Perhaps Darrell Bridges is a rhythm runner.
The 6-foot-1, 200-pound University of Tennessee at Chattanooga transfer running back has had his best three games of the season when he hasn't split carries with fellow senior Richardre Bagley. Saturday's game against The Citadel was one of those contests, and Bridges had by far his best game as a Moc, gaining 149 yards on 18 carries in the 20-14 loss.
Bridges ran for 88 yards at LSU and 58 yards last week against Mercer in his other games as the Mocs' primary back.
"I thought Darrell played well," UTC coach Tom Arth said. "I thought he made some plays and had some great runs in the first half especially. He ran hard."
Bridges had a season-long 61-yard touchdown run, taking a counter handoff, breaking a couple of tackles around the line and streaking free with the help of a late Bingo Morton block for the score. He had an 81-yard run during his Presbyterian career, which broke the Blue Hose record.
According to quarterback Cole Copeland, the Mocs expected the Bulldogs to bring pressure that would have given UTC some opportunities in the passing game. When they didn't, the offense turned to Bridges, who had four double-digit carries and no negative runs, largely behind senior center Josh Cardiello, left guard Cole Strange and left tackle Malcolm White.
The Mocs started to show little glimpses of being a successful rushing attack a week earlier at Mercer but fell behind and had to abandon the running game. They were able to have success Saturday against the Southern Conference's top rushing defense (106.7 yards per game) with the second-best total the Bulldogs have allowed.
Bridges' 149 yards were the most the Citadel defense had allowed to a single runner all season.
"The coaches came in early and put it on us to be physical," Bridges said. "We had to match their physical style of play, and I think we won that battle. We may not have won the game, but the offensive line, Cole, the receivers, they bought in and made things happen.
"Unfortunately we may not have got the win, but we got things going early."
UTC freshman Brandon Dowdell had 167 yards on four returns. Two of his kickoff returns went for at least 40 yards, and he added a 37-yard punt return that led to the Mocs' second score.
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