The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football team is back on the road this week, wrapping up the regular season with a trip to No. 1 Alabama on Saturday, Nov. 23. Kickoff is set for 2:00 p.m. (E.S.T.) in Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
The Southern Conference Champion Mocs are 8-3 overall and 6-2 in league play. It is the most league wins for UTC since joining the SoCon in 1977 and the most overall victories since 1980. Chattanooga has secured at least a share of its first SoCon title since 1984, which was the only trip to the FCS Playoffs in school history. The Mocs are No. 21 in the FCS Coaches Poll and No. 23 in The Sports Network Top-25 this week.
Ranked No. 21 in the nation, UTC sits on the bubble for an at-large berth to the 24-team FCS Playoffs. The Mocs can still get the SoCon automatic bid if Elon (2-9, 1-6 SoCon) wins at Samford (7-4, 5-2 SoCon) on Saturday.
Tiebreakers give Furman (6-5, 5-2 SoCon) the automatic bid if there is a three way tie between UTC, Samford and the Paladins. Samford holds the head-to-head tiebreaker over UTC if they are the only two teams, while the Mocs hold it against Furman. The Paladins host Wofford (5-5, 4-3 SoCon) on Saturday at Noon while Samford and Elon kick at 3:00 p.m. The FCS Playoff Selection Show airs on Sunday, Nov. 24, at 11:30 a.m. on ESPNU.
Alabama is the defending BCS National Champion, sitting at 10-0 on the season. The Crimson Tide also lead the Southeastern Conference with a 7-0 mark in league play.
MOCS SPORTS NETWORK
The Mocs Sports Network broadcasts the game on ESPN Radio 105.1 The Zone in Chattanooga. Jim Reynolds is in his 34th year as the play-by-play Voice of the Mocs. Todd Agne has provided the color commentary for the past 17 years, while Will Poindexter is back as the sideline reporter. A free audio stream of the game is available through MocsVision on GoMocs.com.
AVAILABLE ON PAY-PER-VIEW
The game will also broadcast on television on a pay-per-view basis. Check with your local provider for availability. Chris Stewart will serve as the play-by-play announcer, with Tyler Watts at his side as the color analyst. The two will be joined by sideline reporter Tom Roberts.
AVAILABLE ON ESPN3, GAMEPLAN & REAIR ON CSS
Fans not in the pay-per-view area can get the game on ESPN3 and ESPN Gameplan. It will also reair on CSS on Sunday, Nov. 24, at 9:00 p.m.
IT’S ALL IN THE NAME
On first reference, it is acceptable to refer to us as the “University of Tennessee at Chattanooga”. After that, we prefer to be called “Chattanooga” or “UTC.” Our nickname is “Mocs.”
NOTES TO KNOW ABOUT THE MOCS
• The Mocs lead the SoCon in total defense (319.3) and scoring defense (17.8). They are 11th and sixth, nationally, in those respective categories.
• Chattanooga also leads the league and is second in the FCS in passing defense (148.6).
• UTC leads the SoCon and is No. 23 in the nation in pass efficiency defense (115.66).
• The Mocs are allowing just 16.5 first downs per game. That leads the SoCon and is 17th nationally.
• Junior DE Davis Tull is tied for the SoCon lead and is 15th in the FCS with 9.0 sacks ... he set the Mocs all-time sack record (26.5) at Elon on Oct. 19.
• UTC leads the SoCon lead with 11 interceptions.
• The Mocs are 7-2 when allowing less than 24 points this season ... UTC is 27-6 in the Huesman era (since 2009) when allowing 24 points or less.
• UTC has held five opponents to less than 300 yards of total offense this season, five in 2012 and six in 2011...UTC has held at least four opponents to less than 300 yards in each of Russ Huesman’s five seasons...Prior to his arrival in 2009, the last time Chattanooga held four opponents to under 300 yards in a season was 2000.
• The Mocs are currently No. 18 in the FCS and No. 4 in the SoCon in rushing at 223.3 yards per game.
• UTC is No. 18 in the nation and No. 3 in the SoCon in Pass Efficiency (144.94).
• Chattanooga is second in the SoCon and is No. 18 in the country in 3rd-down conversion percentage (67/147 - 45.6%).
• Sophomore QB Jacob Huesman is second in the league and is No. 5 in the country in completion % (68.3%) ... he also leads the SoCon in points responsible for (16 passing TDs, 9 rushing TDs).
• The Mocs have rushed for over 2,000 yards for the first time since 2005 (2,456) and just the second time since 1992. The school record for rushing yards in a season is 3,332 in 1977.
• Senior Chaz Moore is No. 19 in the nation in KOR average (29.1).
• Junior Tommy Hudson is second in the SoCon and No. 24 in the nation with a 9.1 yard punt return average.
• Junior Nick Pollard is handling both the punting and place-kicking duties this season. He is 5-9 on field goals and averages 40.7 yards per punt. Of his 44 punts, 21 have been downed inside the 20, 12 of those inside the 10 and seven of those inside the five.
• UTC has posted its fourth winning season in the last five years. The last time the Mocs had four winning seasons in five years was 1983-87.
• UTC has five on various preseason All-American teams, including senior linebacker Wes Dothard, senior defensive back D.J. Key, senior defensive back Kadeem Wise, junior defensive end Davis Tull and junior tight end Faysal Shafaat.
• UTC is picked to finish third in the SoCon by the league’s coaches, the highest preseason prediction for the Mocs since 1991.
• Chattanooga had nine players named to the preseason All-SoCon teams, including five on the first team defense (Dothard, Key, Wise, Tull and senior defensive lineman Derrick Lott).
NOTES TO KNOW ABOUT ALABAMA
• Alabama remained undefeated after a 20-7 win at Mississippi State last week, reaching the 10-win milestone for the sixth consecutive season.
• Alabama leads the nation in scoring defense, allowing just 10.2 ppg.
• The Crimson Tide is also fifth in the country in total defense at 272.8 yards per game allowed.
• Alabama is tied for third in the nation in rushing defense (91.1) and ninth in passing yards allowed (181.7).
• The Crimson Tide is also in the top-10 in the FBS in 4th down conversions (9th - 71.4%), 4th down conversion defense (4th - 25.0%), red zone defense (4th - 60.0%), net punting (2nd - 42.03), kickoff returns (10th - 25.64) and first down defense (3rd - 140).
• C.J. Mosley moved up to No. 7 on Alabama’s career list after collecting eight tackles against the Bulldogs.
• QB AJ McCarron surpassed John Parker Wilson (8,099 yards from 2005-08) for the most yards of total offense in a career during the matchup against MSU.
• McCarron is No. 13 in the FBS in completion percentage at 67.8%.
NOTES TO KNOW ABOUT THE ALABAMA SERIES
• This is the 12th meeting between these two teams, dating back to 1908.
• The Mocs have never beaten Alabama (0-11).
• UTC is 0-5 all-time in Bryant-Denny Stadium.
• These two teams have played three times since 1991, including a 53-7 game in Birmingham on Oct. 5, 1991, a 42-13 game in Birmingham on Sept. 3, 1994 and a 45-0 contest in Tuscaloosa on Nov. 21, 2009.
CHATTANOOGA VS. THE SEC
The Mocs are 4-113-3 all-time against current members of the Southeastern Conference. The last win was a 14-6 victory over Tennessee in Knoxville on Nov. 8, 1958. UTC has another win over the Vols in the record books - 5-0 on Dec. 2, 1905 - along with wins over Vanderbilt (13-6 - Nov. 10, 1945) and Ole Miss (31-6 - Nov. 29, 1945).
MOCS AGAINST BIG-TIME OPPONENTS
Like most FCS teams, Chattanooga takes on at least one FBS squad each year. However, the Mocs have faced some of the best in recent years. Here is a rundown of Chattanooga’s ranked FBS opponents since 2008:
No. 10 Nebraska won 40-7 on Sept. 2, 2011
No. 2 Auburn won 62-24 on Nov. 6, 2010 - eventual BCS Champion
No. 2 Alabama won 45-0 on Nov. 21, 2009 - eventual BCS Champion
Florida State won 46-7 on Sept. 13, 2008
No. 4 Oklahoma won 57-2 on Aug. 30, 2008
UTC has also played South Florida (L, 34-13 on 9/1/12) and Georgia State (W, 42-14 on 9/14/13) in recent FBS action.
CHATTANOOGA WINS VS. FBS TEAMS
UTC picked up its third win in program history over an FBS opponent on Sept. 7 with a 42-14 victory at Georgia State. Prior to that, the last time the Mocs defeated an FBS team was a 9-7 win over Southwestern Louisiana (Louisiana-Lafayette) on Sept. 1, 1984, in Chattanooga. The other win since the divisional split in 1998 was also over SW Louisiana, 38-14 on Sept. 17, 1983, in Lafayette, La.
MOCS AGAINST HEISMAN TROPHY WINNERS
UTC faced the eventual Heisman Trophy winner for three straight seasons from 2008-2010, including Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford (2008), Alabama’s Mark Ingram (2009) and Auburn’s Cam Newton (2010). The Mocs were one of only two teams to sack Newton three times in a game in 2010.
The Mocs played in front of the largest crowd in school history on their last trip to Tuscaloosa. 92,012 fans were on hand for Alabama’s 45-0 win over UTC on Nov. 21, 2009.
WINNING RECORDS BECOMING COMMON AT CHATTANOOGA
UTC’s 35-28 win at Appalachian State on Nov. 2 secured the Mocs fourth winning record in the last five years, all during the Russ Huesman era. UTC only had four winning seasons in the 23 years prior to Huesman’s arrival in 2009 (1986-2008).
UTC HAS ITS MOST LEAGUE WINS
The 20-10 win against No. 15 Wofford on Saturday gave Chattanooga its sixth win in SoCon action. The Mocs had not won six SoCon games in one season since joining the league in 1977.
FEW FLAGS FLYING
In the last four games, the Mocs have only had 10 total penalties. UTC is currently No. 3 in the nation for fewest penalties per game (3.73) and No. 6 in the FCS for fewest penalty yards (37.8).
MOCS GETTING IT DONE ON THE GROUND
UTC posted six straight games with at least 200 rushing yards between Georgia State and Elon. That run was snapped against The Citadel. Ironically, UTC had 197 rushing yards before they took a knee on three straight snaps to end the game. The Mocs were right back at it with 228 rushing yards at Appalachian State and 233 against Wofford. This is the first time since 1979 the Mocs have posted 200+ rushing yards in eight games. The last time UTC did it nine times in a season was 1977.
COACH HUESMAN CLIMBING THE COACHING RANKS
Coach Huesman is 31-24 in his five seasons with the Mocs. He just passed his former coach and Alabama alum, Bill Oliver (1980-83), for fourth on the Mocs all-time coaching win list. Oliver went 29-14-1 in four seasons as coach of the Mocs. Joe Morrison (1973-79) is third with a 44-29-4 record in seven seasons.
NOTES ON THE RANKINGS
This is the 12th week the Mocs have been ranked in the Russ Huesman era (since 1999). UTC is 4-7 when ranked in the top-25 since 2010.
MOCS DEFENSE IS A COLLECTIVE EFFORT
The Mocs have five defensive players on the preseason All-SoCon first team and four earned preseason All-American honors. UTC is currently leading the league in scoring defense (17.8 ppg), total defense (319.3 ypg) and pass defense (148.6). However, not one of UTC’s defenders is in the top 15 in the SoCon in tackles. Senior Wes Dothard is tied for 18th with 7.4 stops per game.
DOTHARD & KEY MOVING INTO THE DEFENSIVE RECORDS
Seniors Wes Dothard and D.J. Key both broke into the Mocs record book for career tackles at Appalachian State. Dothard currently has 295 career stops, eighth all-time at UTC. Key has totaled 283 in his career and is 10th.
DOTHARD TIED FOR MOST SOCON WEEKLY HONORS
Thanks to a 13-tackle effort at Elon on Oct. 19, senior Wes Dothard earned his fourth career SoCon Defensive Player of the Week award. That ties him with Junior Jackson (1986-89) for the most weekly defensive honors by a Moc from the league in school history.
Jacob Huesman is putting up some impressive numbers at quarterback this season. The sophomore captain is second in the SoCon and No. 5 in the nation with a 68.3 completion % (164-240). He is second in the league with a 143.5 pass efficiency rating. He leads the SoCon and is No. 27 in the nation in points responsible for with 16 TD passes and nine rushing scores. His 16 TD throws are tied for second in the SoCon. He is also third in the league in total offense (230.1), seventh in rushing (81.3) and fifth in passing (148.4).
Huesman is also starting to make a mark on the Mocs career lists. He has 29 touchdown passes and needs seven more to pass Mickey Brokas (1970-73) for No. 5 all-time at UTC. He is also 10th in career passing yards (3,349). He also topped 1,000 career rushing yards (1,798) against Georgia State.
TULL SETS UTC ALL-TIME SACK RECORD...NAMED SOCON PLAYER OF THE MONTH
After a statistically slow start to the season, junior defensive end Davis Tull has posted 7.0 sacks in the last six games. His one sack at Elon gave him 24.0 for his career, passing former teammate Josh Williams (2009-12) for the Mocs all-time record. Tull, the preseason SoCon Defensive Player of the Year and Buck Buchanan Award candidate, is currently tied for the SoCon lead and tied for 15th in the nation with 9.0 sacks on the year. He is also fourth in the nation with four forced fumbles.
Tull claimed the Southern Conference Defensive Player of the Month honor for October. Already the school’s career sack leader, had a phenomenal month leading the Mocs defense. He tallied 15 tackles, three forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. Those 15 stops included 4.5 sacks (24 yards lost) as he set the career sacks record (24.0) with one at Elon on October 19. He also forced a fumble on that play, aiding a 20-9 UTC road triumph. His best game during the month came in a 31-9 win over Furman on the 12th. He recorded 3.5 sacks (21 yards lost), forced two fumbles and recovered one en route to SoCon Defensive Player of the Week honors providing a happy Homecoming for alums.
Tull was also recently named to the CoSIDA Capital One Academic All-District team. He has a 3.52 g.p.a. as a Health & Human Performance major.
MOCS AMONG ACTIVE CAREER LEADERS IN THE FCS
There are a number of Mocs listed among the active career leaders in the FCS. Senior DB Kadeem Wise is sixth among active players in the FCS with 11 interceptions. Junior DL Davis Tull is fourth with eight forced fumbles, fifth in career sacks (26.5) and tied for fourth in TFLs per game (1.26). Senior LB Wes Dothard is fifth with seven forced fumbles and 11th with 7.09 tackles per game.
WILLIAMS COULD BE BACK IN THE LINEUP
Junior running back Keon Williams was having an outstanding season before suffering an ankle injury on the opening kickoff against The Citadel. He has twice been named the league’s offensive player of the week and is fourth in the league with 85.9 rushing yards per game and nine rushing TDs. He has five 100-yard games this season, and is third in the SoCon with 5.9 yards per carry. His averages are skewed after only playing in one play against The Citadel. He has missed the last three games, but could be back in the lineup against Alabama.
POLLARD CLIMBING SCORING LIST
Junior PK Nick Pollard is No. 4 on the Mocs all-time scoring list with 175 career points. He is also second all-time in career PATs with 103. He needs eight more to pass Matt Vick (1997-00) for the top spot.
Pollard took home conference and national awards for his play against No. 15 Wofford on Nov. 9. He was named the Southern Conference Special Teams Player of the Week and the College Football Performance Awards (CFPA) National Punter of the Week after helping the Mocs secure at least a tie for the SoCon title against the Terriers. He had a career-long 78-yard punt in the second quarter to highlight an excellent day on special teams. With the Mocs pinned on their own 13-yard line, Pollard nailed a punt over the Terrier returner’s head who chased the ball down to his own nine-yard line. Pollard went on to set a UTC single-game record with his 54.7-yard punting average on three kicks.
Pollard was also 2-3 on field goals in the game. He connected on a 29-yarder in the second quarter to put Chattanooga up 17-3. He missed from 45 yards right before the half, but came back with a career-long 42-yarder in the fourth quarter.
VIRGIN MAKING AN IMPACT AS A FRESHMAN
With three returning starters and two preseason All-Americans among the Mocs secondary, it is easy for a redshirt freshman to get lost in the shuffle of so much talent. However, Chattanooga frosh Dee Virgin has shined in his first season on the field. He is currently tied for second in the Southern Conference with nine passes defended, including to interceptions and seven pass breakups.
SHAFAAT HAVING ANOTHER SOLID SEASON
Junior TE Faysal Shafaat entered the 2013 campaign as a preseason All-American and preseason first team All SoCon pick. He is living up to that billing as the Mocs top receiver with 33 catches for a career-high 308 yards and six TDs. His six scores are third in the SoCon and also a career best.
INSIDE THE RED ZONE NUMBERS
The Mocs did not have a red zone stop on defense this season until the App. State game. UTC had two red zone stops at ASU, including Appalachian State’s final possession. They added another against Wofford in the fourth quarter. For the season, UTC has only allowed opponents inside their 20, 30 times. That is the second fewest in the SoCon. Of those 30 trips, only 15 have been TDs, which is the fewest red zone TDs allowed in the SoCon.
COACH HUESMAN AT A GLANCE
Russ Huesman is 31-24 in his five years at Chattanooga after being hired as the 22nd head coach at UTC on Dec. 22, 2008. A 1983 graduate of UTC and a former defensive back, Huesman guided Chattanooga to a 6-5 mark in 2009, equaling the number of wins UTC had seen in the previous three years combined. Huesman is 30-20 against FCS teams with 13 of those losses coming against ranked opponents, including eight in the top-10. He is 23-17 in SoCon action. He has an 0-1 record against Alabama and is 1-4 against FBS opponents. The lone win came against Georgia State (42-14) on Sept. 7.
Prior to his return to Chattanooga, Huesman spent the 25 seasons building a reputation as one of the top defensive-minded assistant coaches in the country. He spent five seasons as the defensive coordinator at the University of Richmond before joining UTC and also coached at Memphis (1998-2003) and William & Mary (14 yrs), serving as the Defensive Coordinator for the 1996-97 seasons. A native of Cincinnati, Ohio, Huesman played prep football at perennial power Moeller High School, where he lettered for four years under head coach Gerry Faust.
GAME NOTES AT SAMFORD - NOV. 16
• The Mocs had their school-record six-game SoCon winning streak snapped with a 17-14 overtime loss at Samford last Saturday.
• The Mocs are 0-3 in overtime games in the Russ Huesman era.
• Samford came into the game leading the SoCon and No. 13 in the FCS in passing offense (308.4), but were held to just 199…lowest total in a SoCon game for the Bulldogs this season.
• The Mocs had a season-high 302 passing yards. It was the most by UTC since posting 319 against Samford on Nov. 13, 2010.
• Samford’s 92-yard TD pass by Andy Summerlin to Chris Cehpus is the longest pass play against the Mocs on record … previous long was by Appalachian State’s Richie Williams to DaVon Fowlkes for 89 yards in a 59-56 UTC win over the No. 17 Mountaineers at home on Oct. 30, 2004.
• Wes Dothard’s 70-yard pick-6 in the fourth quarter is tied for the fourth-longest INT return in school history.
• Chattanooga had 406 yards of total offense, the most since putting up 432 against Western Carolina on Oct. 5.
• Chattanooga dominated time of possession 37:32 to 22:28.
• UTC was 1-4 in the red zone.
• The Mocs are 1-9 in games decided by three points or less in the Russ Huesman era…0-2 this season.
• The Mocs were outrushed for just the fourth time this season (112-104).
• Wes Dothard – Sr.-LB - Three tackles, including ½ for loss ... 4th career INT for Dothard … second pick-6…third defensive score of his career ... 296 career tackles… passes Ron Fague (1994-97) for 8th all-time at UTC.
• Marquis Green – Jr.-RB - 25 yards on nine carries ... career-best six catches for 60 yards.
• Jacob Huesman – So.-QB - 28-34 passing for 265 yards and one TD ... career highs for completions, attempts and yards ... played on a sore knee that limited his rushing ... sacked five times for a loss of 21 yards…ran 10 times for 21 yards ... came into the game No. 4 in the SoCon in rushing at 89.6 yards per game.
• Chaz Moore – Sr.-DB - Tied a career-high with eight tackles ... career-best 2.0 TFLs.
• Faysal Shafaat – Jr.-TE - Tied a career-high with six catches for 41 yards and a TD ... career-best and team-high sixth TD catch of the season ... 13th receiving TD of his career ties him with Joel Bradford (2008-11), Jason Jones (2000-04) and Vince Stafford (1970-72) for No. 6 all-time at UTC.
• Davis Tull – Jr.-DE - Tied a career-best with three QBHs ... added eight tackles and two TFLs.
GAME NOTES AT NO. 2 ALABAMA - NOV. 21, 2009
• The Chattanooga Mocs ended the first year of the Russ Huesman era with a 45-0 loss at No. 2 Alabama.
• At 6-5 on the year, Mocs logged their first winning season for the first time since 2005.
• UTC went 4-4 in Southern Conference action for the first time since 1998.
• UTC’s six wins were the most by a first-year head coach since Bill Oliver went 8-3 in 1980...coincidentally, Huesman was a junior defensive back on that squad.
• Chattanooga did not allow a sack for the fourth consecutive game...the Mocs went 176 pass plays without allowing a sack...sophomore B.J. Coleman threw 213 passes since the last time he was sacked.
• After going 1-11 in 2008, UTC’s 6-5 mark tied the second biggest turnaround in the win column in school history...UTC went 1-9 in 1950 to 6-5 in 1951 under Hall of Fame head coach Scrappy Moore.
• Alabama’s Javier Arenas returned a punt for a TD in the second quarter...it was the first punt return for a TD since The Citadel’s Andre Roberts ran one back for a 43rd yard score on Nov. 15, 2008.
• The Mocs were shutout for the first time since falling to Wofford 55-0 on the last game of the 2006 season (Nov. 11).
• UTC had a season-low 84 yards of total offense...their 36 passing yards was also a season-low.
• The Mocs did record two sacks in the game, giving them 30 on the season...UTC was No. 2 in the SoCon and No. 11 in the nation in sacks coming into the game.
• Senior DE Josh Beard (SoCon Defensive Player of the Year in 2009) - Finished with two tackles and did not record a sack ... remains tied for the school record with 12 sacks on the year.
• Sophomore QB B.J. Coleman (2012 7th Rd Draft Pick of the Green Bay Packers) - 7-25 for 36 yards and two INTs ... season-lows in completions, attempts and yards ... finished the year with 2,348 passing yards...fourth highest total in school history.
• Senior WR Blue Cooper - Two catches for seven yards ... 84 catches on the year is the third highest single-season total in school history ... 1,780 career receiving yards is No. 8 all-time at UTC ... 152 career receptions is No. 4 all-time at UTC.
TULL & DOTHARD ON BUCK BUCHANAN WATCH LIST
Senior linebacker Wes Dothard and junior defensive end Davis Tull are among the 20 student-athletes across the nation tabbed as candidates for the Buck Buchanan Award, the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) National Defensive Player of the Year Award. This is the second straight year Dothard has been on the Buchanan Watch List, and the first time two Mocs have been candidates in the same season. Dothard is a two-time All-American linebacker and finished 19th in the voting last year. He led the Mocs with 94 tackles in 2012, repeating as a first team All-Southern Conference selection. He was also a Buchanan Award finalist as a sophomore in 2011, finishing 25th in the national voting. Tull was the SoCon Defensive Player of the Year in 2012, leading the league with a school-record 12.5 sacks.