According to quarterback Jacob Huesman, last week’s loss to No. 15 Georgia Southern should be irrelevant going forward. For some reason, it’s not, though.
“It doesn’t matter if we’re playing the New England Patriots or we’re playing Soddy-Daisy High School,” said Huesman, who ran for a season-high 148 yards at GSU. “We approach it the same way.”
In reality, though, that demoralizing 23-21 loss — UTC’s third straight single-digit setback to the Eagles — is still very much on his mind. That’s unfortunate for Chattanooga’s upcoming opponent, Western Carolina (1-3, 0-2 SoCon), which visits Finley Stadium on Saturday (6 p.m. ET).
“I think that’s how you’re supposed to look at it, but after a loss like that, we’re a little upset and want to play angry,” Huesman said. “We want to play with a chip on our shoulder.”
Hypothetically speaking, if the Mocs had won that physical, back-and-forth battle in Statesboro, Ga., there might be a chance they'd overlook the lowly Catamounts, who haven't defeated a Division I opponent since 2010 — a span of 30 total games.
As it is, though, that’s not going to happen.
“It’s a lot easier [to get focused] after a loss than it is after win,” UTC head coach Russ Huesman said. “If they don’t have a sick feeling in their stomachs after that loss ... No, they’re excited to play and excited to practice.”
Added sophomore defensive lineman Danny Ring, “I saw some of our players after the game, and it really hit hard. It really did hurt us. We’re going to try to move past it, but I also don’t think we should forget; just that gut feeling we had after the game; we never want to feel that again.”
• Chattanooga was penalized 11 times for 75 yards in Saturday’s loss, but surprisingly, Russ Huesman wasn’t too concerned with the majority of those flags. Most of them — especially the illegal formation penalties — he considered ticky-tac. He also didn’t necessarily agree with the personal fouls called on linebacker Muhasibi Wakeel and offensive lineman Patrick Sutton, saying neither was vicious. “We’ll get it cleaned up as long as we keep working and playing like we have been,” Huesman said.
• The Mocs have posted three straight games with at least 239 rushing yards for the first time since 1980. Chattanooga was outgained on the ground by GSU 376-239, but it’s yard-per-carry average (7.2) was more than a yard higher than that of the triple-option running Eagles (6.1).
• Defensive tackle Derrick Lott’s X-ray came back negative, but the 6-foot-4, 303-pound senior will undergo an MRI on his injured elbow this afternoon.
• Junior offensive lineman Synjen Herren, who suffered a shoulder injury Saturday, is questionable for Saturday’s game.
Michael Murphy covers UTC athletics for Nooga.com. Follow him on Twitter @MichaelNooga.
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