The running game has been hit or miss for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football team this season. In Saturday's 20-13 win over Samford, it was definitely a miss.
In the Mocs' third straight win, UTC finished with 71 rushing yards on 31 carries. Quarterback Jacob Huesman had 23 of those attempts, for 64 yards and a touchdown. His total was hurt by a 19-yard sack.
The Mocs, who have rushed for 230 yards or more three times this season, were held to 102 yards on the ground in their Oct. 13 win at Furman. The week before that, UTC had 254 yards at The Citadel.
"We can win games playing like we're playing, there's no question," Mocs coach Russ Huesman said Sunday of the low rushing totals, as long as the Mocs (4-3, 3-1 Southern Conference) continue to "play good defense and hang onto the ball."
UTC did that against Samford (5-3, 3-3), which was held to 259 yards, well below its average of 401.9 yards per game. Despite the good defense for most of the game, Samford scored with 3:35 left to cut the lead to 20-13.
When UTC's offense ran onto the field for the ensuing series, the Mocs needed a couple of first downs to run out the clock. In a series similar to some of UTC's 28-27 losses last season, the Mocs went three-and-out and Samford had one last chance.
"You'd hope you'd be able to run the ball in that scenario," Huesman said. "We have to have the ability to run it better."
Mocs offensive coordinator Marcus Satterfield said Samford did an excellent job of taking away UTC's perimeter runs and the Bulldogs' big guys up front limited UTC's production up the middle.
"We knew it would be a struggle," he said. "We just tried to put our kids in a position to take care of the ball and make plays."
UTC did go a third straight game without a turnover. The Mocs were off Sunday and will practice tonight at Finley Stadium.
UTC wide receiver Ron Moore was on the sideline Saturday, but did not dress out for the game. Huesman said Sunday that the sophomore has been suspended for a violation of team policy.
Moore will be in uniform against Georgia Southern, Huesman said, but he could face additional discipline. Moore has 10 receptions for 163 yards and two touchdowns this season.
Contact John Frierson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6268. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/mocsbeatCTFP.