Friday, July 28, 2023

Preseason Previews: Game #6 - Chattanooga Mocs

Throughout this preseason, Purple & Gold will preview all of Western's 2023 football opponents. In the Catamount's sixth regular season game of the 2023 season, the Cats travel to Chattanooga to face the Chattanooga Mocs.  

Western faces the Mocs for the 49th time on the gridiron, since 1973. Last year the Cats knocked the Mocs out of playoff contention with a 32-29 victory in Cullowhee, and this year the Cats get to ruin Homecoming for the Mocs. See you in Chattanooga. 

Game #6 
           Chattanooga Mocs

When: Saturday, October 7, 2023
Time:  4:00 pm
Where:   Finley Stadium, Chattanooga, TN
Radio: Catamount Sports Network
   -announcers: Gary Ayers, PxP; Daniel Hooker, Color
TV/video:  ESPN+
Live Stats:  UTC Live Stats
Fan Message Board:  Moc Nation
Game Notes:  Western Carolina    -     Chattanooga

The Series: In the 49th meeting between the two teams, the Cats own an 18-30 record against the Mocs. The Cats broke a 3-game-losing streak to the Mocs last season, and travel to Chattanooga where the Cats on a 7-16 record in games played in Chattanooga. 

Last Game vs. Chattanooga: (10-19-22) Catamounts Upset #15 Chattanooga, 32-29, on Senior Day  Cullowhee, N.C. – Senior tailback TJ Jones capped a five-minute, game-winning drive late in the fourth quarter with a one-yard plunge as Western Carolina capped its 2022 season with an upset victory over No. 15 Chattanooga 32-29 in Southern Conference action on Saturday afternoon at Bob Waters Field / E.J. Whitmire Stadium.

Last Season's Record (2021):  7-4 overall, 4-1 home, 3-3 away, 5-3 SoCon  

Head CoachRusty Wright - Rusty Wright is in his fifth year as head coach of the Mocs football program. He was officially introduced on Friday, Dec. 21, 2018. A 23-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

Record at UTC: 22-17 (5th year) 

Rusty Wright vs. WCU:  3 - 1
Kerwin Bell vs. UTC:  1 - 1

Offense: Multiple 
Returning/Lost: 8/3 
2-Deep Returning/Lost: 15/7 

Defense: Multiple 
Starters Returning/Lost: 7/4 
2-Deep Returning/Lost: 14/8 

Specialists (K/LS) 
Starters Returning/Lost: 1/2 

Redshirts/Newcomers: 18/41
(23 Freshmen/18 Transfers)

In preseason SoCon voting, the Mocs were picked to finish fourth in the standings by both the coaches and media polls. The Mocs received votes in the Athlon Sports’ preseason national rankings, put eight players on the preseason All-SoCon teams along with sporting the SoCon's Defensive Player of the Year, senior, defensive lineman Jay Person. 

The Mocs returns 14 players who made starts in 2022 on the offensive side of the ball. On defense, they return 12 with starts under their belt.  Senior running back Ailym Ford, has rushed for three 1,000-yard seasons. He is coming off a career-best 1,199 leading the SoCon in yards per game.

Offense. On offense, the Mocs will have a new look, as their starting quarterback and top three leading rushers from 2022 will not be on this season's team.  Graduate transfer Chase Artopoeus, who comes over from UCLA,  is expected to take over the quarterback position.  In the backfield, it'll be Ailym Ford, who gained 1,190 yards and 12 TDs on 230 carries in 2022. In the receiving corps, the Mocs return Sam Phillips and Jamoi Mays, who were on the receiving end of most of the receptions for Chattanooga in 2022.  We expect head coach Rusty Wright to play to the Mocs' strength in the passing game. 

Defense. The Mocs return a lot of talent on the defensive side of the football, as seven of last season's starters return. Cornerback Kam Brown and edge-rusher Jay Person have been tabbed as 2023 FCS preseason All-Americans.  Pearson, a senior, had 52 tackles and sacks (8).  Bown, a senior had 11 passes defended, finishing top five nationally with six interceptions. While the Mocs lose their leading tacklers in linebackers Ty Boeck and Kam Jones, they return Bo Spearman and sophomore standout Alex Mitchell.

2022 Mocs Statistics (11 games):
Rushing Offense: 1763 yards 
Yards per game: 160
Yards per rush: 4.2 yards
Rushing 1st downs: 84
TDs rushing: 21
Passing Offense: 2738 yards or 249 yards per game
Avg. per pass: 8.5 yards
Passing 1st downs: 135
Passing Comp-Att-Int: 195-324-11            
TDs Passing: 17
Total Offense: 45 01 yards or 409 yards per game
Fumbles-Lost: 11-4
3d Down Conversions: 60 of 141 (43%)
4th Down Conversions: 5 of 13 (38%)
Field goal attempts: 11 - 19
On-side kicks: 0-0
Red Zone Scores: 37 of 46  (80%)
Red Zone Touchdowns: 27 of  46 (59%)
PAT:  39 of 40 (98%)

No comments: