B.J. Coleman is used to putting up big numbers. The good kind.
Even though the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga quarterback has thrown for more than 800 yards and seven touchdowns in his past two games, those aren't the numbers that stand out to him or anyone else.
Instead it's the nine interceptions: four at Furman and five last week against Elon.
"It's not acceptable by any means," he said. "I think last year I had nine total for the season. It's something that can't happen. ... We've got a three-game season and I don't want to throw another one."
Most of Coleman's interceptions the past two games have come off of tipped passes, either at the line of scrimmage or in the area of the receiver.
The big one in last Saturday's 49-35 loss to Elon came on a screen pass in which there were mistakes by several UTC players, including Coleman, that allowed linebacker Joshua Jones to intercept the pass and return it 25 yards for the game-winning touchdown.
"I don't think I've just made stupid throws. I don't think I've just forced something that wasn't there," Coleman said. "I think a lot of them have ricocheted off, and I put the blame on myself for that. A couple of them I think I was trying to press a little and make a couple of plays. Sometimes to the naked eye and to the normal viewer, sometimes it looks a little worse than it really was."
Coleman is second in the Southern Conference and fifth in the FCS in passing yardage at 282.1 per game, and his 21 touchdown passes are four more than he threw all of last season.
However, his 12 interceptions are five more than any other QB in the SoCon.
Coleman and the Mocs (5-3) will face their toughest offensive challenge of the season Saturday when they visit No. 2 Auburn (9-0). Mocs coach Russ Huesman said his quarterback will have to make quick decisions and step up in the pocket and throw before the Tigers have a chance to hit him.
"He has to know, there's got to be a clock, and he has to get a feel and step up," Huesman said. "The clock is a fast, fast clock. And we know that. You've got to game plan around that."
If the Mocs are going to move the ball it will likely be through the air. Auburn is last in the Southeastern Conference in first downs allowed, having given up 107 passing to just 69 rushing.
The Mocs are second in the SoCon with 191 first downs and 102 of those have come on pass plays.
"We're still going to have to drop back and protect and throw the ball down field," Huesman said, "but the number of times probably won't be near what it's been."
The Mocs practiced at Finley Stadium on Wednesday for the first time since Scrappy Moore Field was renovated this spring. ... Huesman pointed out Wednesday that Auburn quarterback Cam Newton (6-foot-6, 250 pounds) was bigger than two of UTC's starting offensive lineman.