The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football team is on the road this week, visiting the Appalachian State Mountaineers in Southern Conference action. Game time is set for 3:30 p.m. (E.D.T.) at Kidd Brewer Stadium in Boone, N.C., on Saturday, Nov. 2.
The Mocs are 6-2 (4-1 SoCon) for the first time since 1997 and look to post seven wins in the first nine games of a season for the first time since 1980. Chattanooga is also riding a four-game winning streak, all in SoCon action. The last time UTC won five in a row overall was 2010. Chattanooga has never won five straight league games.
UTC had the fifth, fourth-quarter comeback of head coach Russ Huesman’s tenure last week against The Citadel. Sophomore Jacob Huesman scored the go-ahead touchdown with just over two minutes left to play to give the Mocs a 28-24 win. Junior linebacker Muhasibi Wakeel was named the SoCon Defensive Player of the Week after logging a career-high 17 tackles in the win.
The Mountaineers are making the jump to the Sun Belt Conference and the Football Bowl Subdivision next season and are not eligible for the SoCon title. ASU’s record is not what is normally seen from its tradition-rich program at 2-6 overall, 2-3 in the SoCon. However, they pounded No. 24 Georgia Southern 38-14 last week.
Sophomore quarterback Kameron Bryant completed 27-of-33 passes for a career-high 381 yards and two touchdowns, leading ASU past the Eagles. He was named the SoCon Offensive Player of the Week for his efforts.
Kidd Brewer Stadium has not been a friendly host for the Mocs. Chattanooga has lost 14-straight in Boone. The Mocs’ last win was over 30 years ago, a 30-9 triumph on Oct. 8, 1983. UTC is 3-15 all-time at The Rock.
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.
SOCON RACE HEATS UP
Three teams have distanced themselves in the race for the Southern Conference title, and the Mocs are right in the thick of things. Samford leads with a 4-0 league record, while UTC and Wofford are tied for second at 4-1. Furman sits in fourth place at 2-2. UTC is in a very tough stretch that includes the visit to Appalachian State, home against Wofford on Nov. 9 and at Samford on Nov. 16.
TIGHT GAMES WITH ASU
UTC has led or been within a point in the fourth quarter in each of the four games against Appalachian State in the Russ Huesman era. Last year’s game was tied at 10 until ASU scored 24-straight points in a 34-17 win. The Mocs trailed 7-6 in the fourth quarter in 2011. They lost that game 14-12, despite not allowing an offensive touchdown. UTC led 35-14 in the fourth quarter in 2010 before a furious comeback gave ASU a 42-41 win. Chattanooga was down 21-20 in the fourth quarter in Huesman’s first trip to Boone in 2009 before losing 35-20.
MOCS HAVE THREATENED TO END ROAD SKID TO ASU IN LAST TWO GAMES
Chattanooga threatened to break the road losing streak to the Mountaineers in each of its last two trips to Boone. In 2009, the Mocs opened the second half with two straight on-side kick recoveries. Chattanooga trailed 21-20 in the fourth quarter after All-American Craig Camay connected on a 36-yard FG. No. 3 ASU responded by picking off QB B.J. Coleman and scoring twice in the closing minutes to seal the win.
In 2011, the No. 13 Mocs shut out the No. 3 Mountaineers in the first half. UTC was trying to go up 9-0 late in the third quarter, but a bad snap on a 26-yard FG attempt ended up a 73-yard fumble recovery for a TD and a 7-6 ASU lead. The Mountaineers scored again on a pic-6 in the fourth quarter to go up 14-6. Chattanooga closed the gap with a nine-play touchdown drive of their own, but the two-point conversion failed and the game ended with 14-12 ASU win.
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 (313.2) and scoring defense (17.6). They are 10th and sixth, nationally, in those respective categories.
• UTC has held four 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.
• Chattanooga also leads the league and is third in the FCS in passing defense (135.0).
• UTC leads the SoCon and is No. 20 in the nation in pass efficiency defense (111.57).
• The Mocs are allowing just 16.2 first downs per game. That leads the SoCon and is 15th, nationally.
• Junior DE Davis Tull is second in the SoCon and No. 17 in the FCS with 6.5 sacks ... he set the Mocs all-time sack record (24.0) with one at Elon on Oct. 19.
• UTC is second in the SoCon with seven interceptions.
• The Mocs are 6-1 when allowing less than 24 points this season ... UTC is 26-5 in the Huesman era (since 2009) when allowing 24 points or less.
• The Mocs are currently No. 15 in the FCS and No. 4 in the SoCon in rushing at 236.4 yards per game.
• UTC is No. 26 in the nation and No. 4 in the SoCon in Pass Efficiency (144.00).
• Chattanooga is second in the SoCon and is No. 17 in the country in 3rd-down conversion percentage (47/102 - 46.1%).
• Sophomore QB Jacob Huesman leads the league and is No. 13 in the country in completion % (65.9%) ... he also leads the SoCon in points responsible for (13 passing TDs, 7 rushing TDs).
• Junior RB Keon Williams is No. 4 in the SoCon in rushing yards per game (85.9). His nine rushing TDs are tied second in the league and 17th in the nation.
• Thanks to an 81-yard KOR against Western Carolina, senior Chaz Moore is No. 10 in the nation in KOR average (29.5).
• Junior Tommy Hudson is second in the SoCon and No. 31 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 3-4 on field goals and averages 40.3 yards per punt.
• The Mocs are fifth in the nation for fewest penalties (4.0) and 14th in the FCS for fewest penalty yards per game (33.9).
• 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 last week against The Citadel. Ironically, UTC had 197 rushing yards before they took a knee on three straight snaps to end the game. The last time the Mocs had six games with 200+ rushing yards in a season was 1991.
COACH HUESMAN CLIMBING THE COACHING RANKS
Coach Huesman is 29-23 in his five seasons with the Mocs. He is tied with 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. One more win will put Huesman in third place on UTC’s all-time coaching win list.
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 (17.6 ppg), total defense (313.3 ypg) and pass defense (135.0). However, not one of UTC’s defenders is in the top 10 in the SoCon in tackles. Senior D.J. Key is No. 13 with 7.7 stops per game.
DOTHARD & KEY MOVING INTO THE DEFENSIVE RECORDS
Seniors Wes Dothard and D.J. Key are both about to break into the Mocs record book for career tackles. Dothard currently has 273 career stops and needs four more to pass Troy Boeck (1987-90) for ninth all-time at UTC. Key has totaled 270 in his career.
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 leads the SoCon and is No. 13 in the nation with a 65.9 completion % (108-164). He is third in the league with a 143.2 pass efficiency rating. He leads the SoCon and is No. 18 in the nation in points responsible for with 13 TD passes and seven rushing scores. His 13 TD throws are third in the SoCon. He is also fifth in the league in total offense (217.8), ninth in rushing (81.0) and fifth in passing (136.8).
Huesman is also starting to make a mark on the Mocs career lists. He has 26 touchdown passes and needs three more to pass Tony Merendino (1975-78) and Brian Hampton (1995-98) for No. 6 all-time at UTC. He should also break into the top 10 for career passing yards (2,806) before the end of the season. He also topped 1,000 career rushing yards (1,552) against Georgia State.
TULL SETS UTC ALL-TIME SACK RECORD
After a statistically slow start to the season, junior defensive end Davis Tull has posted 4.5 sacks in the last three 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 second in the SoCon and No. 17 in the FCS with 6.5 sacks on the year.
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. Senior LB Wes Dothard and junior DL Davis Tull are both No. 3 nationally with seven forced fumbles in their careers. Dothard is also No. 9 among active FCS player with 7.1 tackles per game. Tull is No. 5 in career sacks (24.0) and No. 7 TFLs per game (1.24).
WILLIAMS RUNNING STRONG
Junior running back Keon Williams has twice been named the league’s offensive player of the week this season. He is fourth in the league with 85.9 rushing yards per game and second in the SoCon with nine rushing TDs. He has five 100-yard games this season, and is second in the SoCon with 5.9 yards per carry. His averages are skewed after being injured on the opening kickoff last week against The Citadel. He did not play an offensive snap against the Bulldogs.
POLLARD CLIMBING SCORING LIST
Junior PK Nick Pollard is No. 6 on the Mocs all-time scoring list with 160 career points. He needs three more to pass Cos DeMatteo (1998-01) for fifth. He is also fourth all-time in career PATs with 94. He needs two more to pass Jack Teichmann (1980-83) for third all-time.
INSIDE THE RED ZONE NUMBERS
The Mocs have yet to post a red zone stop on defense. However, they have only allowed opponents inside their 20, 19 times this season. That is the fewest in the SoCon. Of those 19 trips, only nine have been TDs, which is also the fewest in the SoCon.
NOTES TO KNOW ABOUT APPALACHIAN STATE
• ASU is 2-6 overall and 2-3 in SoCon action.
• This is the first time since 2003 the Mocs are facing an unranked Mountaineer squad.
• Sophomore QB Kameron Bryant is the current SoCon Offensive Player of the Week. He was 27-33 passing for 381 yards and two TDs in ASU’s 38-14 thumping of No. 24 Georgia Southern last week. He ranks among the conference leaders with 1,744 passing yards (third — 218.0 ypg), 1,882 yards of total offense (third — 235.2 ypg) and 10 touchdown passes (fifth).
• ASU is second in the SoCon and No. 17 in the nation in passing offense (284.9).
• The Mountaineers are second in the SoCon and No. 8 in the FCS in passing defense (159.1).
• Appalachian State’s defense limited Georgia Southern to 363 yards, 128 below its gaudy 491.7-yard average coming in. GSU’s 291 rushing yards were 78 below its season average.
• ASU freshman running back Marcus Cox rushed for 104 yards last week, good for his third 100-yard rushing game in six career starts...he is second in the SoCon in scoring with 11 TDs (six rush, five receiving)...he is also second in the SoCon with 151 all purpose yards per game.
• The Mountaineers are last in the SoCon in rushing offense at 128.1 yards per game.
• ASU leads the SoCon in net punting (38.3).
• The Mountaineers are last in the SoCon in turnover margin (-3). They have lost eight fumbles and thrown five INTs against five picks and five fumbles recovered.
• Senior WR Andrew Peackock leads the SoCon with 6.5 receptions per game.
• Senior WR Tony Washington is second in the SoCon with 73.6 receiving yards per game.
• Freshman punter Bentlee Critcher leads the SoCon with a 45.4 average per kick.
• Senior LB Karl Anderson is second in the SoCon with 9.9 tackles per game.
NOTES TO KNOW ABOUT THE APPALACHIAN STATE SERIES
• This is the 37th meeting between the two teams in a series that dates back to 1977 when the
Mocs joined the Southern Conference.
• The Mocs are 3-15 all time in Boone, N.C.
• UTC has not won at Appalachian State since a 30-9 victory on Oct. 9, 1983...a string of 14-straight losses.
• ASU leads the series 26-10 and has won 25 of the last 28 meetings, including eight in a row.
• The last Mocs win was a 59-56 barn-burner in Finley Stadium on Oct. 30, 2004.
• This is the last time UTC will face Appalachian State as members of the Southern Conference. The Mountaineers are making a move to the Sun Belt Conference in the Football Bowl Subdivision.
COACH HUESMAN AT A GLANCE
Russ Huesman is 29-23 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 21-16 in SoCon action, including 11-8 at home. He has an 0-4 record against Appalachian State.
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. THE CITADEL - OCT. 26
• The Mocs improve to 6-2 overall and 4-1 in SoCon action with a 28-24 win over The Citadel. The Bulldogs fall to 2-6 overall and 2-4 in SoCon play.
• Chattanooga gets its 500th win in 106 seasons of college football. UTC is 500-505-35.
• The Citadel had 17 points on 215 yards of total offense in the first half…most points in a half since giving up 17 at No. 15 Georgia Southern on Sept. 28. Bulldogs were held to just seven points and 180 yards of total offense in the second half. The Citadel ran 18 plays but had just 27 yards in the fourth quarter.
• The Mocs trailed 24-21 heading into the fourth quarter. This is the fifth, fourth quarter comeback in the Huesman era (since 2009). Mocs are 5-16 when trailing after three quarters under Huesman.
• Jacob Huesman scored the go-ahead TD on a 13-yard run with 2:20 left in the game.
• The Citadel’s 395 yards of total offense are the most allowed by UTC since giving up 451 in the 31-21 season-opening loss to UT Martin on Aug. 29.
• The Citadel’s Dalton Trevino had a 61-yard TD run in the third quarter…longest run against the Mocs this season. The Mocs trailed 24-14 with 6:24 left in the third quarter after Trevino’s run.
• The Mocs forced a fumble in the second quarter for the only turnover of the game. It is the first time since the Western Carolina game on Oct. 5 that UTC has won the turnover battle.
• The Mocs are 6-2 for the first time since 1997. UTC has won four-straight league games for the second time under Huesman (2010).
• The Mocs did not post 200 rushing yards for the first time since the season opener against UT Martin. UTC had 197 rushing yards before taking a knee on the last three plays of the game.
• C.J. Board – Fr.-WR - Career-high and game-high five catches ... career-high and game-high 59 yards ... big second-down catch for 28 yards over the middle on the game-winning drive.
• Xavier Borishade – Fr.-WR - 33-yard TD in the third quarter…first of his career ... first catch since the Georgia State game on Sept. 7.
• Keionta Davis – Fr.-DE - Had two tackles in the game ... both were sacks on the Mocs last defensive stand in the fourth quarter ... credited with 1.5 sacks…first of his career.
• Marquis Green – Jr.-RB - Season-high 85 yards on 16 carries.
• Jacob Huesman – So.-QB - 13-23 for 144 yards and two TDs ... 4-11 for 28 yards in the first half ... ran 13 times for 95 yards and the game-winning TD ... ties his totals from last season with his seventh rushing TD and his 13th passing TD ... caught a pass for eight yards.
• D.J. Key – Sr. – DB - Tied a career-high with 13 tackles…10 at the half.
• Nick Pollard – Jr.-P/K - Tied a career-high with five punts inside the 20 ... four punts downed inside the six (6, 3, 4, 1) ... 39.2 yard average on six punts ... went 4-4 on PATs to remain perfect on the season (34-34).
• Faysal Shafaat – Jr.-TE - 5th receiving TD of the season…first since at Georgia State on Sept. 7 ... finished with two catches for 11 yards.
• Keon Williams – Jr.-RB - Mocs leading rusher (98.1 ypg) was injured on the opening kickoff and did not return.
GAME NOTES VS. NO. 17 APPALACHIAN STATE - SEPT. 22, 2012
• UTC fell to 10-26 all-time against Appalachian State after a 34-17 loss... The Mocs have lost 8 straight to the Mountaineers with the last win coming on Oct. 30, 2004 in a 59-56 contest.
• Appalachian State is the only SoCon team Huesman has not defeated in his tenure at UTC.
• UTC is 10-26 all-time against ASU ... The Mountaineers have won 25 of the last 28 ... UTC is 2-6 against ASU in Finley Stadium.
• The Mocs were stopped on five of their first six third-down attempts before converting seven of their last 10.
• The Mocs made their first red-zone stand of the season, stopping ASU on fourth-and-1 from the 10-yard line.
• ASU’s Brandon Grier had a 70-yard interception return for a TD ... the last time the Mocs gave up a pick-6 was last season against Appalachian State when Jeremy Kimbrough ran one back 46 yards for a score.
• UTC had led or been within a point in the fourth quarter in each of the last four games against Appalachian State. The game was tied at 10 until ASU hit the go-ahead FG with 14:01 left in the contest.
• Wes Dothard (Jr. - LB) - Recorded a season-high 13 tackles ... 6th game of his career with 10+ tackles ... had one TFL.
• Jacob Huesman (QB - Fr.) - 16-28 for 140 yards, one TD and two INTs ... ran nine times for 16 yards.
• Chaz Moore (Jr. - DB) - Grabbed 1st interception of 2012, the 3rd of his career ... career-high seven tackles.
• Nick Pollard (So.- K/P) - Career long 60 yard punt in the 1st quarter ... 42.7 yard average on seven punts...two I20.
• Terrell Robinson (So. - QB) - Threw his 1st TD pass of the season in the 4th quarter ... finished 4-7 for 43 yards.
• Faysal Shafaat (So. - TE) - Career-high 58 yards on 5 catches ... scored his 2nd TD of 2012 on a 2 yard pass from Robinson.
• Davis Tull (So. - DE) - Picked up his 4th sack of the year ... forced his 2nd fumble of the year ... finished with a season-high seven tackles.
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.