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Big offense helps Mocs sock GSU

Chattanooga hands Eagles second straight loss

Big offense helps Mocs sock GSU

Big offense helps Mocs sock GSU

Georgia Southern true freshman quarte...


 

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — It was all well and good at halftime, as Georgia Southern led Chattanooga 20-14, but early in the third quarter when the Mocs had the ball on 4th-and-21 from the 23-yard line, they had the No. 21 Eagles right where they wanted them.

Although UTC kicker Jeff Veeres missed the field goal, Georgia Southern defensive tackle Roderick Tinsley hit the holder, resulting in a personal foul, an automatic first down, a Chattanooga touchdown and eventually 21 unanswered points as the Mocs held off GSU 35-27 Saturday at their homecoming at Finley Stadium.

"The holder’s just like the kicker. He’s an unprotected player so if you run into him it’s a penalty. We broke through. We were getting pretty good pressure on all of their kicks," said GSU coach Jeff Monken about Tinsley’s penalty. "He came scott free. He jumped, left his feet, which we don’t like to do on that play, and his hands were apart, just didn’t use good technique to block the kick, and then ran right into the holder. It’s a good call, it’s a penalty, and it we used good technique we block the kick and it’s a different story."

The drive, which was the first of the third quarter, lasted nine minutes and nine seconds, and the Mocs (4-2, 3-1 Southern Conference) ran a season-high 17 plays.

After they got their fresh set of downs, UTC quarterback B.J. Coleman scrambled for an 11-yard touchdown run to give his Mocs the lead back at 21-20.

The Eagles (3-3, 1-2) got the ball back and set up 3rd-and-1 from their own 22-yard line after carries by fullbacks Tobi Akinniranye (11-102, TD) and Lee Banks.

True freshman Robert Brown — who hadn’t played a snap since September 18 when he suffered an injury against Coastal Carolina — got his first and only carry of the game, fumbling on the 25-yard line.

"[Fullback] Lee [Banks] is lighter than [Brown and Akinniranye]. Tobi came out of the game banged up, was limping, so Robert’s the next guy," Monken said. "We needed someone to hit the thing in there and hit it fast. He just wasn’t securing the ball. The same thing that happened at Coastal Carolina. He’s a freshman."

The Mocs needed four plays before J.J. Jackson scored his first-career rushing touchdown resulting in a 28-20 Mocs advantage.

Meanwhile, GSU ran only eight plays in the entire third quarter. The second drive of the period came to an end when true freshman Jerick McKinnon – who split time with starting quarterback Jaybo Shaw for much of the game — was sacked on 3rd-and-3 during his first-career pass attempt.

"Jaybo’s played about every snap," Monken said about having the quarterbacks splitting time. "We don’t want to play Jerick just because we have to. We want the kid to be ready to play in case he has to. The only way to do that is to get him some reps. He’s an athletic kid he’s fast, Jaybo’s been a little banged up — you saw him getting up off the ground a little slow — so we gave him a little rest. We got Jerick in there, he did some good things, and hopefully he’ll improve with more reps."

The Mocs held Georgia Southern to 52 second-half rushing yards after allowing 198 in the first, and it was the running game of the Mocs that sealed the win.

Coleman completed only four passes in the final two quarters — one of which a 43-yard bomb to Brian Sutherland for the Mocs’ final touchdown — as Chattanooga carried the ball 31 times in the second half to limit the Eagles to 19 plays over the final two quarters.

"They were pretty stout," said GSU nose tackle Brent Russell. "We had a plan coming in. We had to stop the run and we didn’t do it. They executed the run, and that led to the big passes."

The Eagles scored in the fourth quarter on a keeper by Shaw that was set up by Shaw’s 63-yard pass to J.J. Wilcox to cut it to 35-27 and got it back after UTC turned it over on downs with 1:16 remaining.

The final offensive play of the day for GSU was an attempted trick play. Slotback Nico Hickey attempted a throw back to McKinnon, which was intercepted by Jordan Tippit and allowed the Mocs to run out the clock.

Mckinnon was under center on two of the final three drives.

"It’s definitely tough," said Shaw, "but coach Monken is the head coach and all of us trust him. If we’d have executed it, it would’ve been great. It’s our job to execute the gameplan."

Things went well in the early going, as Adrian Mora opened the scoring with a 37-yard field goal to put the Eages up 3-0 after the game’s first drive.

The Eagles’ first penalty – they committed nine for 85 yards, gave the Mocs the first of their many scoring opportunities in the first half.

A pass interference on 3rd-and-10 of the Mocs first possession extended the drive, and Coleman capitalized, finding Chris Awuah on a play action pass that resulted in a wide open 46 yard touchdown pass and a 7-3 Chattanooga lead.

The Eagles answered in kind.

After runs of eight and two by Akinniranye got GSU a first down, Shaw turned a play action of his own into a 60-yard strike to a wider-open Wilcox for a 60-yard touchdown.

The Mocs brought out the punt team on the next drive, only to watch GSU throw up its second 60-yard play of the game.

Akinniranye took a handoff up the gut for a 60-yard touchdown run, the longest of his career, to help put the Eagles ahead 17-7.

The Mocs’ next drive stalled on the GSU 29, but on 4th-and-9, Coleman hit Joel Bradford with an 11-yard pass to keep the drive alive. Three plays later, running back Erroll Wynn punched it in from one yard out to cut it to 17-14 with 5:38 to go in the first half.

Georgia Southern finished off the half with its longest scoring drive of the half, using 16 plays to march into field-goal range and set up a 33 yarder by Mora to leave the Eagles ahead 20-14 at halftime.

NOTES

 

 

: Cornerback Carson Hill and linebacker Kyle Oehlbeck missed the game with injury. … It was the first time this season that GSU lost the coin toss and received the ball first. … The homecoming crowd of 17,414 was the second-largest crowd ever to attend a Chattanooga game at Finley Stadium. … The 20-14 halftime deficit marked the first time UTC trailed at the half this season. … Georgia Southern stays on the road next Saturday traveling to Charleston, S.C. to face The Citadel at 1 p.m.

 

Matt Yogus can be reached at (912) 489-9408.

 

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