Looking back at Mocs' last five wins over top-10 foes

Looking back at Mocs' last five wins over top-10 foes

August 30th, 2015 by Gene Henley in Sports - College

Coach Russ Huesman watches his team during the first day of football practice for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in this Aug. 3, 2015, file photo.

Photo by John Rawlston /Times Free Press.

A week from today, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football team could be waking up to one of the biggest wins in the history of the program, as the eighth-ranked Mocs host No. 7 Jacksonville State at 6 p.m. Saturday at Finley Stadium.

Top-10 wins have not been common in the Mocs' past. Today, the Times Free Press looks back at the five most recent and how they happened.

(Ranked from oldest to most recent)

* Sept. 12, 1987

UTC 10, No. 3 Eastern Kentucky 0: Points were hard to come by in this game, but a tough Mocs defense limited the Colonels to 53 yards rushing and 76 yards of total offense. The UTC offense wasn't much better, but it did manage 218 yards rushing and capitalized on a fumble recovery by Terry Bess to score the game's only touchdown, a 2-yard run by Steve Colwell with 7:45 to go in the third quarter.

Colwell totaled 83 yards rushing in the win. Junior Jackson had 10 tackles for UTC.

* Oct. 23, 1989

UTC 14, No. 5 Marshall 0: The defense again was the story in the win, limiting the Thundering Herd to 171 yards of total offense and forcing three turnovers. The Mocs did all of the scoring in the second quarter. Running back James Roberts scored on a 5-yard run with 6:29 to go in the first half. UTC quarterback Vince Carelli hooked up with Shoun Habersham for an 18-yard completion for a touchdown with 35 seconds to go in the half.

Carelli finished 9-for-17 for 83 yards for the game, but the Mocs had 233 yards rushing, led by Roberts' 149 on 30 carries.

* Oct. 2, 1993

UTC 33, No. 1 Marshall 31: Terrell Owens had five catches for 145 yards and four touchdowns — including the game-winner from Kenyon Earl with 3:46 to play — and Jermaine Barnette had a late interception to seal the win over the top-ranked Thundering Herd.

It was the coming-out party for Owens, who went on to be one of the NFL's all-time leading receivers.

"You guys have your memories of that game. Of course it was a great game. We beat the defending national champions 33-31 right here at Chamberlain Field," Owens said during a visit to Chattanooga in 2011. "The next week we got out to practice, and we are walking down to Scrappy Moore Field and (then-head coach) Tommy West looks at me and said, 'You think you did something because you scored four touchdowns. You ain't done nothing yet.'

"He just brought me right back down to earth. So I just kept plugging away."

Owens scored on passes of 8, 69, 53 and 18 yards as Earl went 21-for-29 for 332 yards in leading the Mocs' rally from a 14-0 deficit. Marshall running back Chris Parker had 24 carries for 209 yards and three touchdowns, including a run from a yard out with 5:11 to play that gave the Herd a 31-27 lead.

* Oct. 28, 2000

UTC 30, No. 6 Appalachian State 27: Matt Vick kicked a 40-yard field goal as time expired to give first-year head coach Donnie Kirkpatrick the biggest win of his tenure. The Mocs had scored on their previous possession on an 8-yard run by Charles McNeill with 8:28 to play; then the defense forced a punt with 3:57 remaining. Quarterback Chris Sanders, who threw for 371 yards while running for 63, engineered an eight-play, 57-yard drive that Vick capped with the game-winner.

Richmond Flowers, Cos DeMatteo, Cortez Rankin and Ronnie Strickland combined for 22 catches for 314 yards, with Strickland scoring twice.

* Sept. 10, 2011

UTC 38, No. 10 Jacksonville State 17: It was a total team effort for the Mocs' first big win of the Russ Huesman era. UTC had 508 yards of total offense, including 212 rushing, while the defense limited the Gamecocks to 224 yards — only 17 of which came in the second half. After a first quarter in which JSU had 131 yards, the Gamecocks managed only 93 in the final three periods of play.

UTC quarterback B.J. Coleman was 23-for-33 for 296 yards and a pair of touchdowns, while receiver Joel Bradford — who prepped at McCallie with Coleman — had 15 catches for 162 yards and a touchdown.

Contact Gene Henley at ghenley@timesfreepress.com. Follow him at twitter.com/genehenleytfp.