CULLOWHEE, N.C. --- The Chattanooga Mocs (5-4/4-2) dominated play on both sides of the ball in the second half running away with a 45-24 win at Western Carolina (1-9/0-8). Chattanooga recovered from a 24-16 halftime deficit to score 29 unanswered points after intermission.
It was powered by a ferocious rushing attack. Freshmen Kendrix Huitt (Atlanta, Ga.) and Jacob Huesman (Chattanooga, Tenn.) combined for 267 rushing yards and three touchdowns on the ground. The Mocs accumulated 291 of its 367 yards in the final 30 minutes with 225 coming from Huitt (111) and Huesman (114). It was the most rushing yards by the Mocs since 404 against VMI on October 15, 1994.
The defensive effort matched the ground game. UTC allowed the Catamounts a lone first down in the second half. Western Carolina gained just 33 yards in 19 plays after the break.
It was a see-saw game early. Keon Williams (Chattanooga, Tenn.) opened the scoring with a two-yard plunge midway through the first quarter. The Catamounts then scored twice in a 10-second span.
Darius Ramsey started it with a six-yard run to tie the game at seven. On the first play of the Mocs next possession, Huesman's pass slipped through his receiver's hands and was picked off by Eiljer Martinez who returned it 14 yards for the score to make it 14-7.
The Catamounts led 17-16 as the first half was coming to a close. Quarterback Troy Mitchell rolled left and heaved a pass for the end zone which found Kamorris Benson in the end zone for the 24-16 lead at the half.
It was all Chattanooga from there. Huesman scored on runs of 51 yards (3rd quarter) and five yards to take the lead 30-24. The latter score came just four seconds into the fourth quarter. Less than two minutes later, Huitt blew through the right side of the line rambling 74 yards for a 38-24 lead.
Huesman and Terrell Robinson (South Pittsburg, Tenn.) took over directing a 13-play, 98-yard drive that put the game out of reach on Robinson's three-yard run. The Mocs drained nearly seven minutes off the clock with the back-breaking, time-consuming march.
UTC totaled 474 yards of total offense to 288 for the Catamounts. J.J. Jackson (Marietta, Ga.) added 63 yards on eight carries as the Mocs averaged a shade less than eight yards (7.7) per rushing play. There were five runs for 20 or more yards with two by Huesman and one each for Huitt, Jackson and Robinson.
Shane Heatherly, from nearby Waynesville, N.C., led the Mocs defense with 10 tackles and a fumble recovery. D.J. Key (Centerville, Tenn.) added nine stops and an interception, while Wes Dothard (Carrollton, Ga.) chipped in seven tackles.
Catamounts safety Ace Clark had a busy day. He had a game-high 20 tackles. Fellow defensive back Sertonuse Harris, Jr., had 12 of his own. Martinez and Jaleel Lorquet had first-half interceptions.
Ramsey led the offense for WCU with 72 rushing yards on 14 carries and a touchdown. He posted 66 of those yards in the first half. Mitchell threw for 176 yards, 18 of 30 with two interceptions, and a touchdown. Jacoby Mitchell led all receivers with seven catches for 81 yards.
Chattanooga held a 34:55 to 25:05 advantage in time of possession. The defensive effort led to UTC holding the ball for 21:28 of the possible 30 second-half minutes which accounts for 71.6 percent of the time available going to its offense.
The Mocs travel to Wofford next Saturday with kickoff set for 1:30 p.m. Audio and video broadcast and live stat links can be accessed via the football schedule page on GoMocs.com.
Bus trips for students and donors are being arranged for gameday. They leave Saturday morning with a return that evening after the game. More information is to come on GoMocs.com this week.
Play - Quarter/Time/Score
UTC - Keon Williams 2 yd Run (Nick Pollard Kick) - 1/6:25/7-0
Drive: 7 plays, 73 yards, 2:31
Key Play(s): 3/2/V35 - J.J. Jackson bursts through right side for 24 yards
WCU - Darius Ramsey 6 yd Run (Clark Sechrest Kick) - 1/2:35/7-7
Drive: 8 plays, 80 yards, 3:44
Key Play(s): 3/6/V46 - Troy Mitchell to Jacoby Mitchell for 39 yards
WCU - Elijer Martinez 14 yd Interception Return (Sechrest Kick) - 1/2:25/7-14
Drive: - plays, -- yards, ----
Key Play(s): N/A
UTC - Faysal Shafaat 2 yd Pass from Jacob Huesman (Pollard Kick Failed) - 2/12:33/13-14
Drive: 11 plays, 77 yards, 4:48
Key Play(s): 3/1/H18 - Huesman to J.J. Jackson 4 yards
WCU - Sechrest 36 yd Field Goal - 2/9:13/13-17
Drive: 9 plays, 58 yards, 3:12
Key Play(s): 1/10/H33: Ramsey runs for 33 yards
UTC - Henrique Ribeiro 32 yd Field Goal - 2/3:14/16-17
Drive: 6 plays, 16 yards, 3:06
Key Play(s): D.J. Key interception starts Mocs off at WCU 31
WCU - Kamorris Benson 42 yd Pass from Troy Mitchell (Sechrest Kick) - 2/0:07/16-24
Drive: 10 plays, 54 yards, 3:00
Key Play(s): Shaun Warren returns kickoff 43 yards to WCU 46
UTC - Huesman 51 yd Run (Run Failed) - 3/12:18/22-24
Drive: 5 plays, 84 yards, 2:37
Key Play(s): 1/10/V27: Huesman 13 yard rush
UTC - Huesman 5 yd Run (J.J. Jackson Run) - 4/14:56/30-24
Drive: 8 plays, 52 yards, 3:55
Key Play(s): Shane Heatherly recovers Troy Mitchell fumble at UTC 48
UTC - Kendrix Huitt 74 yd Run (Huesman to Terrell Robinson Pass) - 4/12:58/38-24
Drive: 1 plays, 74 yards, 0:12
Key Play(s): N/A
UTC - Terrell Robinson 3 yd Run (Ribeiro Pass) - 4/3:41/45-24
Drive: 13 plays, 98 yards, 6:57
Key Play(s): 3/4/V08 - Huitt 9 yard run/Huesman & Robinson with 21 yard rushes
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.