John Shearer: Looking Back At Terrell Owens’ UTC Career

Sunday, February 4, 2018 - by John Shearer

The fact that Terrell Owens on Saturday became the first former Chattanooga Moc player to be elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame started me thinking about his college career.


In 1999-2000, I helped UTC put together a history book called “Mocs Football: A History,” so I went back and looked at it for information about the star player.


I had interviewed coach Buddy Nix for the book, and he remembered that Mr. Owens had not been a big recruit. In fact, he was not even believed to be the best freshman the Mocs had signed from Alexander City, Ala., going into the 1992 season. That honor went to the then-more-heralded Derek Hall, who also went on to have a solid career with the Mocs.


As coach Nix remembered in 1999 of Mr. Owens, “He wasn’t a very hot commodity. Terrell was not a starter in high school. Terrell was physically a good athlete and a little late developer. But you could see a lot of raw talent.”


Mr. Owens actually played some basketball for coach Mack McCarthy in 1993-94 after his sophomore year, and coach Nix thought that helped him blossom as an athlete and developed his full potential.


About his best football game – and a contest in which Mr. Owens showed a glimpse of what he would later do with such teams as the San Francisco 49ers, Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys – occurred in the 1993 game against Marshall.


In a contest played at historic Chamberlain Field – where Mr. Owens played all his home games with Finley Stadium not opening until 1997 – perennial 1-AA power Marshall under future Georgia coach Jim Donnan went up 14-0 and appeared headed to easy victory.


But with four touchdown passes from UTC quarterback Kenyon Earl, the Mocs under first-year coach Tommy West came back in dramatic fashion and won, 33-31, in what was a rare high moment for UTC during that stretch.


And who was the player who caught all four TD passes? That’s right, Terrell Owens.


After coach West left for Clemson following that season, coach Buddy Green arrived to coach Terrell during his last two seasons as a Moc in 1994 and 1995.


In 1994, after an early-season loss to Alcorn State and future Tennessee Titan Steve McNair at Chamberlain Field, Mr. Owens caught a touchdown pass and ran for a score in a win against Garden-Webb.


In 1995, while catching passes from such quarterbacks as Jeff Peters and Brian Hampton, Mr. Owens would close out his career at the end of the year by catching at least one pass in a game for a record-setting 20th straight time. He received all-Southern Conference honors on the season for all his efforts as well.


He had actually broken the receiving record with a catch in an 11th straight game in a lop-sided loss at Auburn earlier in the year.


Another Owens’ highlight that year, although it was called back on a penalty, was a 51-yard TD scamper against East Tennessee State and coach Mike Cavan, best known as the former Georgia assistant coach who recruited Herschel Walker. During the play, Mr. Owens was subbing for injured quarterback Hampton.


By the time Mr. Owens’ career was winding down, UTC fans were realizing what everyone in the NFL would soon become aware of – he was a special player.


And that became clear Saturday with the announcement that he would be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this summer.

Lookouts Fall To Montgomery Sunday (7-1) In Series Finale

Unlike Saturday's lengthy high-scoring game, Sunday's game moved right along. Unfortunately for the Lookouts, the game went in the wrong direction as the Montgomery Biscuits defeated the Chattanooga Lookouts, 7-1, to capture the series 3-games-to-2. Details to follow   (click for more)

Lookouts Hold On To Win An Ugly Slugfest Saturday Defeating Biscuits, 11-10

In a lengthy game (3:24) that saw 21 runs scored, a total of 27 hits, 3 errors, 6 wild pitches, 6 batters hit-by-the-pitch, one balk, one home run, and even a triple-play, the Lookouts managed to prevail and come away with an 11-10 win.   Four hits from Brent Rooker, four runs by Tanner English and a triple play propelled theLookouts to a hard earned victory ... (click for more)

Pedestrian Struck And Killed On Hixson Pike Saturday Night

A pedestrian was struck and killed on Saturday night on Hixson Pike. Chattanooga Police Department responded at 10:05 p.m. to a pedestrian struck at 5400 Hixson Pike.   A Ford F150 driven by Francis Lamonica, 66, was traveling north in the fast lane. The pedestrian was attempting to cross the roadway and was struck by the vehicle.   Mr. Lamonica was ... (click for more)

Aaron Biddle, 21, Shot And Killed On Basswood Drive Saturday Afternoon; Jadarius Knox, 23, Arrested For Criminal Homicide

Aaron Biddle, 21, was shot and killed on Saturday afternoon. Jadarius Knox, 23, has been arrested, and charged with criminal homicide. The Chattanooga Police Department responded around 3:45 p.m. to the 7800 block of Basswood Drive on reports of a person who had been shot.  Upon arrival, police were able to locate the victim who had succumbed to his injuries. Knox ... (click for more)

Erlanger Is Earning Its Money

First of all, I don’t know what I’m talking about. However, I do have an opinion on the facility based on my past and recent visits thereto. Secondly, if you find yourself at Erlanger for anything other than welcoming a brand new baby or something else that’s happily miraculous, you’ve either done something stupid (me); somebody else did and you’re paying the price, or, God gave ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Memorial Day, 2018

Sometime next Monday , the GrowJoy Nursery in Indiana is going to send me a dozen yellow flowers and I am going to do something with them that will be a lot of fun for me. Each of the Gold Star Perennial Mums comes in a 2.5-inch pot and costs $8.58 apiece and that includes free shipping. What’s more, for every plant GrowJoy sells, they will give $5, again from each plant, to ... (click for more)