GAME NOTES: Mocs Open SoCon Play Saturday vs. Wofford

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The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football team kicks off the Winter/Spring 2021 schedule with a visit from No. 11 Wofford this weekend.  The Mocs host the Terriers at Finley Stadium on Saturday, Feb. 27, at 12:00 p.m. (E.S.T.).
 
Immediate families on the home and visiting pass lists are the only spectators allowed for this event.  Fans can check the full broadcast on ESPN+ or the radio call on the Mocs Sports Network flagship station 97.7 FM/1070 AM WFLI. 
 
It has been 462 days since the Mocs competed in a Southern Conference football game.  UTC played in one game in the fall, a 13-10 loss at Western Kentucky on Oct. 24.  This is the first of seven spring games for Chattanooga, all in league play.  The Mocs had to postponed their scheduled spring opener on Feb. 20 against VMI due to COVID-19 issues within the program.
 
Wofford is No. 11 in this week’s STATS PERFORM FCS Top 25.  The Terriers opened the spring with a 31-14 win over Mercer in Spartanburg last weekend.  The league’s coaches picked Wofford first in the SoCon preseason poll, while the media pegged them to finish second.
 
TICKETS
Only immediate family on the pre-arranged pass lists from both teams are allowed admission for this game.  There are no ticket sales for the general public.  Tickets for the Mocs’ home games on March 27 against Mercer and April 10 against Samford go on sale on March 1 on GoMocs.com.
 
MOCS SPORTS NETWORK
The Mocs Sports Network broadcasts the game on the radio on WFLI 1070 AM / 97.7 FM in Chattanooga.  Jim Reynolds has the play-by-play for his 41st season, with Todd Agne giving the color commentary and Will Poindexter on the sideline.  A link for a free audio broadcast is available on the football schedule page on GoMocs.com.
 
ESPN+
UTC produces all home games for the ESPN family of networks.  This week’s contest is carried by ESPN+, with Chris Goforth (pxp) and Scott McMahen (analyst) on the call and Dave Keylon on the sideline.  
 
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”.

QUICK NOTES TO KNOW ABOUT THE MOCS
General

• Former Moc and former UTC assistant coach Rusty Wright is in his second season as head coach at UTC.

• Mocs are 65-60 all-time at Finley Stadium … 44-46 in SoCon home games.

• UTC is coming off its 19th winning record in SoCon play … seventh since 2009.

 
Offense

• 18 letter winners and eight starters back from 2019 … four starters return to the offensive line … LT Malcolm White is the lone starter not returning.  He started every game of his four-year career. 

• Lost starting QB Nick Tiano to graduation … senior Drayton Arnold played in three games off the bench last year and started at WKU in the fall … junior Cole Copeland has rejoined the team … he was the starter in 2017.

• 389.8 yards of total offense was No. 5 in the SoCon and No. 53 in the FCS in 2019. 

• 4th/24th in rushing offense (197.7) in 2019.

• Sophomore Ailym Ford led the Mocs and all freshmen in the FCS and FBS with 108.1 rushing yards per game … he was second in the SoCon and No. 10 in the FCS in rushing yards per game … he suffered an injury early in the Samford game that ended his season. 

• Senior OL Cole Strange has started 29 consecutive games, mostly at left guard … he moved over to center for most of 2019 Citadel game in place of injured starter Noah Ramsey.

• Senior TE Chris James converted to TE from QB last season … earned 1st Team All-SoCon … threw for a TD pass and caught seven others in his first year at the position … set a school mark for TDs by a TE … second on the team with 23 catches, third with 257 yards overall in 2019.

• Senior RB Tyrell Price is back for a fifth year … he was the starter and preseason All-SoCon heading into 2019 when an injury ended his season after just two games.

• Strange (1st Team), Ford (2nd Team), James (2nd Team) and offensive linemen Harrison Moon (2nd Team) and McClendon Curtis (2nd Team) all made the spring 2021 preseason All-SoCon team. 

 
Defense

• 22 letter winners and eight starters back.

• Senior Brandon Dowdell is a two-time first team All-SoCon defensive back with five career INTs.

• Senior Jordan Jones led the SoCon with 12 passes defended.  

• Junior Devonnsha Maxwell tied for the SoCon lead with 7.0 sacks … second with 13.0 TFLs.

• Junior Ty Boeck was second on the team and sixth in the SoCon with 101 tackles.

• Senior DB Jerrell Lawson missed the last four games of the year with an injury … he was a preseason All-SoCon pick heading into 2019. 

• Fifth in the SoCon and No. 80 in the FCS in scoring defense (30.0) in 2019.

• No. 5 in the SoCon and No. 99 in the FCS in rushing defense (205.4) in 2019.

• No. 5 in the SoCon and No. 25 in the FCS in passing yards allowed (193.2) in 2019.

• No. 5 in the SoCon and No. 74 in the FCS in total defense (398.6) in 2019.

• Tied for SoCon lead and No. 40 in the FCS with 21 total takeaways (10 FRs & 11 INTs) in 2019. 

• UTC’s 11 interceptions tied for the SoCon lead in 2019.

• Sophomore LB Jay Person has two sacks at WKU in the fall.

• Senior Rashun Freeman had 3.0 TFLs at WKU in the fall.

• Maxwell (1st Team), Boeck (1st Team), Dowdell (1st Team), Person (2nd Team) and Jones (2nd Team) all made the 2021 spring preseason All-SoCon team.

 
Special Teams

• Mocs do not have an experienced kicker active on the roster … expected starter and Arkansas State transfer Aaron Sears is out with an injury … junior punter Gabe Boring and freshman Skylar Wilson will handle the kicking duties.   

 
NOTES TO KNOW ABOUT THE WOFFORD GAME

• Mocs are one of 15 FCS teams that played in the fall.

• This is the first official game in the winter/spring for Chattanooga in its 113-year history.

NOTES TO KNOW ABOUT THE WOFFORD SERIES

• This is the 27th meeting between these two teams, dating back to 1927. 

• Wofford leads the series 15-11, and has won four in a row … Mocs won three straight prior to that. 

• The Mocs are 3-7 against Wofford since 2010.

• Six of the last nine meetings have been decided by one score or less.

• Two of the last three have been overtime losses.

• Chattanooga’s last four trips to Wofford have come down to the last play … in 2012, the No. 13 Terriers beat the Mocs 16-13 in overtime … in 2015, the No. 5 Mocs beat Wofford 20-17 on a last-second field goal by Henrique Ribeiro … in 2017, the No. 8 Terriers beat UTC 24-21 in overtime … UTC lost in overtime last year (35-24).

• Last time the Mocs posted a home win in the series was a 31-13 win over Nov. 8, 2014. 

 
SCOUTING WOFFORD

• Opened with a 31-14 win over Mercer last week.

• Picked to win the SoCon by the league’s coaches … second media behind Furman.

• Ranked No. 11 in this week’s STATS PERFORM FCS Top 25.

• Returns nine starters … on offense, the two players include backs Nathan Walker and D’mauriae VanCleave … on defense, the five returners are defensive linemen Corey Prince, Michael Mason and Tanner Barnes, linebackers John Beckley and Joe Beckett, and cornerback Darron Paschal … two specialist also return.

• Wofford won the 2019 Southern Conference Championship, the seventh overall and first time winning back-to-back-to-back.

• Last season was the tenth playoff appearance for Wofford, with a 9-10 mark in the postseason.

• Five made the preseason All-SoCon team … led by defensive lineman Michael Mason on the first team … second team selections include offensive linemen Chad Gardner and Zak Kurz, defensive lineman Tanner Barnes and defensive back Darron Paschal.

• The Terriers rushed for 201 yards and passed for 173 yards, with four different players scoring touchdowns in the win over Mercer.

• Irvin Mulligan led the team with 90 rushing yards and a touchdown, while Jimmy Weirick was 12-of-18 passing for 173 yards.

• Senior DE Michael Mason was the STATS National Player of the Week after posting eight tackles, including three TFLs with two sack-fumbles.  

 
VS. THE TRIPLE-OPTION

UTC has a 13-16 record against triple-option teams since 2009.  The Mocs are 8-3 against The Citadel, 4-7 against Wofford, 1-3 against Georgia Southern and 0-3 against Furman.

 
VS. RANKED FCS OPPONENTS

The Mocs are 0-3 against ranked FCS opponents under head coach Rusty Wright.  UTC’s last win over a ranked foe from the Championship Subdivision was a 27-20 win over No. 17 Samford on Sept. 22, 2018.

 
LETTERMEN/STARTERS RETURNING/LOST

UTC returns a total of 43 lettermen from the 2019 campaign.  There are 18 on the offensive side of the ball, 22 on defense and three specialists.  There are 17 starters back, including eight on offense, eight on defense and the long snapper.

 
SEASON NO. 113

Coming off of the year-long celebration of 150 years of college football in 2019, the Mocs are competing in their 113th season.  The University of Chattanooga was founded in 1886 and football officially began play in 1904.  No teams were fielded in 1917 and 1918 due to World War I.  There was also a two-year hiatus from football action during World War II in 1943 and 1944.  The Mocs have an all-time record of 545-539-35 (.503) and have won 13 conference titles.

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