CHARLESTON, S.C. (GoMocs.com)--- It was a dominating start for the 15th-ranked Chattanooga Mocs today. The Scenic City lads scored on their first five possessions to roll to a 34-14 win at The Citadel in Johnson Hagood Stadium.
Derrick Craine posted his first 100-yard rushing game in his second season. He had 17 carries for 135 yards on the day, the most by a Moc in 2014. That led a 315-yard rushing affair, which is the second-most this season and the third time in the last four games the unit has topped 250 yards.
As impressive as the offense was, the defense matched their effort. The Bulldogs entered the contest averaging 325 yards per game on the ground. They were held to a season-low 198 by the stout Mocs' defense and had just 236 yards total.
The onslaught began with the very first play. Huesman rolled right looking like he was ready to run before throwing to C.J. Board who got behind the defense. He caught the pass along the right sideline and completed the 66-yard catch-and-run for the earliest score in school history and a 7-0 lead at 14:41.
“We practiced that, but let me say our offensive coaches did an unbelievable job today,” Coach Huesman stated. “We won this game because of how we played on offense. We chewed up time on the clock and executed.
“I thought offensively our players and coaches did a remarkable job.”
The Mocs followed with drives of 80, 60 and 75 yards to build the cushion to 24-0. Henrique Ribiero's 33-yard field goal early in the second quarter was sandwiched by a 27-yard touchdown pass from Huesman to Marquis Green and Huesman's 15-yard dash off a great fake hand-off with Tommy Hudson.
The final first half scoring drive was the Mocs' only short-field possession of the game. After a 28-yard Bulldogs punt, Williams went to work. The Mocs got a first down from a Huesman scramble to the 28. Williams had the defining play of the game, bulling through the Bulldogs defense for 26 yards to the two. He ran left on the next play for the score and the 31-0 halftime lead.
The defense was spectacular as well, holding one of the nation's most potent rushing attacks to a mere 66 first-half yards.
The Bulldogs took the first possession of the second half and looked to be stopped early on a three-and-out, but decided to go for it on fourth-and-one on their own 34. Vinny Miller took the pitch six yards around the right end to fuel an impressive drive.
The Citadel got a huge 28-yard run from quarterback Aaron Miller to get inside UTC territory. Five plays later, Aaron Miller made the two-yard plunge to get his mates on the board, 31-7.
The Mocs had an answer. The offense started on its own 15 after a fumble on the kick return. Williams, Huesman and Craine ground out a 15-play drive that stalled at the hosts' 21. Ribeiro came in for his second field goal of the day for the 38-7 lead. The Millers hooked up for a 19-yard touchdown two drives later to provide the 38-14 final.
“What a relief to get this thing over with,” Coach Huesman added. “To beat a good Citadel team that had been playing well on offense, get to 3-0 and come home undefeated in the Southern Conference is huge. I don't think there's any question about that.”
Chattanooga is now 4-3, 3-0 in league play for the first time since 1983. The Citadel falls to 2-5 against a tough schedule that includes defending FBS National Champion Florida State and two nationally-ranked FCS opponents (Coastal Carolina & Charleston Southern).
Craine was not alone in his stellar play. Williams had 88 yards on 15 runs, while Huesman chipped in another 81. Huesman had 244 yards of total offense completing 11 of 17 passes for 163 yards and two touchdowns.
“Derrick Craine was incredible today,” coach Huesman concluded. “He and Jacob, Keon Williams and Richardre Bagley all had plenty of room to run. The offensive line did a great job. You have to give them credit because they blocked really well and opened up seams for our guys.”
The defense was led by Nakevion Leslie with 10 tackles. Davis Tull recorded a sack among his six stops, which marks five straight games getting to the quarterback. He now has 33.5 sacks which is three shy of the SoCon record of 36.5 by Josh Jeffries of Appalachian State. The Citadel threw six passes, but the Mocs still managed a sack and two hurries (Josh Freeman & A.J. Hampton).
The Millers combined for 121 yards on the ground for the Bulldogs. Aaron had 16 totes for 61 yards and a score, while Vinny, no relation, added 60 on 10 carries. Mailk Diggs matched Leslie for game-high honors with 10 tackles.
After two weeks on the road, Chattanooga returns to the friendly confines of Finley Stadium next Saturday to welcome new SoCon member Mercer. The game starts at Noon and is on ASN. Access links to audio, stats and more on GoMocs.com. Fans can follow live updates on Twitter @GoMocsFB.
SCORING SUMMARY Play – Quarter/Time/Score UTC – C.J. Board 66 yard Pass from Jacob Huesman (Henrique Ribeiro Kick) - 1/14:41/7-0 Drive: 1 plays, 66 yards, 0:19 Key Play(s): N/A
UTC – Marquis Green 27 yard Pass from Jacob Huesman (Ribeiro Kick) - 1/8:05/14-0 Drive: 9 plays, 80 yards, 3:19 Key Play(s): 3/5/V39 – Jacob Huesman extends drive with 9 yard run
UTC – Ribeiro 33 yard Field Goal - 2/14:52/17-0 Drive: 6 plays, 60 yards, 2:31 Key Play(s): 2/2/V32 – Huesman goes deep for 46 yards to Xavier Borishade
UTC – Huesman 15 yard Run (Ribeiro Kick) - 2/9:01/24-0 Drive: 10 plays, 75 yards, 4:23 Key Play(s): 3/7/V37 – Huesman 9 yard run
UTC – Keon Williams 2 yard Run (Ribeiro Kick) - 2/5:10/31-0 Drive: 5 plays, 40 yards, 1:35 Key Play(s): 1/10/H28 – Keon Williams runs 26 yards to 2. Scores on next play.
Citadel – Aaron Miller 2 yard Run (Ribeiro Kick) - 3/10:17/31-7 Drive: 11 plays, 75 yards, 4:43 Key Play(s): 4/1/H34 – Vinny Miller sweeps right for 6 yards.
UTC – Ribeiro 38 yard Field Goal - 3/1:57/34-7 Drive: 15 plays, 64 yards, 8:14 Key Play(s): 3/10/V29 – Huesman hits Borishade on 16-yard sideline pass
Citadel – Vinny Miller 19 yard Pass from Aaron Miller - 4/12:47/34-14 Drive: 7 plays, 46 yards, 2:13 Key Play(s): Joe Crochet recovers fumble at Mocs 46