Backup Richardre Bagley fills in splendidly for Mocs

Backup Richardre Bagley fills in splendidly for Mocs

October 23rd, 2016 by Gene Henley in Sports - College

UTC running back Richardre Bagley stiff-arms VMI defensive back Greg Sanders on a touchdown run during the Mocs' home football game against the VMI Keydets at Finely Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016, in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Photo by Doug Strickland /Times Free Press.

Richardre Bagley waited his turn patiently.

When it came Saturday against Virginia Military Institute, the 5-foot-9, 180-pound junior was ready.

Bagley finished with a career high of 189 yards on 23 carries with a pair of touchdowns in the Mocs' 30-13 win over the Keydets in place of starter Derrick Craine, who missed the game with an ankle injury.

"He can run it, too," defensive end Keionta Davis said. "Everybody is used to Craine running the ball, but you see him (Bagley), changeup of speed, dancing around and stuff like that. He can get in there and run the ball in between the tackles, and it was good to see him go out there and have a big game when Craine is down to know we have that depth in the backfield."

Coach Russ Huesman was pleased with Bagley's big day on the ground, while also crediting the receivers and offensive line for their ability to create holes and rush lanes downfield. Bagley said he was a "little fatigued" at the end after setting career highs in carries, yards and touchdowns.

"Every day I come out, I want to show what I can do," Bagley said. "Being behind Craine, he's a great running back and probably one of the best I've seen, and I just want to do what I can and have my name out there.

"I want people to know Richardre Bagley."

Fans got a great look, especially in the second half when he had 122 yards on 11 carries with both of his scores, including a 45-yarder down the right sideline in which he broke a number of tackles and fought his way to the goal line.

"I saw the end zone and told myself I've got to get there," Bagley said. "That's what we preach: Don't let one man bring you down, and get in the zone."

Roberson steps in

Bagley wasn't the only backup in the backfield to step up for the Mocs on Saturday. Running back Alex Trotter, getting his most extensive action of the season, had 31 yards rushing and 11 receiving, gaining a pair of first downs, and No. 2 quarterback Tyler Roberson was pressed into duty after starter Alejandro Bennifield suffered a knee injury early in the fourth quarter.

The 6-foot-4, 215-pounder came in and rushed for 43 yards and engineered the Mocs' final touchdown drive, executing a play fake perfectly that led to Bagley's run.

"I missed a few reads and wish I could get a few back, but overall I did all right," Roberson said. "It helps when you have a good coaching staff that prepares you throughout the week in the film room and on the practice field to when you step in, you're confident and know they've got you ready when you're going out and facing a different kind of defense."

Bennifield is expected to be OK after his injury, but Roberson said he remains ready because "you're just one play away."

"You don't necessarily get a lot of reps in practice, but you have to stay mentally prepared by watching film, watching Alejandro from the sideline or from behind in practice — stay engaged mentally and stay confident," Roberson said. "You have to know that if you have to go in, the Lord has blessed you with the ability to go do it if they call on you, so that helps, too."


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