The No. 17 Chattanooga Mocs head to Birmingham, Ala., this weekend for a showdown with the Samford Bulldogs. UTC has already clinched at least a tie for the Southern Conference Championship, and can secure the title outright, along with the automatic bid to the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) Playoffs, with a win on Saturday.
UTC sits in first place in the league race with a 6-1 SoCon record, 8-2 overall. Samford, Furman and Wofford are all tied for second with a 4-2 league tally. The Mocs wrap up their SoCon schedule on Saturday, while the other three teams in the race will play their final league games on Nov. 23. UTC’s regular season ends on the 23rd at Alabama.
Kickoff is set for 3:04 p.m. (E.S.T.) - 2:04 p.m. locally at Siebert Stadium in Birmingham, Ala. - on Saturday, Nov. 16. This is the 39th meeting between these two schools in a rivalry that dates back to 1906. The Mocs own a 26-9-3 advantage and are 7-4 in Birmingham.
Chattanooga is riding is riding its first six-game conference winning streak since joining the league in 1977. UTC also has secured its first eight-win season since 1980. Chattanooga’s last nine-win season came in 1979.
The Bulldogs are 6-4 overall, but have dropped two consecutive conference games. They were ranked for most of the season, but are just outside of the top-25 this week.
This game will feature one of the top passing attacks in the FCS against one of the top rated passing defenses in the nation. Samford leads the SoCon and is No. 13 in the nation in passing offense (308.4), while the Mocs lead the league and are No. 2 in the country in passing defense (143.6).
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 ESPN3
The game will also broadcast on ESPN3.com. Darren Goldwater is the play-by-play announcer and Mike Gottfried is the color commentator. This is the last of four Mocs football games on ESPN3 this fall.
MOCS CAN END THE SOCON RACE SATURDAY
With two weeks left in the regular season, the Mocs are the only team in the hunt that can clinch the automatic bid this weekend. UTC is 6-1 in SoCon action, leading Samford, Wofford and Furman who are all 4-2. A UTC win over Samford gives the Mocs the outright title and the automatic bid to the FCS Playoffs. A Samford win means that all four teams will be watching the scoreboards on Nov. 23. Furman visits Western Carolina this week, while Wofford travels to Appalachian State. Samford hosts Elon and Wofford travels to Furman on Nov. 23.
NOTES ON THE RANKINGS
This is the 11th week the Mocs have been ranked in the Russ Huesman era (since 1999). UTC is 4-6 when ranked in the top-25 since 2010.
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
There were just three penalties combined between the two teams in the Mocs 20-10 win over Wofford last weekend, and just one was against UTC. In the last thee games, the Mocs have only had five total penalties. UTC is currently No. 2 in the nation for fewest penalties per game (3.6) and No. 3 in the FCS for fewest penalty yards (30.0).
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 (320.1) and scoring defense (17.9). They are 13th and seventh, nationally, in those respective categories.
• Chattanooga also leads the league and is second in the FCS in passing defense (143.6).
• UTC leads the SoCon and is No. 22 in the nation in pass efficiency defense (112.91).
• The Mocs are allowing just 16.8 first downs per game. That is second in the SoCon and is tied for 20th, nationally.
• Junior DE Davis Tull leads the SoCon and tied for fifth in the FCS with 9.0 sacks ... he set the Mocs all-time sack record (26.5) with one at Elon on Oct. 19.
• UTC is tied for the SoCon lead with 10 interceptions.
• The Mocs are 7-1 when allowing less than 24 points this season ... UTC is 27-5 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. 15 in the FCS and No. 4 in the SoCon in rushing at 235.2 yards per game.
• UTC is No. 24 in the nation and No. 4 in the SoCon in Pass Efficiency (141.84).
• Chattanooga is second in the SoCon and is No. 14 in the country in 3rd-down conversion percentage (59/130 - 45.4%).
• Sophomore QB Jacob Huesman is second in the league and is No. 12 in the country in completion % (66.0%) ... he also leads the SoCon in points responsible for (15 passing TDs, 9 rushing TDs).
• The Mocs have rushed for over 2,000 yards for the first time since 2005 (2,352) and just the second time since 1992. The school record for rushing yards in a season is 3,332 in 1977.
• Thanks to an 81-yard KOR against Western Carolina, senior Chaz Moore is No. 11 in the nation in KOR average (29.1).
• Junior Tommy Hudson is second in the SoCon and No. 24 in the nation with a 9.9 yard punt return average.
• Junior Nick Pollard is handling both the punting and place-kicking duties this season. He is 5-7 on field goals and averages 41.5 yards per punt.
• UTC is coming off a 6-5 record, its third winning season in the last four years. The last time the Mocs had three winning seasons in four years was 1984-87.
• 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).
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 31-23 in his five seasons with the Mocs. He just passed his former coach, 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.
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 (17.9 ppg), total defense (320.1 ypg) and pass defense (143.6). However, not one of UTC’s defenders is in the top 9 in the SoCon in tackles. Senior Wes Dothard is No. 10 with 7.8 stops per game.
DOTHARD & KEY MOVING INTO THE DEFENSIVE RECORDS
Seniors Wes Dothard and D.J. Key are both broke into the Mocs record book for career tackles at Appalachian State. Dothard currently has 292 career stops and needs two more to pass Ron Fague (1994-97) for eighthall-time at UTC. Key has totaled 281 in his career and is 10th all-time at UTC.
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. 12 in the nation with a 66.0 completion % (136-206). He is third in the league with a 141.1 pass efficiency rating. He leads the SoCon and is No. 20 in the nation in points responsible for with 15 TD passes and nine rushing scores. His 15 TD throws are second in the SoCon. He is also fourth in the league in total offense (226.8), fourth in rushing (89.6) and fifth in passing (137.2).
Huesman is also starting to make a mark on the Mocs career lists. He has 28 touchdown passes and needs eight more to pass Mickey Brokas (1970-73) for No. 5 all-time at UTC. He is also 10th in career passing yards (3,084) before the end of the season. He also topped 1,000 career rushing yards (1,800) 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 five 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 leading the SoCon and tied for fourth in the nation with 9.0 sacks on the year.
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 third with eight forced fumbles, fourth in career sacks (26.5) and sixth in TFLs per game (1.23). Senior LB Wes Dothard is fourth with seven forced fumbles and 10th with 7.19 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 fifth in the league with 85.9 rushing yards per game and tied for third in the SoCon with 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 two games, but cuold be back in the lineup against Samford.
POLLARD CLIMBING SCORING LIST...HONORED NATIONALLY & BY THE SOCON
Junior PK Nick Pollard is No. 5 on the Mocs all-time scoring list with 173 career points. He needs three more to pass Dennis Waters (1986-88) for fourth. He is also second all-time in career PATs with 101. He needs 10 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 over the Weekend. 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 on Saturday.
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.
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 agaisnt Wofford in the fourth quarter. For the season, UTC has only allowed opponents inside their 20, 28 times. That is the second fewest in the SoCon. Of those 28 trips, only 14 have been TDs, which is the fewest red zone TDs allowed in the SoCon.
NOTES TO KNOW ABOUT SAMFORD
• Fabian Truss ranks in the top five in the SoCon kickoff return average (1st-32.1 ypr.), all-purpose yards (1st-216.6 ypg.), punt return average (1st-14.8 ypr.) and scoring by touchdown (5th-6.6 ppg.). • Andy Summerlin is in the top five in the SoCon in passing average per game (1st-294.5 ypg.), total offense per game (1st-288.6 ypg.) and pass efficiency (2nd-142.0).
• Justin Shade is in the top five in the SoCon in tackles for loss (1st-1.3pg.), tackles per game (1st-10.4) and sacks (2nd-0.7 pg).
• Warren Handrahan leads the league in scoring by kick (8.1 ppg.), in field goals per game (1.6 pg.) and field goal percentage (80.0%), and he ranks third in scoring (8.1 ppg.).
• Josh Kimberlin is tied for second in the SoCon in interceptions (0.30 pg.), and Jaquiski Tartt is tied for fourth in the SoCon in passes defended (0.78 pg.).
• Kelsey Pope ranks second in the league in receiving yards per game (72.8ypg.) and receptions per game (5.7 pg.).
• Trey Wesley is tied for first in fumbles recovered (T1st-0.30 pg.).
• Greg Peranich ranks third in punting (42.7 ypk.).
NOTES TO KNOW ABOUT THE SAMFORD SERIES
• This is the 39th meeting between these two teams, dating back to 1906.
• Chattanooga leads the series 26-9-3 and is 7-4 in Birmingham.
• The Mocs have won all four games with Samford in the Russ Huesman era.
• UTC has won 12 of the last 14 games in the series and five straight in Birmingham.
• Most of this series was played between 1906 and 1968. there was a 30 year game in games between 1968 and 1998. UTC is 8-2 against Samford since the 1998 season.
COACH HUESMAN AT A GLANCE
Russ Huesman is 31-23 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 26-19 against FCS teams with 13 of those losses coming against ranked opponents, including eight in the top-10. He is 22-16 in SoCon action and is 4-0 against Samford.
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 VS. NO. 15 WOFFORD - NOV. 9
• The Chattanooga Mocs clinched a share of the Southern Conference title for the first time since 1984 with a 20-10 win over Wofford today.
• This is the first eight-win season at UTC since 1980, when head coach Russ Huesman was a junior defensive back
• This is the first time in school history the Mocs have posted six wins in SoCon play…UTC joined the league in 1977.
• This is the first six-game winning streak overall since 1977.
• Chattanooga came into the game No. 8 in the FCS in scoring defense (18.8)…the Mocs have now held four teams to 10 points or less this season…first time since 1998.
• Mocs snap a three-game slide to the Terriers…UTC is 9-11 in the all-time series, 7-4 at home.
• On the opening drive of the second half, Wofford’s Will Gay connected with receiver Will Irvin on a 60-yard halfback pass. It was the longest pass play allowed by UTC this season.
• There were no penalties in the first half by either team. UTC ended the game with one flag (pass interference) for 15 yards. The Mocs came into the game No. 3 in the nation in fewest penalty yards (31.7) and No. 5 in fewest penalties (3.89).
• Chattanooga improves to 6-13 against ranked opponents in the Russ Huesman era.
• The Mocs won the turnover battle today 4-1 today…three of the last four drives ended in turnovers for Wofford.
• UTC outrushed Wofford’s triple-option attack 233-172. The Mocs are 7-0 when outrushing their opponent…25-3 in the Huesman era (since 2009).
• Chattanooga ran for more than 200 yards for the eighth time this season. The last time that happened was 1991. UTC’s 2,352 yards on the ground this season are the most since posting 2,364 in 1991.
• The Mocs are undefeated at home in conference play (4-0) for the first time since 1983.
• Chattanooga is 15-0 when allowing less than 14 points in the Russ Huesman era (since 2009).
• UTC is 24-6 when leading after the third quarter in the Huesman era (since 2009).
• Wes Dothard – Sr.-LB - Nine tackles ... 2.5 TFLs ... third INT of his career.
• Derrick Craine – Fr.-RB - Season-high nine carries for 46 yards.
• Jacob Huesman – So.-QB - 100 yards rushing and passing for the second-straight game…sixth of his career ... 116 yards and a TD on 18 carries ... 15-23 passing for 151 yards ... 3,084 career passing yards passes Stan Nix (1987-90) for No. 10 all-time at UTC...he has 4,884 yards of total offense ... ninth rushing TD of the season.
• Nakevion Leslie – Fr.-DB - Game-high and career-high 14 tackles ... posted a sack and another ½ TFL.
• Nick Pollard – Jr.-P/K - 78-yard punt in the second quarter was the 4th longest in school history…longest since a 79-yarder by Pumpy Tudors against Appalachian State (10/28/98)…longest punt in the SoCon this season ... finished with a 54.7 yard average on three kicks...that’s a school record for a game passing Tudors’ 54.3 against App State (10/28/89) ... went 2-3 on field goals, including a career-long 42-yarder in the fourth quarter.
• Daniel Ring – So.-DL - Tied a career-high with six tackles ... TFL and recovered a fumble.
• Faysal Shafaat – Jr.-TE - Season-high five catches for 41 yards.
Davis Tull – Jr.-DE - Three tackles, including a ½ sack ... forced his fourth fumble of the season ... extended his UTC career record for sacks to 26.5.
• Dee Virgin – Fr.-DB - Second INT of the season…great one-handed grab ... added four tackles…TFL.
GAME NOTES VS. SAMFORD - OCT. 20, 2012
• UTC improved to 4-3 overall and 3-1 in the SoCon with a 20-13 win over Samford ... the Bulldogs dropped to 5-3 overall and 3-3 in SoCon play.
• Both teams combined for 155 yards of total offense in the first half...UTC 90 and Samford 65.
• Samford Series Notes...UTC leads 26-9-3...19-5-2 at home...4-2 in Finley Stadium...Mocs have won four straight.
• There was only one turnover in the game tonight, an INT by UTC linebacker Gunner Miller...Samford came into the game tied for the league lead in takeaways with 15 (10 INTs & 5 FR)...Mocs came into the game leading the SoCon in fewest turnovers with 5 (2 fumbles and 3 INTs).
• UTC has not turned the ball over for three consecutive games...it is the second time the Mocs have gone three consecutive games without a turnover in the Russ Huesman era (Presbyterian, Wofford & Samford in 2009).
• Samford’s fourth quarter TD was its first against the Mocs since the third quarter of the 2010 game in Finley Stadium.
• The Mocs have allowed just one TD in each of the last three games...it is the second time that has happened in the Huesman era, also against Presbyterian (29-13), Wofford (38-9) and Samford (14-7) in 2009.
• Samford’s Cameron Yaw connected on a 52-yard FG at the end of the first half...longest in the SoCon this season...it is the longest on record against the Mocs.
• The Mocs allowed 34 points to Appalachian State in the SoCon opener on Sept. 22...since then, UTC has only allowed 33 points in three games.
• UTC held Samford to 111 yards on 32 plays in the first three quarters...the Bulldogs racked up 148 yards on 35 plays in the fourth quarter alone.
• UTC held Samford to a season-low 259 yards of total offense.
• Wes Dothard (LB - Jr.) - Buck Buchanan Award Candidate - Team-high 11 tackles ... second game this season with 10+ tackles...seventh of his career ... also added a PBU.
• Jacob Huesman (Fr. - QB) - 18-23 passing for 164 yards and one TD - pass to J.J. Jackson for 35 yards in the third quarter was his 100th completion of the season...UTC freshman record...he is 106-157 with nine TDs and 1,039 yards on the year.
• Sema’je Kendall (DB - Fr.) - Season-high six tackles ... PBU on the final play of the game ... leads the team and is No. 2 in the SoCon with seven passes defended.
• Gunner Miller (LB - Jr.) - 2nd INT of the season in the second quarter...third of his career ... finished with six tackles.
• Chaz Moore (DB - Jr.) - career-high eight tackles.
• Nick Pollard (P/K - So.) - Averaged 44.5 yards per punt on six attempts - pinned Samford inside the 20 four times ... 49-yard punt late in the 4th quarter flipped the field and allowed the Mocs to hold on for the win ... 2-2 on FGs (29 &36)...6-10 on FGs this season...11-12 from inside 30 yards for his career.
• Zack Rayl (DE - So.) - Career-high five tackles ... recorded a sack and another 1.5 TFLs.
• Terrell Robinson (QB - So.) - Season-high nine receptions for 65 yards ... 5-6 passing for 15 yards. - 17 catches last two games.
• Davis Tull (DE - So.) - Finished with five solo tackles, including two sacks ... leads the SoCon with 8.0 sacks ... leads the SoCon with 9.5 TFLs.
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. He also led the SoCon, and was No. 5 in the nation, with a UTC-record 19.0 tackles-for-loss.