Keionta Davis had seven tackles all season heading into Saturday's game. Playing behind University of Tennessee at Chattanooga defensive ends Davis Tull and Toyvian Brand, he hadn't been on the field a whole lot.
But with Brand on the sideline with an injury, Davis was out there at the end -- with the Mocs leading The Citadel 28-24 and needing one more stop in the final two minutes.
"Right before they got the ball, [defensive line coach Marcus West] was like, 'Keionta, go in there and make a play,'"said Davis, a redshirt freshman and former Red Bank High School standout. "I just went in there and tried my best."
Indeed, he did. On first down at the Bulldogs' 18-yard line, Davis and linebacker Wes Dothard combined to sack quarterback Aaron Miller for a 10-yard loss. It was Davis' first career sack.
He got his second two plays later, for a 1-yard loss that made it fourth-and-16 at the 13.
"It does feel good," he said. "It felt fake, like this was on TV or something. I'm loving it, though."
Davis now has 1.5 sacks. With 22.5 more he'll tie Tull, UTC's all-time sack leader.
"I told Davis, I'm coming for him," he joked. "I've got a long way to go, but I'm coming for him."
The Citadel had allowed just three sacks all season before Saturday.
Strong second half
The first half of Saturday's game was mostly forgettable for the Mocs, which may explain why a good chunk of the announced crowd of 8,106 departed at the break.
UTC's defense allowed 17 points and 267 yards of offense in the first two periods, while the offense had seven points and 83 yards of offense. It was a much different story in the second half.
The Mocs held The Citadel to 180 yards and a touchdown in the final two periods, including just 27 yards on 18 plays in the fourth quarter.
"We game-planned at halftime, made some corrections and came back out there and put it to work," safety D.J. Key said.
Offensively, UTC rushed for 106 yards in the second half and Jacob Huesman was 9-for-12 for 116 and two touchdowns passing.
The Mocs' rushing attack took a big hit early when Keon Williams left the game with an apparent ankle injury. Williams came in with 687 yards, nine rushing touchdowns and a hefty 5.9 yards-per-carry average.
With Jacob Huesman, Marquis Green and Kenny Huitt, the Mocs still were able to run the ball effectively, finishing with 189 yards and two rushing touchdowns.
Jacob led UTC with 95 yards on 13 carries, including the winning 13-yard touchdown with 2:02 remaining. Green had 85 yards on 16 carries and Huitt scored on a 7-yard run in the second quarter.
"We had to calm down [after Williams' injury] and someone had to step up -- step up and play, no matter what," Green said.
The Citadel came in as the least penalized team in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision, with just 19 in seven games. The Bulldogs had just three for 24 yards against the Mocs, but one was critical.
Midway through the fourth quarter, while nursing a 24-21 lead, The Citadel had converted a pair of fourth-and-1 plays on its end of the field. A few plays later, facing a third-and-3 at their 46, the Bulldogs got hit with a false start.
Now on third-and-8, the Bulldogs tried a pass that fell incomplete, stopping the clock with less than four minutes remaining. They had to punt on fourth-and-8, and UTC was able to drive for the winning score.
UTC was held under 200 yards rushing for the first time since the season-opening loss to UT-Martin. ... Wideout C.J. Board had career highs in catches (five) and receiving yards (59). ... Linebacker Muhasibi Wakeel had 17 tackles, more than double his previous high of seven.
Contact John Frierson at email@example.com or 423-757-6268. Follow him at twitter.com/MocsBeat
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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