JACKSONVILLE, Ala. -- University of Tennessee at Chattanooga defensive tackle Derrick Lott was looking forward to getting his hands on Jacksonville State running back Washaun Ealey on Saturday.
The two Georgia transfers went at each other a few times during practices in Athens, Ga., before Ealey left in 2011 and Lott this spring. Lott said Ealey had contacted him recently -- perhaps the initial stages of smack talk -- about the upcoming game at JSU Stadium. But Ealey never took the field.
Ealey was arrested Wednesday on drug charges and was suspended for one game.
"I had to go against him a couple of times, and I figured it would be the same today and I was ready for the game," Lott said. "When I found out he wasn't playing, I was kind of disappointed."
When Lott decided to transfer to UTC this spring, after his sophomore season at Georgia, he talked to Ealey about Jacksonville State and playing in the Football Championship Subdivision.
Lott took a visit to JSU -- his other connection to the program was former running back Calvin Middleton, with whom he played at North Cobb (Ga.) High School -- but he chose UTC.
"And it was a great choice," he said.
In his first game with the Mocs last week at South Florida, and his first career start after getting little playing time with the Bulldogs, Lott recovered a fumble and had three tackles.
"It was a good experience and I'm glad to be here, glad to be playing," he said Thursday after the Mocs completed their final practice before Saturday's game.
Lott had four tackles Saturday, including a sack.
Saturday's game marked the end of the UTC-JSU series, at least for now. This was the eighth meeting since 2004, when the series resumed after a 21-year break, and there are no games scheduled beyond this season. UTC's FCS nonconference opponents in the coming years will include UT-Martin, Austin Peay and Georgia State.
Gamecocks coach Jack Crowe said he was disappointed to see the series end.
"I've been here going on 13 years, and my job here and my legacy is improving the brand of this football program," he said. "And what strengthens the brand of the football program as much as anything is having rivals."
The Gamecocks won six of the eight games after the series was resumed in 2004, including a dramatic 21-17 come-from-behind win in 2010, UTC's last visit to JSU Stadium. The Mocs lead the series 26-11.
UTC and JSU moved the ball very effectively on the ground. The Mocs finished with 241 yards rushing and the Gamecocks had 216 and two 100-yard rushers in DaMarcus James (120) and Troymaine Pope (100).
Jacksonville State's duo each averaged more than 7 yards per carry and broke through a lot of arm tackles.
"They had two good backs ... and we should have gotten them down better," linebacker Gunner Miller said.
Jacob Huesman's 166 yards rushing is the second most by a Mocs quarterback in school history. Keon Williams was also busy with 19 carries for 51 yards, plus the game-tying two-point conversion.
Mocs cornerback Chaz Moore gave UTC a boost in the return game. He had a 42-yarder that set up UTC's first touchdown and a 48-yard return that led to another touchdown. ... Tommy Hudson had seven catches for 34 yards and Ron Moore had four for 55. ... Safety D.J. Key led UTC with 10 tackles, while linebacker Rashad Smith had a game-high 15 for JSU.
Contact John Frierson at email@example.com or 423-757-6268. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/mocsbeatCTFP.
John Frierson is in his fifth year at the Times Free Press and fifth 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 ...