Mocs Gameday: at Samford

Mocs Gameday: at Samford

November 4th, 2011 by John Frierson in Local Regional News

UTC (4-5, 2-4) at Samford (5-3, 3-3)

12 p.m. • Seibert Stadium • 105.1 FM

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga has to win its last two games to have a third straight winning season. The Mocs crushed Samford 48-14 a year ago, but the Bulldogs are one of the most improved teams in the Southern Conference in 2011. UTC's defense will face a challenge in Samford's up-tempo offense, while UTC's offense has to find a way to be productive.

WHEN UTC HAS THE BALL

UTC OFFENSIVE STARTERS

QB Terrell Robinson (17) 6-3, 195, Fr.

TB J.J. Jackson (26) 5-9, 200, Jr.

FB Taharin Tyson (2) 5-11, 225, Fr.

WR Joel Bradford (4) 6-0, 165, Sr.

WR Marlon Anthony (3) 6-5, 205, So.

TE Faysal Shafaat (88) 6-5, 240, Fr.

LT Brandon Morgan (73) 6-2, 280, Fr.

LG Austin Wilson (54) 6-3, 265, Jr.

C Patrick Sutton (72) 6-1, 255, Fr.

RG Kevin Revis (52) 6-2, 275, So.

RT Adam Miller (53) 6-4, 275, Jr.

PK Nick Pollard (30) 6-0, 180, Fr.

SAMFORD DEFENSIVE STARTERS

DE Austin Hayes (93) 6-2, 254, Sr.

DT Nicholas Williams (94) 6-4, 310, Jr.

DT Devyn Keith (75) 6-1, 275, Sr.

DE Alex Davis (96) 6-2, 247, Sr.

SLB Durrell Hill (13) 6-2, 238, Jr.

MLB Keith Shoulders (35) 6-1, 236, Jr.

WLB Darion Sutton (28) 6-2, 235, Jr.

CB Tae Lewis (39) 5-11, 194, So.

SS Alvin Hines II (21) 6-1, 217, Jr.

FS Omar Johnson (25) 5-11, 203, Sr.

CB Corey White (3) 6-1, 205, Sr.

P Greg Peranich (95) 6-4, 170, Fr.

• The matchup: The good news for UTC's offense is that it can't perform much worse than it did last week against Furman (169 total yards). The better news is that Samford ranks eighth in the Southern Conference in total defense, allowing 389.6 yards a game. The Mocs' offensive line needs a bounce-back performance against a solid, but unspectacular, Samford front four. Despite some health issues at quarterback, UTC should be able to run the ball just fine if the line plays well.

WHEN SAMFORD HAS THE BALL

SAMFORD OFFENSIVE STARTERS

QB Dustin Taliaferro (10) 6-3, 225, Sr.

RB Fabian Truss (2) 5-9, 190, So.

HB David Strider (46) 6-0, 260, Sr.

WR Riley Hawkins (6) 5-10, 194, Jr.

WR Kelsey Pope (11) 6-0, 205, So.

TE Zeke Walters (88) 6-3, 236, So.

LT Charlie Sanford (74) 6-3, 300, Jr.

LG George Allers (78) 6-4, 290, Jr.

C Ryan Dudchock (57) 6-2, 290, Jr.

RG Joe Collins (58) 6-2, 280, Sr.

RT Jacob Kirschenbaum (68) 6-4, 290, Jr.

PK Cameron Yaw (45) 5-11, 180, Jr.

UTC DEFENSIVE STARTERS

DE Davis Tull (90) 6-3, 235, Fr.

DT Keyon Reed (94) 6-2, 245, Fr.

DT Josh Freeman (55) 6-0, 270, Fr.

DE Josh Williams (95) 6-2, 235, Jr.

SLB Ryan Consiglio (45) 6-1, 220, Sr.

MLB Wes Dothard (25) 6-1, 235, So.

WLB Gunner Miller (11) 6-1, 225, So.

CB Kadeem Wise (5) 5-10, 180, So.

FS Jordan Tippit (22) 6-0, 205, Sr.

SS Chris Lewis-Harris (6) 5-11, 175, Sr.

CB Chaz Moore (1) 5-10, 165, So.

P Joel Bradford (4) 6-0, 165, Sr.

• The matchup: The most improved player in the SoCon this season may be Samford quarterback Dustin Taliaferro. After a rough 2010, Taliaferro is thriving in the Bulldogs' creative, high-speed system. The Mocs will not only need to give Taliaferro trouble with a good pass rush, but they also have to watch out for running back Fabian Truss and a solid receiving crops. Truss is very explosive and doesn't need much room to make big things happen.

THE ONE TO WATCH

Joel Bradford: The UTC senior wide receiver and punter has been more of the latter and less of the former in recent weeks. Bradford's rugby-style punts have been effective - two have bounced off blockers and led to turnovers and the rest have not been returned - and he's also successfully run two fakes. On offense, UTC needs to get the ball in the All-American's hands more often by any means possible, be it short passes, bombs or running plays.

IN THE END

• Breakdown: The Bulldogs have won four of their last five games and their only losses this season have been to SoCon stalwarts Appalachian State, Georgia Southern and Wofford. The Mocs' defense is one of the best in the FCS and should be able to slow down Samford, but UTC has plenty of offensive questions. If Robinson (foot) or B.J. Coleman (shoulder) was 100 percent healthy, the edge would be UTC's. But the game could ride on the play of backup Graham Nichols.

• Prediction: Samford 21, UTC 17

For complete coverage of the game, see Sunday's Times Free Press. You can also follow beat writer John Frierson on Twitter during the game at twitter.com/mocsbeatCTFP.