University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football coach Russ Huesman said Monday that the Mocs should have one or both of their injured running backs, Chris Awuah and J.J. Jackson, available Saturday in their Southern Conference opener at No. 3 Appalachian State.
Awuah suffered an ankle injury last Saturday in UTC's 23-14 win at Eastern Kentucky. He had 37 yards on seven carries before leaving the game for good early in the third quarter.
"We're going to put him in a boot for a couple of days and have not ruled him out," Huesman said. "He wants to play, feels like he can play and we'll be cautious. We'll have either him or J.J., and maybe both."
Jackson went out with a knee injury in the Mocs' opener at Nebraska and has sat out the past two games.
With Awuah out for much of last Saturday's game, true freshman Marquis Green got most of the carries against the Colonels. Green was named the SoCon freshman of the week Monday after rushing 21 times for 68 yards. His first career touchdown was the game-winner, a 17-yard run in the third quarter.
Green is UTC's leading rusher with 164 yards on 39 carries. Awuah has 127 yards in 34 attempts, as well as eight receptions for 107 yards.
Huesman said the attrition at running back, including the seasonlong suspension of Keon Williams, shows why UTC tries to sign one or two every year. UTC has two true freshmen this season in Green and Kenny Huitt, whom the Mocs are trying to redshirt.
"You need multiple running backs, multiple running backs," the coach said, "and if you've got five that's good. You see it happen all the time."
UTC continued its ascent in the Football Championship Subdivision polls Monday. Following its win at EKU, the Mocs moved up a spot to No. 13 in the Sports Network poll and went from No. 17 to 14 in the FCS coaches' poll.
This is the longest UTC has ever been ranked to start a season, and the Mocs likely would vault into the top 10 with a win Saturday.
Mocs linebacker Wes Dothard was named the SoCon defensive player of the week for the second straight time. The redshirt sophomore had 10 tackles, a sack and three tackles for loss in UTC's 23-14 win at EKU.
Dothard shares the team lead with 4 1/2 tackles for loss and is third on the team with 22 tackles.
Contact John Frierson at email@example.com or 423-757-6268. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/mocsbeatCTFP.