published Saturday, November 2nd, 2013

Turnovers key in recent UTC losses to App State

UTC linebacker Wes Dothard makes a tackle against Appalachian State in 2012.
UTC linebacker Wes Dothard makes a tackle against Appalachian State in 2012.
Photo by Staff File Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football team has lost eight straight games to Appalachian State, the Mocs' opponent this afternoon at Kidd Brewer Stadium in Boone, N.C. Fifth-year Mocs coach Russ Huesman is 0-for-4 against the Mountaineers, who have a 26-10 advantage in the series.

Here's a brief look at the past four losses:

2009 -- App State 35, UTC 20: The seventh-ranked Mountaineers jumped on the Mocs early and led 21-0 after the first quarter. The Mocs' first two possessions ended in interceptions, but they didn't crumble. UTC outscored ASU 17-0 in the second and third quarters, followed by a field goal early in the fourth to make it 21-20.

The wheels fell off after that as App State scored, intercepted another B.J. Coleman pass and scored again.

2010 -- App State 42, UTC 41: Still one of the most exciting games of the Huesman era, and probably the Mocs' best start to a game. UTC was rolling from the beginning and led 28-7 at halftime. It would have been 31-7 but UTC missed three extra points, which loomed very large late.

It was 35-14 a few seconds into the fourth quarter, when ASU quickly scored three touchdowns to tie the game at 35. UTC fumbled on three of four possessions as the Mountaineers rallied. ASU quarterback DeAndre Presley completed a pass, the receiver fumbled and Presley scrambled 29 yards for the go-ahead touchdown.

Coleman led the Mocs down the field late and ran for a 3-yard touchdown to make it 42-41. Huesman, seeing that UTC wasn't stopping ASU's offense, opted to go for the two-point conversion and the win, but it came up empty.

2011 -- App State 14, UTC 12: The Mocs held a good Mountaineers offense to 284 yards and zero points, one of the best defensive performances of the Huesman era. But turnovers again proved costly.

Leading 6-0 late in the third quarter, UTC lined up to attempt a short field goal. But the snap somehow went off the right guard's leg and was recovered and returned for a 73-yard ASU touchdown. On UTC's next possession, the Mountaineers picked off a pass and returned it 46 yards for a score.

UTC scored on its next drive, but the two-point attempt failed and the Mocs were never in scoring position again.

2012 -- App State 34, UTC 17: UTC started strong and led 10-0 after the first quarter. The game was 10-all entering the fourth quarter, which the Mountaineers dominated, scoring 24 consecutive points to pull away for good. UTC turned the ball over three times in the fourth quarter.

2013 -- What has to happen today for the Mocs to end the losing streak? In the past four games against Appalachian State, UTC has turned the ball over 11 times.

The Mocs rallied to beat The Citadel last week by not turning the ball over, by committing just one penalty and by executing on special teams. A repeat performance in all three areas will go a long way toward helping UTC win in Boone for the first time since 1983.

Contact John Frierson at jfrierson@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6268. Follow him at twitter.com/MocsBeat.

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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