Playing with an injury riddled defense that was practically held together with duct tape, Chattanooga pulled off its best football win in ages Saturday at Kidd Brewer Stadium.
Linebacker Nakevion Leslie intercepted a late Kameron Bryant pass and returned it 28 yards for the winning touchdown in the Mocs’ 35-28 defeat of Appalachian State, stunning the crowd of 18,991.
UTC hadn’t won in Boone, N.C., since 1983 a nd never had won five straight Southern Conference games. The Mocs (72, 5-1 Southern) achieved bot h i n t hei r fi na l ga me against Appalachian State (2-7, 2-4), which is joining the Sun Belt after this year. A nd t hey took over fi rst place in the SoCon after Samford lost to The Citadel: Samford and idle Wofford each is 4-1 in league play.
“The best win I think I’ve ever been involved in my life,” said UTC coach Russ Huesman, who was the defensive coordinator for a national championship at Richmond in 2008.
It was so special, Huesman said, because the Mocs overcame a tremendous defensive challenge. Against App State’s talentheav y offense , t hey lost starting linebacker Gunner Miller and backups Muhasibi Wakeel and A.J. Hampton during the game.
Backup safety C.J.Murrell, who hadn’t practiced at linebacker once all season, was on the field there for UTC’s last few possessions.
“What we had to go through during the course of that game, just to get through it … it was unbelievable,” Huesman said.
UTC already was playing without two offensive starters, running back Keon Williams and wideout Tommy Hudson. Despite their absences, UTC rushed for 228 yards and had 355 yards of total offense.
Quarterback Jacob Huesman led the Mocs with 132 rushing yards and was 13for-19 passing for 127 yards. He ran for a 7-yard score and threw touchdown passes of 31 yards (to Terrell Robinson) and 29 (to Xavier Borishade).
“It feels unreal,” Jacob Huesman said of the win.”It hasn’t even hit me yet.”