TAMPA, Fla. --- The Chattanooga Mocs (0-1) football team kicked off the 2012 season losing 34-13 at BIG EAST foe USF (1-0) today. The Mocs battled hard in the loss to the Bulls at Raymond James Stadium, home of the NFL's Tampa Bay Bucs.
UTC struggled offensively against the fast and physical USF defense. But defensively, aside from breakdowns on deep passes, the Mocs more than held their own. The defense forced two turnovers while the offense did not have a single giveaway.
Davis Tull (Knoxville, Tenn.) forced a fumble in the first half that Derrick Lott (Kennesaw, Ga.) scooped up leading to the Mocs first points, a 39-yard field goal by Nick Pollard (Smyrna, Tenn.). That came with 3:39 left in the first quarter making it a 7-3 deficit.
After a missed UTC field goal late in the second quarter, D.J. Key (Centerville, Tenn.) made a huge play with his team trailing 21-3. Key intercepted a B.J. Daniels pass at the USF 47. He returned it 43 yards inside the five setting up his offense in prime position.
They did not disappoint. Keon Williams (Chattanooga, Tenn.) ran twice gaining two yards each time to make it 21-10 at the break.
Daniels had scoring tosses of 19 and 38 yards in the first half. He got his third of three touchdown passes hitting Sterling Griffin from 39 yards to make it 27-10 with 10:35 left in the third quarter. Just over 10 minutes later, Chattanooga made it interesting.
Starting on its own 30, UTC marched down the field. After a personal foul penalty on USF, Jacob Huesman (Chattanooga, Tenn.) threw 11 yards to Faysal Shafaat (Orlando, Fla.). Marquis Green (Palmetto, Fla.) swept outside for eight yards followed by 13 more by Huesman up the middle to the Bulls' 19. The drive stalled and after a holding penalty, freshman kicker Henrique Ribeiro (Chattanooga, Tenn.) nailed a 46-yarder to cut the lead to 27-13.
Daniels had the final tally of the game early in the fourth quarter. On third-and-seven from the Mocs' 20, he made it happen with his feet. Scrambling and avoiding the UTC pass rush, he wove his way fighting into the end zone for the 20-yard score and the 34-13 final.
Chattanooga managed just 151 yards total offense compared to 369 for the Bulls. Ninety-six of the 284 passing yards came on the three touchdown passes for Daniels who ended up 17 of 26 for 265 yards.
Green led the Mocs rushing attack with 25 yards on four carries. Huesman was nine for 13 for 82 yards, while Terrell Robinson (South Pittsburg, Tenn.) added 20 yards completing four of five attempts. Shafaat had six catches for 45 yards.
Wes Dothard (Carrollton, Ga.) led the defense with eight tackles, including one for a loss. Key added seven stops to go with his exciting interception.
The Mocs stay on the road next Saturday at Jacksonville State. Game time is scheduled for 6 p.m., central time. It is the 37th meeting between the two schools with UTC holding a 26-10 advantage.
Play - Quarter/Time/Score
USF - Demetris Murray 2 yard rush (Maikon Bonani Kick) - 1/7:41/0-7
Drive: 6 plays, 23 yards, 2:51
Key Play(s): Terrence Mitchell 22 yard punt return to UTC 23
USF - B.J. Daniels 19 yard pass to Derrick Hopkins (Bonani Kick) - 2/12:44/3-14
Drive: 5 plays, 44 yards, 2:09
Key Play(s): 1/10/V31 - Daniels to Mitchell for 14 yds
USF - Daniels 38 yard pass to Terrence Mitchell (Bonani Kick) - 2/7:27/3-21
Drive: 5 plays, 80 yards, 1:47
Key Play(s): 1/10/H31 - Daniels to Deonte Welch for 28 yds
USF - Daniels 39 yard pass to Sterling Griffin (Run Failed) - 3/10:35/10-27
Drive: 6 plays, 59 yards, 2:43
Key Play(s): 3/1/50 - Demetris Murray 2 yd run
UTC - Henrique Ribeiro 46 yard Field Goal - 3/0:28/13-27
Drive: 9 plays, 41 yards, 3:22
Key Play(s): 2/2/H32 - Huesman 13 yard run
USF - Daniels 20 yard rush (Bonani Kick) - 4/9:52/13-34
Drive: 7 plays, 34 yards, 2:32
Key Play(s): Mitchell 39 yard punt return to UTC 34
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