The Mocs did what they were supposed to do Saturday, claiming a 42-10 win over an inferior Austin Peay squad.
Here are some position-by-position grades:
Aside from an ill-advised pass late in the first half, which resulted in an interception, quarterback Jacob Huesman delivered another solid performance. The 6-foot-1, 215-pounder completed 15-of-20 pass attempts for 142 yards, and he connected with teammate Terrell Robinson on a second-quarter touchdown pass from 8 yards out. He did a nice job of spreading the ball around, too, completing at least two passes to four different receivers.
Running backs: A
It seems the light has finally clicked on for running back Keon Williams. He’s big, strong and fast, and now he’s starting to run like it. Williams eclipsed the century mark for the second straight week Saturday against Austin Peay, racking up 106 yards and a career-high three touchdowns. He refused to be taken down by arm tackles and delivered plenty of punishment to would-be tacklers. Change-of-pace back Marquis Green also found the end zone in the win, scoring the game’s opening points on a 9-yard touchdown run, while sophomore Kendrix Huitt got his first taste of action in 2013. The 5-foot-9, 200-pounder ran nine times for 47 yards in the final quarter.
Wide receivers/tight ends: B+
Terrell Robinson probably could have finished with a more impressive stat line if the Mocs had their foot on the gas for four quarters, but the versatile junior looked good Saturday, hauling in a team-high six receptions for 53 yards and a touchdown. Tight end Faysal Shafaat had a quiet night considering his first two games this season, snagging three passes for 48 yards. Tight end Troy Dye also made an impact, hauling in his first and second receptions of the season. His first catch — a 16-yard reception — almost went for a score, but the 6-foot-3, 245-pound sophomore was brought down at the 1-yard line.
Defensive line: B+
Austin Peay’s Tim Phillips was just about the only thing working for the Governors in the loss, but the senior transfer had to work for every yard he gained — 78 on 18 carries. The pass rush wasn’t overpowering — junior Toyvian Brand recorded his first career sack — but the D-line got enough push to make things uncomfortable for quarterbacks Andrew Spivey and Jacob Sexton. Derrick Lott sat out the entire second half after drawing a personal foul call right before the half. But even without the 300-pound tackle, APSU only gained 88 yards in the final two quarters.
Fifth-year senior Gunner Miller didn’t record a single tackle Saturday, but he probably delivered the play of the game, hauling in his fourth career interception and returning it 20 yards for a touchdown just before the break to spot UTC a 35-7 halftime advantage. Junior Muhasibi Wakeel finished with a team-leading seven tackles, sophomore A.J. Hampon had five — one for loss — and senior Wes Dothard recorded four stops. The stat lines probably didn’t woo anyone, but the team continued to showcase its depth at the position.
The Governors had a tough time throwing the ball Saturday, especially down the field. Aside from Spivey’s 23-yard completion on fourth-and-eight — which set up the team’s first score — APSU had to dink and dunk its way to yardage. Spivey and Sexton finished with a combined 94 yards through the air on 12-of-24 passing, and the Mocs’ defensive backfield was a big reason for the modest numbers. Senior cornerback Kadeem Wise recorded a couple of pass breakups, while senior corner Chaz Moore, senior safety D.J. Key and freshman corner Will Johnson were all active in the secondary. Miller’s pick-6 was actually a gift from Key, who dislodged the ball from the intended receiver, right to the waiting arms of Miller.
Special teams: B+
Nick Pollard has still yet to attempt a field goal this season, but the junior has continued to get the job done in the punting and kickoff games. He averaged 44 yards on his three punts Saturday, landing one inside the 20-yard line, while sending two of his four kickoffs into the end zone for touchbacks. Tommy Hudson had a 15-yard punt return in the blowout victory, and Chaz Moore averaged over 25 yards on his three kick returns.
The Mocs committed a few more penalties than usual — five for 49 yards — but those few mental mistakes didn’t affect the outcome in this one. Fifteen of those yards came on Lott’s ill-advised personal foul, but the coaching staff made him pay for that by sitting and watching for the final two quarters. Those miscues need to be cleaned up, but there’s plenty of time to do so before the UTC heads to No. 10 Georgia Southern for the squad’s Southern Conference opener on Sept. 28.
Michael Murphy covers UTC athletics for Nooga.com. Follow him on Twitter @MichaelNooga.
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