Friday, April 18, 2014 · 1:31 a.m.

UTC year in review: Offensive grades

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Quarterback Jacob Huesman (14) and tight end Faysal Shafaat (88) celebrate after hooking up for a touchdown pass. (Photo: Billy Weeks)

Chattanooga’s historic 8-4 campaign came to an abrupt end last month. UTC had its chances to settle it on the field, specifically the team’s Week 12 trip to Samford, but it ultimately came down to a selection committee, which decided the Mocs weren’t worthy of one of 13 at-large bids to the FCS playoffs. 

Now that we’ve had a little time to digest the season, here’s a position-by-position look at how Chattanooga’s offense performed on the field this year:

Quarterbacks: B+

Chattanooga quarterback Jacob Huesman (Photo: Billy Weeks)

Unlike in 2012, there was no controversy surrounding the quarterback position. Sophomore Jacob Huesman entered the season as the unquestioned starter, and that remained the case throughout the year. And while Huesman’s numbers dipped a bit from his SoCon All-Freshman campaign a season ago, but the emergence of the Mocs’ running game had a lot to do with that. Still, Huesman, the Southern Conference Offensive Player of the Year, accounted for nearly 60 percent of the team’s offensive production and racked up 25 total touchdowns. The 6-foot-1, 215-pounder eclipsed the century mark through the air and on the ground in back-to-back wins over Appalachian State and Wofford. The following week, Huesman, playing on a hurt knee, threw for a season-high 265 yards in Chattanooga’s 17-14 overtime loss at Samford. Junior Terrell Robinson played some quarterback, basically serving as a change-of-pace QB for UTC’s offense, but he rarely attempted to throw it. That is until the team’s regular-season finale at Alabama, which Huesman missed with a knee injury. Robinson completed 10 of 15 pass attempts for 82 yards against the third-ranked Crimson Tide (then ranked No. 1), while running 12 times for 37 yards in the 49-0 blowout. Like the rest of team’s offense, with the exception of some losses along the offensive line, the Mocs will be set at QB for at least the next two seasons. 

QB Statistical leaders:

Jacob Huesman: 164 of 240 passing, 1,637 yards, 16 TDs, 5 INTs; 176 carries, 894 yards (5.1 ypc), 9 TDs 

Terrell Robinson: 14 of 19 passing, 121 yards, INT; 27 carries, 143 yards 

 

Running backs: A

Chattanooga junior Keon Williams (Photo: Dale Rutemeyer)

Perhaps no other position group benefited more from the hiring of first-year offensive coordinator Jeff Durden than Chattanooga’s running backs. After struggling to just 744 yards a season ago, the unit emerged as a strength for the Mocs in 2013. Junior Keon Williams returned to, then surpassed, his freshman-year form, racking up 687 yards and nine touchdowns before suffering a season-ending ankle injury against The Citadel. Jacob Huesman’s rushing load increased after Williams went down, but junior Marquis Green, sophomore Kendrix Huitt and freshman Derrick Craine helped pick up the slack as well. Green, who piled up 684 all-purpose yards and 4 TDs, was exceptional in spurts. He hauled in three catches for season-high 87 yards and a pair of scores in UTC’s Week 6 win over Western Carolina, and the 5-foot-7, 175-pound speedster racked a season-best 85 yards rushing against The Citadel. True freshman Derrick Craine turned out to be a pleasant surprise for the Mocs, too, piling up nearly 200 yards and two TDs on the season. Sophomore Kendrix Huitt took a bit of a step back this season, but seemed to return to form later in the year. 

RB statistical leaders:

Keon Williams: 116 carries, 687 yards (5.1 ypc), 9 TDs

Marquis Green: 69 carries, 282 yards (4.1 ypc), 1 TDs; 31 catches, 284 yards, 3 TDs

Derrick Craine: 44 carries, 201 yards (4.5 ypc), 2 TDs

Kendrix Huitt: 55 carries, 184 yards (3.3 ypc), 3 TDs

Taharin Tyson: 7 carries, 44 yards (6.3 ypc) 

 

Wide receivers/tight ends: B-

Chattanooga junior Tommy Hudson. (Photo: Billy Weeks)

While Chattanooga’s backfield made a huge leap in 2013, the team’s receiving corps left something to be desired, and the unit’s numbers—or lack thereof—corroborate that assertion. The Mocs were exceptional at completing short, perimeter passes and squeezing every possible yard out of them, but picking up large chunks of yardage through the air is where they came up short. UTC hit a couple of home runs, but the lack of a downfield passing game was one of the offense’s few weak spots. Tight end Faysal Shafaat, a first-team All-Southern Conference selection, led the group with 322 yards and six touchdowns, but the 6-foot-5, 250-pound junior trailed off a bit after snagging four TD receptions in the first two weeks. Robinson, on the other hand, never really got going. After leading the team with 489 yards and 5 TDs a season ago, the 6-foot-3, 200-pounder didn’t come close to duplicating those numbers in 2013. Junior Tommy Hudson was probably the most consistent of the bunch, but still finished with just 261 yards receiving. After dazzling the coaching staff in fall camp, redshirt freshman C.J. Board had a rather quiet year, catching just 23 balls for 213 yards. Like Craine, true freshman receiver Xavier Borishade made some big contributions in his first season, including a pair of TD grabs from 33 and 29 yards out. 

WR/TE statistical leaders:

*Faysal Shafaat: 35 catches, 322 yards, 6 TDs

Tommy Hudson: 28 catches, 261 yards, TD

Terrell Robinson: 27 catches, 263 yards, 2 TDs

C.J. Board: 23 catches, 213 yards

Xavier Borishade: 9 catches, 153 yards, 2 TDs

*Troy Dye: 5 catches, 57 yards, TD 

 

Offensive line: B+

Chattanooga improved by leaps and bounds in the running game, and while the running backs had a lot to do with that, the team’s offensive line shouldn’t be overlooked. As a team, the Mocs finished fourth in the SoCon in rushing offense (212.4 ypg); quite an accomplishment considering the three teams in front of them—Georgia Southern, The Citadel and Wofford—each employed a triple-option offensive attack. The unit did allow a dozen sacks is the passing game, but that number is a bit deceptive. Nearly half of those occurred in the team’s loss at Samford, with the usually versatile Huesman limping around with an injured Posterior Cruciate Ligament. Seniors Kevin Revis and Patrick Sutton will be sorely missed, but there’s plenty of reason for optimism in the future. Redshirt freshman Corey Levin, a SoCon All-Freshman selection, had an outstanding season at left tackle. He still has three years of eligibility remaining, while sophomore Synjen Herren, another crucial piece of front, has two. 

Michael Murphy covers UTC athletics for Nooga.com. Follow him on Twitter @MichaelNooga.

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