Mocs Claim Playoff Berth with 31-13 Win over Wofford
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (GoMocs.com)--- The drought is over. The Chattanooga Mocs are in the FCS Playoffs for the first time since 1984 after a 31-13 win over Wofford. The Mocs clinch the Southern Conference's automatic bid as well as no worse than a tie for the 2014 crown. A Samford win over Western Carolina would make it an outright league championship.
Chattanooga broke open a close game at the half. The Terriers scored on the game's third play, a 72-yard run off misdirection by Ray Smith. The Mocs took a 14-13 lead into intermission and scored 17 unanswered points in the second frame to pull away with the win. It was another balanced victory between the offense and defense.
“Obviously, tremendous win,” coach Russ Huesman said. “Tremendous team effort on both sides of the ball. First time in the playoffs in such a long time…unbelievable.
“Our guys came out for thirty more minutes and knew what was on the line,” he continued. “Thirty minutes, that's all we asked. They came out and played 30 more minutes to get where we are.
“To look at those guys with happiness and joy, phenomenal.”
Keon Williams ran for 91 yards on a career-high 27 carries with three touchdowns. He scored on runs of seven, 11 and seven yards to get within one of Gene Roberts' school record of 28 rushing TDs. He wasn't alone.
Jacob Huesman completed 12 straight passes at one point in the game before ending up with 250 yards on 26 of 33 passing with a touchdown. His 286 yards of total offense pushed him past Chris Sanders for the school record with 7,382 in just two-plus years.
Defensively, the Mocs allowed 311 yards, 231 coming on the ground. That's 66 less than the Terriers' average entering the game. Of that 311 yards, 114 came on two plays, a 72-yard run off a reverse by Ray Smith and 42 yards down the right sideline off the option pitch by Lorenzo Long. Take those two away, and Wofford managed 197 yards on 56 plays.
Senior All-American Davis Tull helped lead the disruptive Mocs front, and got a half-sack to tie him Josh Jeffries (ASU - 1999-02) for the SoCon record with 36.5 in his career. Fellow senior linebacker Muhasibi Wakeel led all tacklers with 13.
“Coming into the practice week we knew the stakes were high,” Wakeel shared. “They were coming in playing for a SoCon championship, too. We were just tuned in, played with intensity and ran toward the ball on every play.
“They had two weeks to prepare so they were able to do something new with their scheme, but a good overall defense and offensive showing got it done.”
But the story is the seniors. There were 14 total honored pre-game, and they are credited with fully turning around a program that won just 32 games in the 10 seasons prior to Russ Huesman's arrival in 2009.
“For the seniors, Coach Huesman gave us something to work toward,” Wakeel added. “We didn't get it the first two years, but to get (clinch the SoCon title and FCS Playoffs) now is very special. Even if we have the Southern Conference title and a playoff position, you still have something to play for each week.”
Shafaat had a memorable senior day. He caught a career-high eight passes for 68 yards and a touchdown. Hudson added seven catches for 86 yards.
Smith led all rushers with 102 yards on six carries for the Terriers. Long added 81 yards on 12 rushes with both garnering a score. Wofford managed just 80 yards in the air completing nine of 16 with an interception.
Chattanooga's defense got great contributions from a number of student-athletes. Wakeel's 13 stops highlighted a night that included eight tackles for loss by the MOcs. Nakevion Leslie led the team with two-and-a-half TFLs. Lucas Webb had nine tackles and nabbed his fifth interception of the season. Tull had seven tackles, two for loss including the half-sack shared with Keionta Davis.
The Mocs leave SoCon play for a week travelling to Tennessee Tech on Nov. 15. The game is on the OVC Digital Network and kicks off at 2:30 p.m. Access links to video, audio, stats and more on the football schedule page GoMocs.com. Get your tickets on GoMocs.com or by calling the ticket office at 266-MOCS (6627). Fans can follow live updates on Twitter @GoMocsFB.
SCORING SUMMARY Play – Quarter/Time/Score Wofford – Ray Smith 72 yard Run (Kick Blocked) - 1/14:00/0-6 Drive: 3 plays, 91 yards, 1:00 Key Play(s): 2/7/V12 – Lorenzo Long takes pitch 16 yards