TALLAHASSEE, FL (gomocs.com)-- The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football team wrapped up the 2015 regular season with a 52-13 loss at No. 14/16 Florida State. The eighth-ranked Mocs fall to 8-3 overall while the Seminoles improved to 9-2.
UTC moved the ball early and only trailed 7-6 in the second quarter, following the second of two field goals from Henrique Ribeiro.
"We lost to an excellent football team and there's no question about that," stated head coach Russ Huesman. "Our kids fought and played hard and I am proud of them."
The Mocs started with a very fortuitous turn of events on the opening kickoff. FSU's Kermit Whitfield went up the far sideline and only had Ribeiro to beat. However, the Brazilian knocked the ball loose for his first career forced fumble and Dale Warren recovered.
UTC took advantage nine plays later with a 29-yard Ribeiro field goal and a 3-0 lead. The Mocs then forced a three-and-out and were looking tough early in the game. FSU took the lead late in the first when Jacques Patrick capped off a six-play, 46-yard drive from one yard out.
The Mocs closed to within one on their next possession on a 24-yard Ribeiro field goal, set up by an impressive 12-play, 68-yard drive. The highlight of the possession was a 25-yard completion from Huesman to C.J. Board on third-and-seven. That was as close as UTC would get the rest of the way.
The Seminoles sandwiched two touchdowns around an 18-yard field goal for a 24-6 lead at the break. UTC's defense did have a nice stop the force the field goal. Florida State had it first-and-goal from the one, but the Mocs did not let them in the endzone.
"That was excellent by our defense," added Huesman. "You could give up in that scenario and say that they got us down here and they're bigger than us. But we bowed up and held them to a field goal."
Two turnovers to start the second half on the UTC side of field let things get out of hand. FSU turned both into touchdowns for a 38-6 lead less than four minutes into the third quarter. Chattanooga had another long drive with the backups on both sides of the ball early in the fourth quarter. Huesman came in for backup quarterback Alejandro Bennifield, who went out with an injury late in the drive, and scored from three yards out.
That was the 100th touchdown Huesman was responsible for in his career (41 rushing and 59 passing). He and junior Derrick Craine also topped 1,000 yards for the season in today's game.
Huesman finished with 21 yards on seven carries while Craine had 36 yards on 12 attempts. Huesman has 1,018 yards on the year, his second 1,000-yard season. Craine sits at 1,002 yards. It is the 10th and 11th time a Moc has run for 1,000 yards. It is also just the 35th time in FCS history that teammates have run for 1,000 yards in a season, and the second year in a row for UTC. Huesman and Keon Williams both did it last year.
Huesman was 12-for-19 passing for 94 yards with one interception. His 11,670 yards of total offense in his career move him into the top-20 all-time at the FCS level. James Stovall and C.J. Board both had three catches for 29 yards each. Sophomore Tyler Roberson was the signal caller at the end of the game and put up 33 yards on seven carries.
Defensively, senior Sema'je Kendall led the team with a career-high seven tackles. Junior D.J. Prather had a sack, while Warren added five tackles.
FSU was led by Dalvin Cook's 106 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries. Sean Maguire was 12-for-17 passing for 152 yards and two scores. Whitfield finished with five catches for 91 yards and two touchdowns.
Chattanooga now turns its attention to tomorrow's FCS Selection Show. UTC will learn its playoff fate at 11:00 a.m. (E.S.T.) when the field is announced on ESPNU. Fans are encouraged to join the team in the University Center Auditorium for a Selection Show Viewing Party.