Monday, May 12, 2014

2014 Football Preview: Chattanooga

This article is part of a series previewing the Terriers' 2014 football opponents. Wofford visits Chattanooga after the off week.

The Terriers will get a break (which, considering Wofford's history of injury troubles, will most likely be a welcome one) after the first four SoCon games on the 2014 slate, which include The Citadel, Western Carolina, Samford, and VMI.  After this off week comes the Chattanooga Mocs, who have recently risen as one of the SoCon's top powers.  The game, on November 18, will be the second straight Terriers/Mocs contest played in Chattanooga.

Last year, the Terriers' offense wasn't there, and we had a lot of missed opportunities in the 20-10 loss to the Mocs. In 2012, however, the Terriers won a close battle in overtime, one which cemented the Terriers' playoff hopes.
The game was also very important in 2011, as Wofford battled back from a 21-7 deficit to win 28-27, giving the Terriers an at-large playoff bid, which was ended abruptly at Northern Iowa.

The Mocs, under Russ Huesman, finished last season 8-4 (6-2 SoCon).  This resulted in a three-way tie at the top of the SoCon standings, between the Mocs, Samford, and Furman.  However, as Furman held the tiebreaker over Samford, who in turn held it over Chattanooga, the Mocs did not make the playoffs.

Chattanooga's 2013 Season

Chattanooga dropped the season opener to UT-Martin, 31-21. Two blowout wins ensued, against Georgia State (42-14) and Austin Peay (42-10), before the advent of SoCon play. 

After a slim 23-21 loss to Georgia Southern, the Mocs disposed of Western Carolina (42-21), Furman (31-9), and Elon (20-9), which was the beginning of a six-game winning streak. This stretch continued with a 28-24 home win against The Citadel, and a road win by a touchdown over Appalachian State (35-28). The aforementioned win over the Terriers would be the Mocs' final victory.  Their fate was decided by a tough overtime loss by a field goal, 17-14, to Samford.  Chattanooga closed the season with a 49-0 loss to Alabama.

The Game

Again I will bring up the topic of the Terriers' postseason hopes this season. It is pretty much necessary to have seven Division I wins, and Wofford plays nine of those games this year.  Seven of those make up the SoCon slate.  The other two are our FBS game against Georgia Tech and a contest against Gardner-Webb. Considering the relative improbability of a win at Georgia Tech, but a likely (or at least very possible) win over GWU, the Terriers will most likely need to win at least six games on the SoCon schedule.

A win over the Mocs will not only contribute to the playoff cause, but will be a big factor in deciding the Terriers' role in this "new" SoCon for seasons to come.

In my opinion, this game on November 18, in Chattanooga's Finley Stadium, is a must-win for the Terriers.

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