CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- There was no storybook ending for B.J. Coleman.
In fact, it was quite the opposite.
The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga quarterback played the final game of his UTC career last Saturday, a disappointing 28-27 loss that closed the book on a disappointing 5-6 season.
There was no miracle comeback in the final minute. There will be no magical postseason run. There won't even be any postseason accolades for a senior who started the year on the Walter Payton Award watch list.
Still, the eternally optimistic Mocs' captain, who missed half the season with a shoulder injury, held his head high and spoke fondly of his final year in the Blue and Gold.
"I'm very appreciative of my time here at Chattanooga. We won a lot of football games the last few years," Coleman said. "With that said, we really wanted this last one, but it doesn't change anything memory-wise when we look back at things."
The bar for Coleman and the Mocs' offense was raised with a record-setting season in 2010. A second-straight 6-5 season was fueled by an electric passing attack that ranked among the nation's best.
But similar success never came in 2011. The offense had a tendency to disappear at times behind a young offensive line and an inconsistent ground game in a 2-3 start to the season.
It got worse for Coleman on the road at top-ranked Georgia Southern when he was knocked out of the game in the first half on a late hit that drew a flag for roughing the passer. The injury would keep the McCallie grad on the sideline for five weeks and four games, a period in which UTC's playoff hopes came to an end.
After throwing for nearly 3,000 yards and tossing 26 touchdowns and just 13 interceptions in 2010, Coleman's final numbers in his final season stand at 1,527 yards, nine touchdowns and nine picks.
"That's life. Sometimes you have to get knocked down," Coleman said. "This game can humble you real quick. You have to keep yourself focused. You're eyes can be in the sky, but you're feet need to be on the ground.
"There were some nights that you want to hang your head, but I had great support from my family and my friends on the team. I never sat around, hanging my head and thinking about whether or not I was going to be able to do this again, but coming out tonight and getting to throw the thing around one last time was a good feeling."
With his college career now at its end, Coleman has his sights set on throwing it around at the next level. Chattanooga became a frequent stop for NFL scouts throughout the fall, with teams hoping to learn more about the 6-foot-5, 220-pound signal caller as a possible NFL prospect.
He's got high hopes for his future on the football field, and has the same hopes for a Chattanooga program he helped rebuild.
"There's so many positive things to come out of this season. Yes, there were some negatives, but there are so many positives, too," Coleman said. "Sometimes you take a step back to take two forward, and there's a bright future ahead at this place.
"I'm looking forward to watching and coming back to tailgate with my buddies, but I'm also just looking forward to the future in general. I'm hoping to go out there and represent Chattanooga well, and hopefully I'll get that shot."
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