JACKSONVILLE, Ala. --- The Chattanooga Mocs (0-2) dropped a 27-24 decision at the hands of No. 24 Jacksonville State (1-1) Saturday evening on Burgess-Snow Field. UTC tied the game at 24 with 39 seconds left, only to see the Gamecocks kick a 37-yard field goal to win as time expired.
The Mocs trailed 24-16 with 2:52 to go in the game. They got a big play on the second snap of the drive as Jacob Huesman (Chattanooga, Tenn.) found Faysal Shafaat (Orlando, Fla.) for a 28-yard catch-and-run across midfield to the JSU 49.
Seven plays later, UTC faced a do-or-die, fourth-and-five on the JSU 34, with 1:01 to play. Huesman found Ron Moore (Sanford, Fla.) streaking across the middle for 16 yards and a first down. On the very next snap, Huesman and Moore continued their fourth quarter symmetry with an 18-yard touchdown hookup.
That made it 24-22 Gamecocks. Despite a high snap, Huesman made a quick handoff to Keon Williams (Chattanooga, Tenn.) who bulled into the end zone for the two-point conversion.
Chattanooga squibbed the ensuing kickoff with Gabriel Chambers taking the ball at the JSU 11. He almost broke it going 34 yards before getting tackled by kicker Nick Pollard (Smyrna, Tenn.) at the JSU 45.
Four plays later, the Gamecocks faced second and 10 at the Mocs' 33 with six ticks left on the clock. They decided to run one more play, a run up the middle.
DaMarcus James broke loose for 13 yards, breaking tackles down to the UTC 20 as time seemed to expire. One second was put back on the clock, setting up a 37-yard field goal attempt that Griffin Thomas drilled through the uprights for the 27-24 win.
Huesman racked up 347 yards of total offense in his first collegiate start. He ran for 166 yards on 21 carries and completed 18 of 30 for 181 yards in the air. He accounted for all three Mocs touchdowns - one with his feet and two with his arm.
His 166 rushing yards are the second-most by a quarterback in school history and the second-most by a freshman in the UTC record books.
Chattanooga rushed for 241 yards on 50 rushes. Williams ran 19 times for 51 yards. Tommy Hudson (Moutrie, Ga.) had a game-high seven catches (34 yards), while Moore added four receptions for 55 yards, all in the fourth quarter.
The Gamecocks were equal to the task in the running game with 216 yards on 37 totes. After just 33 yards in the first quarter, JSU had 183 in the final three averaging a touch more than seven yards per carry.
James carried the ball 16 times for 120 yards. Troymaine Pope had four less touches for 100 yards. James had both offensive touchdowns, while Pierre Warren had the other with a 75-yard fumble return in the opening quarter.
It was all Jacksonville State early. The Gamecocks scored the first 17 points of the game with James' 43-yard dart with 4:48 to go in the first half capping that scoring run.
Huesman directed a 12-play, 53-yard drive on the ensuing possession. Chaz Moore (Memphis, Tenn.) set the Mocs up in excellent field position as his 42-yard kickoff return put the ball on the UTC 47.
Marquis Green (Palmetto, Fla.) started it off with a four-yard rush across midfield. Huesman ran it four consecutive times for 31 yards to get inside the JSU 20. Williams got within an eyelash of scoring with just six seconds left on the clock. After a UTC timeout, Huesman bulled in on fourth and inches to get the Mocs on the scoreboard trailing 17-7 at the break.
Pollard hit a 30-yard field goal on Chattanooga's first possession of the second half to draw within a touchdown, 17-10. The score was set up by linebacker Gunner Miller's (Chattanooga, Tenn.) second career interception.
James got his second score with a 30-yard catch-and-run from Coty Blanchard. That was a quick answer to the Mocs field goal extending the lead to 14, 24-10.
UTC scored on the very next possession as well. Moore again put his squad in great field position with a 48-yard return to the 50. Eight plays later, Pollard nailed a 26-yard field goal but a JSU personal foul penalty gave the Mocs the ball inside the five.
Huesman found Tray James (College Park, Ga.) on a fade route for a four-yard touchdown, the first in the air for either player in their college careers. Pollard's point after attempt hit the crossbar to make it 24-16.
It is a quick turnaround this week for the Mocs as they host Glenville State in the home opener Thursday night. Kickoff is at 7 p.m., at Finley Stadium.
It is a Gold Rush with fans encouraged to wear gold to the game. Tickets are available at the McKenzie Arena Gate One Ticket Office, online at GoMocs.com or by calling 266-MOCS (6627).
Play - Quarter/Time/Score
JSU - Griffin Thomas 33 yd Field Goal - 1/5:35/0-3
Drive: 16 plays, 64 yards, 7:34
Key Play(s): 3/7/H33 Marques Ivory 21 yards to Alan Bonner. 3/13/V25 Ivory to Bonner for 15 yards.
JSU - Pierre Warren 75 yard Fumble Return (Thomas Kick) - 1/2:21/0-10
JSU - DaMarcus James 43 yard run (Thomas Kick) - 2/4:48/0-17
Drive: 2 plays, 49 yards, 0:45
Key Play(s): N/A
UTC - Jacob Huesman 1 yard run (Nick Pollard Kick) - 2/0:01/7-17
Drive: 12 plays, 53 yards, 4:38
Key Play(s): 3/1/H25 Huesman 5 yd rush. 3/3/H11 Keon Williams 5 yd rush.
UTC - Pollard 30 yd Field Goal - 3/11:32/10-17
Drive: 6 plays, 23 yards, 2:53
Key Play(s): Gunner Miller interception returned 25 yds to JSU 35
JSU - James 30 yd pass from Coty Blanchard (Thomas Kick) - 3/7:54/10-24
Drive: 8 plays, 77 yards, 3:31
Key Play(s): N/A
UTC - Tray James 4 yd pass from Huesman (Kick Failed) - 3/4:30/16-24
Drive: 9 plays, 50 yards, 3:14
Key Play(s): 4/G/H8 - Personal Foul JSU gives 1st down to Mocs
UTC - Ron Moore 16 yd pass from Huesman (Williams Run) - 4/0:39/24-24
Drive: 10 plays, 79 yards, 2:13
Key Play(s): 4/5/H34 - Huesman to Moore for 18 yards (play prior to TD)
JSU - Griffin 37 yd Field Goal - 4/0:33/24-27
Drive: 6 plays, 35 yards, 0:33
Key Play(s): 2/10/V33 - James runs 13 yards as clock runs out. Refs decide run was amazingly in five seconds while breaking tackles as they add one second to clock. Thomas hit field goal on next play.
GoMocs.com is the official website of the Chattanooga Mocs. The Mocs can also be followed on their official Facebook page, www.facebook.com/ChattanoogaMocs, or on Twitter, www.twitter.com/GoMocs. Find out how to join the UTC Mocs Club and support more than 300 student-athletes by clicking here.