TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Making his first real start at quarterback since the 2012 season opener at South Florida, Terrell Robinson had to kick off any rust he had against the best college football team in America.
With University of Tennessee at Chattanooga starting quarterback Jacob Huesman out with a knee injury, Robinson, a starting wide receiver, took over and put in a solid performance -- solid being relative against a very stingy defense -- in the Mocs' 49-0 loss to Alabama at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
"I did all right," said Robinson, who finished 10-of-15 passing for 82 yards and ran 13 times for 37 yards. "I left some plays out there that I wish I could take back."
Robinson was the quarterback on the first play of the Mocs' win at Furman last season, but Huesman has been the starter since the second game last season. In the past two seasons, Robinson has totaled 67 receptions, along with some runs and throws.
The former South Pittsburg High School standout and 2011 Southern Conference freshman of the year said it felt good to be back at quarterback again.
"The result was definitely not what we wanted, but it felt good to be out there and be the man again," said Robinson, who was involved in 119 of UTC's 175 yards of offense. "I was just out there trying to have fun. ... We just wanted to go out there and compete, and me being the quarterback, I just wanted to have fun and lead my team."
Huesman dressed in uniform and actually ran on the field for one play, when Robinson's helmet came off in the first quarter. Mocs coach Russ Huesman said his son could be at 80 percent by Saturday if UTC makes the 24-team Football Championship Subdivision playoff field.
Almost a good start
The Mocs came close to a good start against the two-time defending BCS national champions. After UTC went three-and-out on the game's opening possession, Alabama's Christion Jones fumbled Nick Pollard's bouncing punt and Sema'je Kendall, a Huntsville, Ala., native, recovered at the Crimson Tide 34.
UTC faced a third-and-2 at the 26 but gave up 3 yards on an Xavier Borishade reverse. On fourth down, Robinson's pass was intercepted by Trey DePriest at the 17. UTC was flagged for a chop block on the play, so the drive was dead either way.
"The disappointing thing was we had a third-and- and we run a reverse, instead of just pounding it in there and getting a first down," Coach Huesman said. "We take a loss and now you're out of field-goal range at that point in time. I was pretty disappointed in that play call."
On the ensuing possession, UTC held Kenyan Drake to a yard on first down and AJ McCarron's pass to Kevin Norwood was incomplete, setting up a third-and-9 and a chance for an early stop. But on third down McCarron hit Norwood across the middle for a 50-yard gain, with an extra 15 yards added because of a face-mask penalty.
Drake scored two plays later and it was all Tide the rest of the way, though it was a 7-0 game after the opening quarter.
UTC senior cornerback Chaz Moore had perhaps the series of his life late in the first quarter. On second down he hit Alabama wideout Amari Cooper on a screen for a 1-yard loss. Two plays later he broke up a post pass intended for Kenny Bell at the goal line.
On fourth-and-4 at the UTC 38, Moore tackled Jalston Fowler for a 1-yard loss. In the seven-play possession, Moore had two solo stops, two shared tackles and the breakup. He and safety D.J. Key led UTC with 10 tackles each.
"I came out here to compete today," Moore said. "I just wanted to show that I could play out there, no matter what sideline I'm on. I'm a ballplayer, point black. Me and me teammates, we're ballplayers."
McCarron sets record
McCarron had a comfortable day, completing 13 of 16 passes for 171 yards and two touchdowns. Out of the game early in the third quarter, he left with numbers that might not help his Heisman Trophy chances, but it was an efficient showing in a tune-up for this week's Iron Bowl.
It was also a record-setting day as McCarron won his 36th game as a starter at Alabama, the most ever by a Tide quarterback.
Mocs more banged up
UTC was without several key players due to injury, and others left Saturday's game and didn't return.
Coach Huesman said linebacker Wes Dothard went out with a possible shoulder stinger, as did defensive tackle Josh Freeman. Linebacker Muhasibi Wakeel re-rolled his bad ankle, and fullback Taharin Tyson suffered a leg injury.
Contact John Frierson at email@example.com or 423-757-6268. Follow him at twitter.com/MocsBeat.