CHATTANOOGA, TENN. -- Jacon Huesman ran for 73 yards and two touchdowns and Chattanooga used solid defensive play to beat Furman, 31-9, in Southern Conference football action Saturday evening in Finley Stadium.
The win by Chattanooga (4-2, 2-1 SoCon) halted the Mocs' nine-game home losing skid to Furman (2-4, 1-2 SoCon) and marked UTC's first win over the Paladins in nine games at Finley Stadium dating back to 1997.
Huesman scored on touchdown runs of 12 and 37 yards and finished with 73 yards rushing. The sophomore signal caller also completed 13-of-17 passes for 84 yards for the Mocs, who finished with 302 yards total offense.
Furman, which was kept out of the end zone for the first time in a game since 2003, managed only 189 yards total offense. Paladin freshman quarterback Duncan Fletcher, making just the second start of his career, completed 8-of-17 passes for only 62 yards and an interception. He was sacked six times.
The Paladins were paced offensively by Ray Early, who fashioned the first three field performance of his career with connections from 50, 31, and 43 yards, and by freshman Marcus Anderson with 11 rushes for 72 yards. Linebackers Carl Rider and T.J. Warren posted career high tackle performances, notching 16 and 11 stops, respectively, and Rider collected two of Furman's four sacks.
UTC took the opening kickoff and covered 75 yards in 11 plays to grab the early lead on Huseman's 12-yard run off the left side.
Furman kept the Mocs out of the end zone on their next possession, taking over on downs at the Paladin 1-yard line, but UTC got the ball back following a short punt and quickly moved 36 yards for its next score. A 3-yard scoring run by Kendrix Huitt and extra point put the Mocs up 14-0 two minutes into the second quarter.
Furman's best opportunity to make it a game came in the second quarter when the Paladins claimed three UTC turnovers but could only generate six points off the miscues.
An Austin Williams interception at Furman 46 led to 50-yard Ray Early field goal that got the Paladins on the board.
On the ensuing kickoff Warren pounced on a fumble by UTC's Chaz Moore at the Chattanooga 41. From there the Paladins moved to the Chattanooga 9 before settling for Early's second field goal of the contest, a 31-yard effort that sliced the lead to 14-6 with 2:01 to go.
Furman appeared primed to cut further into Chattanooga's lead after Jordan Hawkins sacked Huseman and forced a fumble that was recovered by Ira McCune at the UTC 35 with a minute remaining in the half. A 12-yard pass from Fletcher to Ryan Culbreath gave the Paladins a first down at the 23, but a penalty, two sacks, and a lost fumble on ended the threat.
Chattanooga took control of the contest in the third quarter, scoring on its first two possessions to extend its lead to 24-6.
A Huesman option keeper around left end ended 37 yards later in the end zone, finishing a nine-play, 82-yard drive. The Mocs then capitalized on a blocked punt by A,J, Hampton at the Furman 20 to set up a Nick Pollard 35-yard field goal.
Early's career high third field goal of the game, a 43-yard boot with 2:05 left in the third quarter, accounted for the Paladins' final points.
Chattanooga closed the game's scoring with a short five-play, 14-yard touchdown drive set up by a Kadeem Wise interception and 31-yard return to the Paladin 14.