published Friday, November 16th, 2012

Winning season big to Chattanooga Mocs seniors

J.J. Jackson of UTC runs against the Western Carolina Catamounts in 2012.
J.J. Jackson of UTC runs against the Western Carolina Catamounts in 2012.
Contributed Photo

J.J. Jackson wants to score one more touchdown before the senior running back's University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football career comes to an end.

More than that — much more — Jackson wants to leave Finley Stadium on Saturday with a win. The Mocs (5-5, 4-3 Southern Conference) can post a third winning season in four years with a victory against Elon (3-7, 1-6).

"I'd like to win and walk of the field with a 'W,'" Jackson said.

Jackson is one of seven seniors on UTC's roster. Jackson, right tackle Adam Miller, linebacker Shane Heatherly and backup offensive lineman Dustin Tate are the last holdovers from the Rodney Allison coaching era.

In 2008, while that quartet was redshirting, the Mocs went 1-11. It was a low point for the program, but with a win over the Phoenix, the 2012 senior class can finish with 23 career wins -- the most since the 1986 seniors and the seventh highest total in school history.

"Shoot, you look at the four guys [redshirt seniors] we've got ... and those guys lived through it and saw it," said coach Russ Huesman, who is 22-21 in his four seasons at UTC. "They've been a big part of why we've gotten better and gotten to this point.

"I'm sure they're probably very, very disappointed [that UTC was knocked out of the SoCon title chase], but they're great kids. They hung in there and did things the right way."

Senior Josh Williams did things the right way from the start, which is why he started the last nine games of his freshman season, set a freshman record with seven sacks and was named second-team All-SoCon. Williams was UTC's all-time sack leader by the end of his junior season, and that mark is at 23.5 entering Saturday's finale.

A preseason All-American, Williams statistically has had a quiet senior season with just two sacks and five tackles for loss. But he's been disruptive, which has helped UTC's other end, Davis Tull, get 10 sacks and 16.5 tackles for loss, and hopes to be one more time against a pass-happy Elon team that has allowed 28 sacks this season.

"We love running and feeling the wind in our hair," said Williams, referring to chasing after the quarterback. "I definitely want a win and I'd love to get a couple more sacks."

Along with the seven seniors, six redshirt juniors also will wrap up their careers Saturday.

Extra points

Mocs linebacker Gunner Miller will miss his second straight game with a shoulder stinger, and wideout Ron Moore (hamstring) will not play. ... UTC's coaches will be wearing camouflage pants Saturday, Military Appreciation Day, and before the game the Fort Benning Jump Team will parachute into the stadium.

about John Frierson...

John Frierson is in his seventh year at the Times Free Press and seventh year covering University of Tennessee at Chattanooga athletics. The bulk of his time is spent covering Mocs football, but he also writes about women’s basketball and the big-picture issues and news involving the athletic department. A native of Athens, Ga., John grew up a few hundred yards from the University of Georgia campus. Instead of becoming a Bulldog he attended Ole ...

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