CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (GoMocs.com)--- The 14th-ranked Chattanooga Mocs rolled to a 38-24 win over visiting Samford Saturday night at Finley Stadium. The Mocs used an all-around team effort to claim the win and move to 2-2 on the season, 1-0 in Southern Conference play. Samford is also 2-2 overall, 1-1 in the league.
The ground attack was solid from the start, amassing 252 yards while averaging 5.9 yards per carry. It accounted for four touchdowns as well. The defense picked off three Michael Eubank offerings and shut the Bulldogs down for a majority of the game. Special teams got in the act as well with 10 points on a Tommy Hudson punt return for touchdown and an Henrique Ribeiro field goal.
“Great team win,” coach Russ Huesman noted. “Proud of the guys, all three phases were strong. You get a punt return for a score…that makes big a difference. You get a pick on their side of the field, that makes a difference. That's why it was 24-3. It was just enough.
“Even though the second half got a little scary early,” Huesman continued. “Lucas (Webb) got that second pick there which was huge. I thought Keon ran the ball extremely hard today.”
The Mocs set the tone by putting 17 points on the board in the first quarter. After Samford took the opening drive 73 yards for a field goal, the home team responded with a quick-strike four-play, 76-yard march of its own. It was capped by Keon Williams' 34-yard run through a gaping hole in the right side of the line.
Lucas Webb grabbed the first of his two interceptions on the next Samford possession. That led to Ribeiro's 31-yard field goal. The defense held Samford to a three-and-out.
Hudson corralled Greg Peranich's punt on his own 34 yard line. He made a move and shot up the middle of the field before heading to the home sideline and taking it to the house.
It was 24-3 Mocs at the half when the Bulldogs offense came to life. They scored on back-to-back drives in a mere 2:21 of playing time to make things interesting. Denzell Williams burst into the end zone from nine yards, while Karel Hamilton made a great catch in traffic on a 24-yard scoring strike from Eubank with 8:09 to go in the third quarter.
Williams took over for Chattanooga after more Webb heroics. Webb's fourth quarter interception at the Samford 19-yard line gave the Mocs a short-field. Williams bulled his way in from seven yards out four plays later to make it a 14-point game. Jacob Huesman added a one-yard plunge with 5:19 left to make it 38-17 for the Scenic City's men.
Eubank and Hamilton weren't done. With 2:08 left in the game, the duo hooked up for the second time to get the final tally of the contest and complete the 38-24 score. The Bulldogs' onside kick was successful, but the Mocs would allow no more points on the evening.
Williams led the way for Chattanooga with 131 yards and two touchdowns, while Huesman chipped in another 86 yards and two scores of his own.
“Keon is an easy runner to block for,” said sophomore offensive lineman Corey Levin who moved from his usual left tackle to left guard position, solidifying the offensive line in its best performance of the season. “He is a load, and I think everyone in the Southern Conference knows that. All you have to do is give him a crease and he can hit it. He is going to make you look good.”
Hudson became the first student-athlete in the school's DI history to return two punts for touchdown in a season with his second in as many games. Webb grabbed his second and third picks and now has four takeaways over the last three games.
Eubank threw for 244 yards completing 18 of 33 passes for 244 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions. The Bulldogs' Williams ran for 78 yards with Eubank netting 51. The Mocs limited the visitors to just 2.9 yards per rush.
Muhasibi Wakeel made a game-high 14 tackles for the Mocs. His mates made four sacks with two each for Davis Toll and Keionta Davis. Se'maje Kendall had the third of Eubank's picks. Justin Cooper had a team-high 13 stops for the Bulldogs and a pass breakup. Trey Wesley added six tackles with two passes broken up of his own.
The Mocs remain in the Scenic City for Homecoming 2014. VMI comes to town for a 4 p.m., kickoff. Watch the game on the SoCon Digital Network connecting through GoMocs.com which has links to audio, stats and more. Fans can follow live updates on Twitter @GoMocsFB.
SCORING SUMMARY Play – Quarter/Time/Score SAM – Warren Handrahan 19 yard Field Goal - 1/10:25/0-3 Drive: 13 plays, 73 yards, 4:35 Key Play(s): 3/12/V48 – Michael Eubank hits Karel Hamilton for 14 yards and the first down