The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga offensive line had been playing well since Terrell Robinson took over at quarterback against Georgia Southern on Oct. 8.
But the problems that plagued the line before B.J. Coleman’s shoulder injury — poor pass protection and little room to run — showed up again Saturday in the Mocs’ 14-7 loss to Furman.
Head coach Russ Huesman said the line wasn’t very good and neither were the Mocs’ offensive coaches. UTC finished with a meager 169 yards of offense, 166 coming on the ground.
“It was pretty much a sieve in there,” he said of the offensive line. “Did anybody see [Robinson] have any time back there the whole day? Zero time! And part of it’s on him, part of it’s on Terrell, he’s got to get rid of the football, but a lot of it’s on our coaches, too. They better put him in better positions than that.”
Running back J.J. Jackson, who finished with 42 yards on 15 carries, said Furman was well prepared for the Mocs’ ground attack.
“They did a great job of filling gaps,” he said. “They were in the right places at the right time.”
Not counting the drive at the end of the first half or the four that ended because of turnovers, UTC had six possessions of four plays or less. Four came in the first half when the Mocs amassed only 60 yards on 23 plays.
“They took it to us in the first half, and it was everything,” offensive line coach Geep Wade said. “It starts up front, no doubt, and it was a culmination of missing blocks and not finishing blocks.”
UTC’s defense gave up the winning drive late in the fourth quarter, but the Paladins’ preceding 11 possessions yielded just a pair of field goals.
The defense extended its streak of scoreless first quarters to six in a row and held the opponent scoreless in the first half for the fourth time in six games.
Linebackers Ryan Consiglio, Wes Dothard and Gunner Miller combined for 25 tackles. Defensive end Davis Tull, a redshirt freshman, had his best game with eight stops, including a sack.
Furman linebacker Kadarron Anderson, who came in leading the Southern Conference in tackles, had a game-high 13, including a sack.
‘EAGLE' DIDN'T LAND
The Mocs tried a fake field goal early in the fourth quarter. It was a play dubbed “Eagle” that they had been working on for several weeks, since they planned to use it against Georgia Southern.
Wideout Sloan Allison, the holder on kicks, lined up at quarterback and rolled to his right after the snap. Meanwhile, tight end Faysal Shafaat took off to the left and was open for at least a first down, if not more.
Allison’s pass floated in the air and was batted down.
“In the back of your mind you’re like, there’s no way they’re defending this, no way that they can stop it,” said Allison, a former quarterback. “I threw it and I think I hung it up there a little too much and it got caught in the wind a little bit.”
UTC did converted a fake punt with Joel Bradford running for 12 yards in the third quarter.
Huesman and Furman first-year coach Bruce Fowler didn’t know each other growing up in Cincinnati, but they’ve covered a lot of the same ground over the years. Both are coaching at their alma maters — the only SoCon coaches doing so — and both are former defensive backs who played against each other in the late 1970s and early ’80s.
Of the nine coaches in the SoCon, three are from Cincinnati. The other is Wofford’s Mike Ayers.
Mocs running back Chris Awuah left the game in the first half with a leg injury and did not return. ... UTC hasn’t beaten Furman in Chattanooga since Nov. 20, 1993. Freshman left tackle Brandon Morgan wasn’t yet 2 months old when that happened.
John Frierson is in his seventh year at the Times Free Press and seventh year covering University of Tennessee at Chattanooga athletics. The bulk of his time is spent covering Mocs football, but he also writes about women’s basketball and the big-picture issues and news involving the athletic department. A native of Athens, Ga., John grew up a few hundred yards from the University of Georgia campus. Instead of becoming a Bulldog he attended Ole ...