This week’s matchup against the University of Tennessee Chattanooga Mocs (1-1, 0-0 SoCon) could be a turning point in Tennessee’s season if the Vols win, but a loss would not bode well for the Vols with SEC play starting next week.
Chattanooga is coming off a 41-20 loss against Jacksonville State, in which Jacksonville State ran and passed on the Mocs with ease, finishing with 344 passing yards and 165 yards on the ground.
Tennessee racked up 242 yards rushing and 176 passing yards against BYU.
“[Against BYU was] probably the best we’ve been able to run the football against a quality opponent in some time,” Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt said in a press conference Monday. “Really felt like our running backs done a really nice job making guys miss, finishing runs off.”
Though the Moc defense was susceptible to the pass last week, Tennessee may elect to lean on the run after the Vols’ offensive line was able to create some large holes in the BYU defense.
The Chattanooga attack could feature true freshman running back Ailym Ford, who rushed for 131 yards on 22 carries last week. Tennessee gave up 92 yards and two touchdowns to BYU lead back Ty’Son Williams.
Chattanooga got an interception last week and gave up just one turnover when Jeffery Wood II fumbled on the Mocs’ final possession of the game. Tennessee gave up one turnover against BYU on a Jarrett Guarantano interception, but the Vols failed to create any turnovers.
“The difference in the first two games has been turning the football over and not getting turnovers, bottom line,” Pruitt said.
Tennessee is a 28-point favorite over Chattanooga as of Thursday, but the Vols lost to Georgia State just two games ago after entering the game as a 26-point favorite.
The Vols are unlikely to overlook Chattanooga after losing two-straight games they were favored in, but the Mocs may smell blood in the water going up against a reeling Tennessee team.
Christian Knox, sports editor – Tennessee 41, Chattanooga 9
Tennessee’s offensive line will open up big lanes and Ty Chandler and Eric Gray will take advantage. The Vols will shut down the Moc attack in the red zone all game. Down early, Chattanooga will be forced to pass, and the Mocs will not be able to get it done through the air.
Dusty Brian, assistant sports editor – Tennessee 38, Chattanooga 10
Tennessee should get an easy win against its in-state FCS foe Saturday. The Vols’ young offensive line is starting to gel, which should bode well for the run game. Expect to see Tennessee have a lot of success on the ground against the Mocs.
Game Time and Coverage
Tennessee will take on Chattanooga in Neyland Stadium on Sept. 14. Kickoff is slated for noon. Fans can watch the game on the SEC Network. TNJN will have more coverage on Tennessee vs. Chattanooga following the game.
Edited by Ainsley Kelso and Dusty Brian
Featured Image by Ben Gleason