Mocs defense dominant in big victory over JSU

Mocs defense dominant in big victory over JSU

September 12th, 2011 by John Frierson in Sports - College

Jacksonville State fumbles on a crucial 4th down play in the 3rd quarter. The Gamecocks recovered the ball but the Mocs took over on downs.

Photo by Robin Rudd /Times Free Press.

Seven possessions, one first down and 17 total yards. Five punts and two turnovers.

Those are the eye-popping numbers that demonstrate the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga defense's dominance in the second half of the No. 25 Mocs' 38-17 win over No. 10 Jacksonville State on Saturday.

"It definitely was a second half to remember, for sure," linebacker Ryan Consiglio said after the game.

Sitting in his office Sunday while taking a break from studying the game film, Mocs coach Russ Huesman said those final two quarters were about as good as good defense gets.

"Our guys did a good job, a great job," Huesman said.

The one standout statistic that covered the whole game: JSU was 1-for-13 on third down.

"That was a good stat right there," Huesman said.

The Mocs (1-1) held JSU (1-1) to 224 yards of offense for the game, while UTC's offense generated 508. UTC's defense did get off to a shaky start in the first half and gave up some big plays. Of JSU's 224 total yards, 124 came on four plays in the first half.

At halftime, with UTC in front 23-17, defensive coordinator Adam Fuller and Huesman decided it was time to increase the pressure on JSU quarterback Coty Blanchard. The Mocs began blitzing more and generally made life miserable for the Gamecocks.

The pressure not only stymied JSU's attack, but it also generated some energy for the defense -- energy that Huesman said was lacking in the first half.

Here's another stunning stat: Jacksonville State's offense ran 23 plays in the second half and 14 either went for no gain or lost yardage.

"We got after them," safety Jordan Tippit said. "All we did was run to the ball. Like I told you at the beginning of the year, our number one thing is run and we did that. We had hats around the ball for the whole half."

The UTC defense did take a hit early in the fourth quarter when defensive tackle Nick Davison suffered a knee injury while joining in with end Josh Williams on a sack. His status for this week's game at Eastern Kentucky wasn't known Sunday.