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We're not going to begin with Saturday night's ending - which just might be the cementing of the first truly happy period in University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football over the past 26 years - but rather with the first drive of the second half against No. 18 Georgia Southern.

Like so many previous UTC opportunities to change the course of its moribund program since the early 1980s, the Mocs looked as if they had just completed a drive of sound and fury signifying nothing, as Coach Shakespeare once said.

Trailing 20-14 at intermission, they had manfully driven the ball to the GSU 12, only to suffer a holding penalty, then a missed 40-yard field-goal try.

At that precise moment, the kick falling short, you could almost feel Finley Stadium shrink from the air exiting the lungs of 17,414 Moc Maniacs, which just also happened to be the largest crowd to witness a UTC game in the place except for the day it opened in 1997.

But then a remarkable thing happened, a thing usually reserved for teams coached by LSU's Lucky Les Miles.

Just when Mocs boss Russ Huesman was about to throw his cap in frustration over a breakdown in protection, a penalty flag hit the Davenport Field turf. The Eagles were about to be cited for "roughing the holder."

If you aren't familiar with this call, you aren't alone. Even Huesman, nearly 30 years a coach, had never before seen it.

But it's right there under NCAA Rules and Interpretations, 9-1-4: "Roughing is a personal-foul penalty that endangers the kicker or holder."

And so it was that Sloan Allison, son of former coach Rodney Allison, took a big one for the team, maybe the most important personal foul received in Mocs history.

And given a reprieve, UTC quarterback B.J. Coleman rushed in from 11 yards away the very next play to give the Mocs a 21-20 lead they would never relinquish on their way to a 35-27 win.

Naturally, this caused a few cynical media types to wonder if Allison hadn't flopped a bit on the play, a la certain Duke basketball players over the years.

"I'm a huge Duke basketball fan," he said. "But no way I flopped. No way. He roughed me."

But it was what Allison did next that may have been equally thrilling to Huesman, who just swept Western Carolina, The Citadel and Georgia Southern for the first time in school history.

On the ensuing kickoff, the former quarterback and current tight end teamed with Jarrett Burns to tackle the Eagles' Laron Scott at the GSU 13.

"Anything we ask Sloan to do, he does," Huesman said. "Anything. He's one hard-nosed player."

A little homecoming good fortune aside, this was a hard-nosed win against what is traditionally one of the two hardest-nosed teams in the Southern Conference. The Eagles might not yet be back to their 1990s glory days, when they were in the middle of winning six national titles in 16 seasons, but they're very good.

"Biggest win," Huesman said. "If we don't win this one, it's kind of like last year [when the Mocs finished 6-5]."

But now UTC is on a four-game winning streak, standing 4-2 overall heading into a road trip to No. 24 Furman on Saturday. Win that one and all the rest save a road trip to Auburn, and the Mocs just might make the playoffs for the first time since 1984.

Clearly, the biggest reasons for all of this are quarterback B.J. Coleman and Huesman. In fact, if you can tweet a video, someone - or lots of someones - should tweet Southern Cal coach Lane Kiffin the clip of Coleman hitting wideout Brian Sutherland on a 43-yard TD pass in the final period. Tennessee hasn't had a quarterback who could make that throw since Coleman transferred home to the Mocs.

Funny thing is, in practice each week, Coleman is continually asking his teammates to "be a magician," meaning to sell a fake in the middle of a play to make it work.

Fake or not, Allison's roughing call was pure magic for the Mocs.

Or as Huesman said, "It was the biggest play of the game."

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