SPARTANBURG – The Wofford football team needed overtime to defeat Chattanooga 16-13 on Saturday afternoon at Gibbs Stadium. With the win, the Terriers earned a share of the Southern Conference Championship for the fourth time, and third in the last five seasons.
The Terriers are 8-2 on the season and 6-2 in the SoCon. Chattanooga is 5-5 overall and 4-3 in conference play. For Wofford, Eric Breitenstein had 132 yards on 28 carries and scored the game-winner in overtime. He also set the school record for career rushing in the first quarter. James Lawson was 4-of-5 passing and ran for 31 yards in his first career start at quarterback. For the Mocs, Jacob Huesman ran for 68 yards and was 22-of-31 passing for 229 yards.
“Defensively that was another great game,” said head coach Mike Ayers. “They are an unbelievable defense, but offensively we did what we had to do to win the game. The best thing was not turning the ball over and playing great defense. The kicking game answered the call every time today. In overtime, we decided we were going to take it right at them. We felt that the offensive line could create a crease and James was able to get under it which was huge on third down. Then it was going to number 7.”
The Mocs had the ball first and went three-and-out. Wofford then used a 41-yard run by Eric Breitenstein to set up a 38-yard field goal by Kasey Redfern and a 3-0 lead with 7:32 on the clock. The run by Breitenstein allowed him to break the school record for career rushing yards.
Chattanooga gained one first down before punting back to the Terriers. Wofford then went on a 16-play drive that consumed over seven minutes to go 75 yards. Donovan Johnson capped the drive with a nine-yard touchdown to give the Terriers a 10-0 lead with 13:16 left in the second quarter.
On the next drive by the Mocs, they picked up four first downs before kicking a 26-yard field goal to make it a 10-3 game with 7:57 left in the second quarter. Wofford gained one first down before punting. Chattanooga then was stopped after gaining one first down and punted. The Terriers had the ball back with 2:20 left in the first half. Wofford was only able to again one first down before punting back with 54 seconds on the clock. The Mocs had the ball when the clock expired.
To open the second half, Wofford gained one first down before punting. Chattanooga drove down the field with five first downs. A 29-yard field goal attempt by Nick Pollard was wide right, giving the ball back to the Terriers. Wofford went three-and-out and punted. Chattanooga was able to move across midfield, but was forced to punt. The Terriers fumbled and it was recovered by Eric Breitenstein, however Wofford punted and the Mocs took over with 13:13 left in the fourth quarter.
The Mocs moved across midfield after three first downs. Three more first downs put the ball inside the five-yard line. Kendrix Huitt scored from one-yard out and the extra point was good to tie the game at 10 with 2:18 left in the fourth quarter. After a 28 yard kickoff return by Brad Nocek, the Terriers moved to the Mocs’ 45-yard line before punting with sixteen seconds on the clock. Chattanooga took a knee and headed to overtime.
Wofford won the toss and went on defense. The Mocs gained two first downs, but were stopped at the nine-yard line. Nick Pollard hit a 27-yard field goal to take a 13-10 lead. Wofford then gained a first down, but were facing third-and-four. James Lawson kept the ball and ran seven yards for the first down. From the two yard line, Eric Breitenstein took it into the end zone for the 16-13 victory.
Wofford had 249 total yards, with 215 on the ground. Chattanooga had 337 total yards, 234 of which were passing. Chattanooga had 20 first downs to 16 for Wofford. Wofford was 7-of-16 on third downs. Chattanooga was 11-of-18 on third down. Wofford had one penalty, while Chattanooga had five. Chattanooga had a 31:24 to 28:36 time of possession advantage.
Next week, the Terriers play the final game of the 2012 season at South Carolina. The game will begin at 1:00 p.m. and is available on a pay-per-view basis.
Wofford vs. Chattanooga Post-Game Notes
The Chattanooga game marked the final home game for 24 Wofford seniors. They were recognized on the field prior to the start of the contest. The group includes: TE Kenny Barnes, DE Zach Bobb, S Kendall Bratcher, FB Eric Breitenstein, RB Cody Burris, OL Calvin Cantrell, LB Anthony Carden, S Josh Davis, TE Josh Hillard, OL Josef Grommer, LB Phillip LeGrande, OL Jake Miles, DE Zach Murray, LB Mike Niam, RB Brad Nocek, PK Christian Reed, DL Josh Roseborough, CB Stephon Shelton, WR Thomas Simmons, DE Allen Smith, CB C.J. Turner, OL T.J. White, CB Blake Wylie, RB Bryan Youman. In addition student athletic trainers Jenny Welter and Komal Patel were recognized.
On Eric Breitenstein’s second carry of the game, he went for 41-yards to break the school’s all-time rushing record. He stands at 5,223 career rushing yards, passing Shawn Graves at 5,128 yards in the school record book.
Eric Breitenstein marked his 29th career 100+ rushing game with 132 yards on 28 carries. He is third in SoCon history in 100+ rushing games.
Christian Reed (quad) and Michael Weimer (knee) missed the game due to injuries. Players injured in the game include Anthony Carden (arm).
Game captains were the 2012 senior class, led by Eric Breitenstein, Mike Niam and Philip LeGrande.
Attendance was 8,112 at Gibbs Stadium.