Monday, July 6, 2020

2020 Football Preseason Preview: Chattanooga Mocs

Throughout this preseason, Purple & Gold will preview all of Western Carolina's 2020 football opponents.

In the Catamounts' fifth game of the 2020 season, the Cats host University of Tennessee Chattanooga Mocs for Homecoming 2020.  

Western faces the Mocs for the 47th time on the gridiron, since 1973.

Game #5 - UT Chattanooga Mocs

When: Saturday, October 3 at TBA
Where: E. J. Whitmire Stadium, Cullowhee, NC
Radio: Catamount Sports Network
TV/video: TBA

The Series: In the 47th meeting between the two teams, the Cats own a 17-29 record against the Mocs. The Cats have lost 2 straight to the Mocs, Speir has a 1-6 record versus the Mocs.

Last Game vs. Chattanooga (September 28, 2019) - Strong Offensive, Special Teams Efforts Not Enough in Loss at UTC - Chattanooga, Tenn. – On the strength of a 17-yard touchdown pass from Tyrie Adams to tight end Owen Cosenke and a two-point conversion rush by Curtis Roach on a fake PAT, Western Carolina closed to within one score, 44-36, with just under six minutes remaining in the third quarter of an offensive Saturday afternoon. However, the Chattanooga Mocs pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 60-36 Southern Conference victory at Finley Stadium. The two teams combined for 1,086 combined yards of total offense.

Last Season's Record (2019 - UTC): 6-6 overall, 4-2 home, 2-4 away, 5-3 SoCon  (The Mocs had conference wins over Western, Mercer, ETSU, Samford, and the Citadel)

Games that will be played by the Mocs this season before the WCU contest: 4 games - This is the 5th game of the season for Chattanooga. UTC opens the season at Western Kentucky then travles to James Madison before returning for their home opener against North Alabama, followed the next weekend to open SoCon play against VMI in Chattanooga. 

Head CoachRusty Wright - Rusty Wright is in his second year as head coach of the Mocs football program. He was officially introduced on Friday, Dec. 21, 2018. A 22-year veteran of the collegiate coaching ranks, Wright is a 1996 graduate of UTC with a degree in Sports Administration. He was a four-year letter winner for the Mocs football team and had two stints as an assistant coach at UTC. “I am extremely excited to announce Rusty Wright as the next head coach of Chattanooga Football,” stated UTC Director of Athletics Mark Wharton. “Once again, our program, University, and community attracted an outstanding candidate pool.”

Offensive Formation: Multiple
-2019 Offense: 26.3 ppg. (63rd in FCS)
Defensive Formation: Multiple
- 2019 Defense: 30.0 ppg. (80th in FCS)
Starters Returning/Lost:  18  /   8
Offensive starters - Returning/Lost:  9 /  2
Defensive starters - Returning/Lost:  8 / 3
Special Teams - Returning/Lost:  2 / 3

The Mocs should be an improved team over last season even with the loss of Nick Tiano at quarterback.

Offense:  The Mocs hace 24 letter winners and eight starters back from 2019 on the offensive side of the ball, four starters return to the offensive line. The Mocs lost starting QB Nick Tiano to graduation but return senior Drayton Arnold who played in three games off the bench last year. Junior Cole Copland, who was the starter in 2017 has rejoined the team.  Of the 18 who caught a pass last year, 14 return, senior receiver Bryce Nunnelly was second in the conference and No. 6 in the FCS with 112.5 receiving yards per game in 2018 and sophomore Ailym Ford led the Mocs and all freshmen in the FCS and FBS with 108.1 yards per game.  Senior OL Cole Strange has started 28 consecutive games at left guard moved over to center for most of The Citadel game in place of injured starter Noah Ramsey.  Senior TE Chris James converted to TE from QB last season and earned 1st Team All-SoCon. 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.

Defense: 26 letter winners and eight starters back on llthe defensive side of the ball. Senior Brandon Dowdell is a two-time first-team All-SoCon defensive back with five career INTs.  enior Jordan Jones led the SoCon with 12 passes defended while junior Devonnsha Maxwell tied the SoCon lead with 7.0 sacks. Junior Ty Boeck was second on the team and sixth in the SoCon with 101 tackles while 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.

2019 Mocs Statistics:
Rushing Offense: 2568 yards on 496 attempts
Yards per game: 198
Yards per rush: 4.8 yards
Rushing 1st downs: 123
TDs rushing: 26
Passing Offense: 2306 yards or 192 yards per game
Avg. per pass: 6.8 yards
Passing 1st downs: 100
Passing Comp-Att-Int: 180-340-12
TDs Passing: 15
Total Offense: 4678 yards or 390 yards per game
Fumbles-Lost: 12-8
3d Down Conversions: 69 - 170  (40%)
4th Down Conversions: 10 - 20 (50%)
Field goal attempts:11-17
On-side kicks: 0-0
Red Zone Scores: 39 of 50  (78%)
Red Zone Touchdowns: 29 of 50 (53%)
PAT:  32 - 36 (89%)

Game prediction: Per the Massey Ratings, the Cats have only a 26% probability of winning (24-33) over the Mocs.