coach Russ Huesman said following a 369-yard performance by the offense, which highlighted the variety of plays and formations the Mocs can employ.

Jacob Huesman ran for 59 yards, completed 18 of 23 passes for 171 yards and two touchdowns and caught a 10-yard pass from running back Chris Awuah. Robinson ran for 29 and a touchdown, was 7-for-10 passing for 86 yards and had a career-high eight catches for 81 yards and two touchdowns.

And how's this for applying pressure: UTC kept the ball for 38 minutes, 54 seconds.

The defense got a sack for a 9-yard loss on the first play from scrimmage — Josh Williams' first of the season — and never let Paladins true freshman quarterback Reese Hannon get comfortable in the pocket. Furman (2-5, 1-3) finished with 223 yards of offense, 201 below its average coming into the game.

"We were going to put pressure on the quarterback, no question," Coach Huesman said. "He's played really well all year, and he stood back there and had the ability to throw the ball. We said let's see what happens when we make him move around a little bit."

Hannon was 19-of-33 passing for 184 yards, but most of those yards didn't lead to much. The Mocs sacked Hannon four times and held All-SoCon running back Jerodis Williams to 49 yards on eight carries. As for All-America tight end Colin Anderson, he had two catches for 35 yards.

"When the offense holds the ball for 38 minutes, that helps your defense," UTC defensive coordinator Fuller said. "The offense did an unbelievable job controlling the ball."

Fuller's only real complaint was the number of potential interceptions that his defense dropped, any of which might have helped blow the game open for good long before J.J. Jackson's 10-yard touchdown run with 2:27 remaining made it 31-10.

UTC led 10-7 after Jacob Huesman hit Robinson for a 38-yard touchdown with 51 seconds left in the first half. The duo connected again in the third quarter, this time for 14 yards and a 17-7 lead. Robinson ran the ball in from the 6 to put UTC up 24-10 less than a minute into the fourth quarter.

The Mocs and punter/kicker Nick Pollard even kept the pressure up on special teams, forcing Furman to start at its 25-yard line or worse on nine of the Paladins' 12 drives.

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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