The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football team outplayed Western Carolina in every phase of the game Saturday. The Mocs' freshmen didn't carry the team to a 51-7 thumping, but they did a lot of the work.
"The young pups are doing a nice job," Mocs coach Russ Huesman said Sunday.
A total of seven true and redshirt freshmen started the game, and it was primarily on offense that they made their mark. Of UTC's 388 yards of offense, freshmen accounted for 233 -- that number goes up to 299 if you factor in redshirt freshman quarterback Terrell Robinson's 59 passing yards to senior wideout Joel Bradford.
Robinson, making his first career start because of B.J. Coleman's shoulder injury, ran 14 times for 72 yards and was 7-for-11 passing for 123 yards and three touchdowns.
"Coaches told me all week to trust my arm, and I put the ball on the money during practice this week," Robinson said after the game, "so it gave me good confidence [going into the game]."
Robinson was the Southern Conference Freshman of the Week last week for his play against Georgia Southern and he could get the award again today.
True freshman running back Marquis Green may be another candidate. He led UTC (3-4, 1-3 SoCon) on the ground with 93 yards on 16 carries. He scored the Mocs' final touchdown on a 7-yard run and his 34-yard run in the first quarter was UTC's longest of the season, topping Robinson's 32-yarder on the first play from scrimmage.
Green leads the Mocs in rushing with 363 yards on 85 carries.
"I've kind of gotten the hang of things and the game has slowed down for me," Green said. "At first everything was fast, fast, fast, but it's slowing down ... and I'm starting to see more things."
Redshirt freshman tight end Faysal Shafaat had two catches for 29 yards, including an 18-yard touchdown, the first of his career.
Meanwhile, true freshman wide receiver Ron Moore caught a 35-yard touchdown pass that made it 17-0 late in the first quarter. Moore now has three career catches for 147 yards and two touchdowns.
On defense, freshmen made a big impact up front. Defensive tackle Keyon Reed had four tackles, including two for loss, and he stripped the ball on a sack in the second quarter that senior linebacker Ryan Consiglio's 45-yard return for a touchdown.
"I saw the quarterback running, and I knew I had to go get my sack," Reed said, "and then as I was tackling him I reached out and swatted it out."
In addition, redshirt freshman defensive end Davis Tull got the first sack of his career. In the kicking game, redshirt freshman Nick Pollard made a career-long 38-yard field goal.