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My Take 10/11 - UTC had tough call to make
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To go for two or not to go for two when the game is on the line? That is the question.

And the answer is always the same.

When it works, the head coach is an ingenious visionary capable of moving mountains and rescuing kittens from trees.

When it doesn't work, he's a reckless fool who doesn't know the first thing about managing a football game.

Chattanooga found itself in just that situation Saturday, and the decision to go for it resulted in a 28-27 win by the No. 1-ranked Georgia Southern Eagles.

So, is head coach Russ Huesman a reckless fool who doesn't know the first thing about managing football game?


I, for one, love the call.

Think about it like this. The offense, which granted was being run by a redshirt freshman who was forced into action because the NFL-prospect starting quarterback got hurt, was gashing the GSU defense for the entire second half.

The Eagles had no answer for the Mocs, which had all of a sudden discovered a running game, and all the momentum was on UTC's side.

Chattanooga had already lost two Southern Conference games by a combined three points over the last two weeks, and Huesman decided that if he only needed a couple more yards to stop the bleeding, than of course he was going to try.

If it had worked, the Eagles would have been forced to march into the wind to try to set up a game-winning field goal in 1 minute and 44 seconds.

Huesman had no reason to think his defense could stop the Eagles in overtime.

Georgia Southern only ran five offensive plays in the fourth quarter, and those resulted in a 66-yard touchdown drive.

So his choices were to force GSU to drive the length of the field in 1:44, or force overtime and let the Eagles have the chance to score from 25 yards out in an un-timed extra period.

Plus, Huesman had to choose between putting the ball in his freshman's hands for an entire overtime, or for one more play.

So he decided that, win or lose, that game was going to end in regulation.

Now for the problem — the play that was called.

The quarterback, freshman Terrell Robinson, had already rushed for 114 yards and three touchdowns in a little over a half of football. Conventional wisdom says that you put him in the shotgun, run a draw and let him find a crease to try to punch it in on the ground.

But I guess Huesman knew that was what the entire stadium was thinking, so he called a passing play. Who knows? If the UTC offensive line loses contain, maybe Robinson can improvise.

But the Eagles blew it up.

Whether it was the right call or not at the end of the day, it was an informed, well-thought-out choice, and I suspect Huesman would do the same again given the same circumstances.

As it stands, Georgia Southern is still the unbeaten, No. 1 team in the country and Chattanooga still has a very, very bright future to look forward to under Huesman and a freshman quarterback named Terrell Robinson.


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