UTC Mocs wary of Citadel, especially its run game

photo UT quarterback Justin Worley carries as UTC's Josh Freeman approaches Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014, at Neyland Stadium.

MOCS GLANCE• UTC (3-3, 2-0) at THE CITADEL (2-4, 0-1)• Saturday, noon• Johnson Hagood Stadium• Charleston, S.C.• 96.1 FM

Sometimes numbers really do lie. That's certainly the case if you just glance at The Citadel's football won-lost record.

The Bulldogs go into Saturday's Southern Conference home game against the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga 2-4 overall and 0-1 in league play. But closer inspection reveals that the Bulldogs are worthy of respect.

Three of their losses came against defending FBS national champion and second-ranked Florida State and two FCS nationally ranked foes -- No. 3 Coastal Carolina (by two touchdowns) and No. 22 Charleston Southern (by just two points). The Citadel's SoCon loss was by four to Wofford.

"They're a real dangerous team, we all know that," said UTC senior defensive lineman Josh Freeman. "We always have wars when we play them. They're very physical, and we know how tough of a team they are.

"They keep fighting. My freshman year we were up 27-0 but they kept fighting and got us. We were down last year and played the second half with the same mentality and got them. The Citadel's intensity level is always high."

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Besides having been tested by quality opponents, The Citadel will challenge the Mocs with one of the top rushing offenses in the FCS. The Bulldogs, who run the triple option, rushed for 553 yards in last week's double-overtime win over Charlotte, the most in a single game by an FCS team this season, and they rank second in the nation with 325.3 rushing yards per game.

They have three backs who rank in the SoCon's top 10 in rushing yards, led by senior quarterback Aaron Miller, who was named the league's offensive player of the week after last week's 197-yard performance.

UTC counters with the conference's top rushing defense, which allows just 131.7 yards on the ground per game. Last week Tennessee had just 52 rushing yards through three quarters against the Mocs and finished with 105.

The Mocs also lead the SoCon and rank No. 13 nationally in total defense, while The Citadel is second in the league in total offense, setting up a classic battle of wills.

"They're 2-4, but their team is not indicative of the record -- not by any stretch of the imagination," Mocs coach Russ Huesman said. "It's a big game for them and for us.

"We signed up for this. When we first got here we wanted to be playing in big games. We wanted people to look at us and say that's the team we've got to beat. Right now we're in the driver's seat, so we're going to get everybody's best shot."

Contact Stephen Hargis at shargis@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6293.