published Sunday, September 8th, 2013

Suspended Chattanooga Mocs returned against GSU

Faysal Shafaat of UTC (left) celebrates a touchdown against Georgia State Saturday at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.
Photo: Phil Skinner-Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Faysal Shafaat of UTC (left) celebrates a touchdown against Georgia State Saturday at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. Photo: Phil Skinner-Atlanta Journal-Constitution
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    UTC quarterback Jacob Huesman runs a keeper play against Georgia State for a second half touchdown Saturday at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. Photo: Phil Skinner-Atlanta Journal-Constitution

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga dual threat Terrell Robinson didn't take the field until the third quarter of Saturday's 42-14 win against Georgia State. Defensive end Toyvian Brand, who like Robinson is a starter who didn't play in the opener, also saw his first action after halftime.

Mocs coach Russ Huesman said after the game that they were two of five players who had been suspended for the start of the season for violating team rules. Also suspended for the first six quarters were running back Kenny Huitt, long-snapper Will Sharpton and injured safety Dean Haynes. None of those three played in the Mocs' easy win.

"We're moving forward," Huesman said.

Robinson's first play of the season was supposed to be a handoff from Jacob Huesman followed by a throw back to the Mocs' quarterback. When things broke down Robinson ran for 6 yards. He finished with 47 yards rushing on four carries, with a long of 25, and was 2-for-2 passing for 24 yards. He also dropped what would have been a long completion.

"It was definitely great to be back out there with the team," said Robinson, who led UTC with 40 receptions last season. "With me coming in I feel like I can spark us up. Actually I didn't spark us up because of that ball I dropped. ... But it was fun."

The key player who returned was senior All-Southern Conference safety D.J. Key, who missed nearly all of the preseason with a bone bruise in his left foot. Key was credited only with a tackle and a pass breakup, but his impact was greater than the stats.

"Obviously when you've got D.J. Key, it makes a big difference defensively," Coach Huesman said. "Not only how he plays, but his leadership. He knows where to go, he's got unbelievable instincts. ... He's just a great football player, and to have him back was huge."

The Mocs also got back Will Johnson (shoulder), a redshirt freshman who appeared in his first game. Johnson and fellow cornerback Kadeem Wise led UTC with five tackles each. Wise also had two pass breakups.

UTC used just 38 players in the opening loss to UT-Martin. Against the Panthers, with numerous players back in action, plus a determination by the coaches to get more Mocs involved, 47 players took the field.

Shafaat scoring

By halftime Saturday, UTC had a 21-0 lead and tight end Faysal Shafaat had two more touchdowns. Through the first six quarters of the season, the preseason All-SoCon first-team pick had four touchdown catches. His total for the 2012 season was five.

"With the way all the running backs and [Jacob Huesman] were running the ball, the pass was going to open up," Shafaat said.

His first touchdown Saturday was a 27-yard catch on a fake field goal. The second was a 9-yarder on which the 6-foot-5 Shafaat went up and got the ball over a crowd in the end zone.

Run stoppers

Georgia State got behind the Mocs early and never got its offense going until it was way too late. The Panthers were held to 92 yards in the first three quarters before finishing with 303.

GSU rushed for just 30 yards on 17 carries. It was the fewest rushing yards allowed by a UTC team since holding East Tennessee State to minus-7 in 1988.

Who's Crane?

Despite his last name being spelled "Crane" on the back of his jersey, Saturday was a special day for true freshman running back Derrick Craine. The McDonough, Ga., resident said he had a crowd of about 20 friends and family cheering him on, and he gave them reason to jump to their feet. Craine scored his first touchdown and ran for 53 yards on six carries -- a hefty 8.8-yard average.

Contact John Frierson at jfrierson@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6268. Follow him at twitter.com/MocsBeat.

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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