Big Plays May Be A "Big Stat" In Mocs-Mountaineers Showdown

ASU Didn't Stop Them Last Week; UTC Failed To Get Enough Of Them

Thursday, September 20, 2012 - by Larry Fleming

The Citadel did to Appalachian State last Saturday what the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga’s Mocs dream of doing.

In a crushing 52-28 victory over the Mountaineers, the Bulldogs rolled up a whopping 618 yards of total offense and App State coach Jerry Moore said about half that total came on “big plays” of 20-yards or more.

So, the Mountaineers don’t want to suffer the same fate against UTC on Saturday at Finley Stadium.

On the other hand, UTC coach Russ Huesman said the Mocs aren’t getting enough big plays to beat the top-tier teams in the Southern Conference, or anywhere else.

So, Huesman hopes to see a few of those 20-plus yard plays as the Mocs celebrate homecoming against the Mountaineers. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m.

“We gave up a lot of big plays,” Moore said in rehashing the Citadel loss. “There’s close to 360 or 370 yards just in big plays. It was (due to) their preparation and our lack of that probably.”

As an example to back up Moore’s assessment, the SoCon Offensive Player of the Week was Citadel quarterback Ben Dupree, who rushed for a career-high 180 yards on 20 carries and scored touchdowns on runs 57 and 46 yards. He was 2 for 4 passing for 56 yards, giving him 236 total yards. Aaron Miller completed both of his passes for 99 yards.

For the game, Citadel rushed for 463 yards and had three runners with at least 100 yards.

“We had a lot of missed assignments and a lot of confusion and that leads to (big plays),” said Moore, who is 208-85 with three national championships in 24 years at Appalachian State. “At first I thought there was a ton of missed tackles. There were plays they had people untouched and it was more of an assignment thing as much as missed tackles.”

Huesman, meanwhile, says the Mocs continue working on making big plays a part of their offensive attack. UTC had a few big plays in a 35-0 win over an inferior Glenville State last week, but the head man is disappointed in those numbers.

“We beat Glenville State three-to-nothing in the big-play battle – 20 yards or more – and that’s not near enough,” Huesman said. “We have to get more explosive plays out of this offense.

“We have some kids who can make plays, who can run and stretch the field. We’ll continue to look into that. Terrell (Robinson) is a big-play matter where he goes. We’ve got to keep finding ways to get him the ball.”

Another troublesome sore spot for Huesman is the team’s point production compared to its offensive output.

In the past two games, UTC has gained 410 and 477 total yards and scored 24 and 35 points against Jacksonville State and Glenville.

Against Glenville, UTC scored 21 first-quarter points and 14 over the next three quarters. Of the Mocs’ five touchdown plays, one was a “big play,” that being a 44-yard pass play from Jacob Huesman to Robinson in the first quarter.

In the Jacksonville State game, the Mocs’ longest scoring play was Huesman’s 16-yard pass to Ron Moore.

“If you’re putting up those types of numbers (yardage), you’ve got to get more points,” Russ Huesman said. “We got it down there in the red zone twice against Jacksonville State, maybe even more than that. One time we fumble it, another time we miss a field goal. That’s two opportunities for more points. We should have scored more against Glenville and left them out there (on the field).

“We have to score more points with the yards we’re putting up, no question about it.”

And Huesman wants to see more quick-strike scoring drives for obvious reasons.

“We can’t just say we’re going 12 plays, 14 plays and 75 yards every time,” he said. “Odds of you scoring aren’t good. If you have three plays, 60 yards, five plays 75 yards, you’ve got to have big plays in there. If you’re just grinding it, eventually you’re going to make mistakes. Then you don’t have points.”

Dupree wasn’t the only Citadel player breaking long gainers against the Mountaineers.

Darien Robinson had a 45-yard scoring run. Rickey Anderson broke a 29-yard gainer. Receiver Matt Thompson caught three passes for 123 yards –  an impressive average of 41 yards – and had one 53-yarder. Dominic Jones’ one reception went for 32 yards.

“This is awful to say, but it wasn’t from a lack of effort,” Moore said. “We played pretty hard, but just made a lot of mistakes.”

Just like Citadel took some shots downfield against App State, Huesman said the Mocs have tried to do the same thing, just with much less success than the Bulldogs enjoyed last weekend.

“We’ve tried to take some shots,” he said. “We had one (play) open and Terrell got hit when he threw the ball, it kind of fluttered out there and came up short. We have to make someone miss in the open field to make a big play. I don’t know if we’ve done that like we should.”

While the Mocs are coming off a big win, Moore said the Mountaineers are trying to rebound from the drubbing they took on Saturday.

“The mood is fine,” he said. “I think we’ve got a fine football team and those things happen to you in sports. How you bounce back determines what kind of team you are and what kind of players you have.

“You try to think about the right things to say and right things to do. Somewhere in the mix you find the answers. The answers come between the staff and players and hope that you prepare well for the next ballgame. That’s kind of where we are.”

The Mountaineers’ lopsided loss hasn’t changed Huesman’s perception of his next opponent, one that has beaten the Mocs seven consecutive times.

“We know we’re playing a good football team,” he said. “I guarantee you they’re working hard this week. They’re correcting mistakes. … I don’t think anybody’s saying, well, 52-28, they’re no good. I don’t sense that in our football team. I think they respect App and know we’re fixing to play a good team.”

And Moore continued his yearly praise of the Mocs’ improvement.

“I’ve said this the last couple of years,” he said. “They’re probably the most improved football team in our league. I certainly haven’t changed my mind about that. We have great respect for them and should be a game just like about all the rest of them – a real tough, tight ballgame.”

(E-mail Larry Fleming at larryfleming44@gmail.com)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Bryan College Releases Men's Soccer Schedule

The Bryan College Men’s Soccer team has released its schedule for the 2016 season. The Lions pieced together an impressive campaign last year, capturing the 2015 Appalachian Athletic Conference Regular Season crown with a notable 13-5-2 overall record and 8-0-1 record in conference, bettering their previous four seasons.  Last year the Lions proved their ability to hang ... (click for more)

UTC Track And Field GPA Tied For 12th

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women’s track and field team tied for 12th in the nation with a 3.57 GPA the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association announced today.   The Mocs tied with Arizona State and DePaul on the list that included 221 Division I teams. San Francisco posted the highest GPA at 3.68 followed by Portland (3.671), ... (click for more)

Baylor School Tennis Coach Charged With Buying Meth In Whitfield County, Ga.

A Baylor School tennis coach has been arrested on charges of buying meth in Whitfield County, Ga. Philip Johnson, 51, of Ooltewah, was taken into custody on Thursday and charged with attempt or conspiracy to violate the Georgia Controlled Substance Act, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, and use of a communication facilities during drug transactions. ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Whiskey Company To Construct Large Distillery At Former Site Of Newton Chevrolet

The Chattanooga Whiskey Company has begun construction on a larger production distillery in the former Newton Chevrolet property at the corner of MLK Boulevard and Riverfront Parkway near the Tennessee River. Once fully operational, the Riverfront Parkway facility will be capable of producing upwards of 14 (53-gallon) barrels per day, making it one of the largest craft bourbon ... (click for more)

Judge Steelman Was Unfairly Criticized In Handling Of School Bus Driver Rape Case - And Response

We are blessed to have freedom of speech in our society, but I am always amazed at the number of folks who voice such strong antagonistic opinions about things without any apparent first-hand knowledge.   As any who wish to criticize the system should know, people get arrested and charged for criminal offenses every day.  The ultimate charge and penalty which results ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Vote For Rhonda Thurman

After studying the Hamilton County School Board quite harshly during the last seven most-tumultuous months in its history, it is only proper that I share my belief that Rhonda is its Most Valuable Player. Four of the school board’s nine members are up for re-election, with Rhonda facing capable opponents in Jason Moses and Dr. Patti Skates in District 1, but let’s never forget that ... (click for more)