Jamaal Fobbs remembers well his only game in Nebraska's Memorial Stadium, a place he'll revisit Saturday when the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga opens its season against the No. 10 Cornhuskers.
The Mocs' running backs coach faced Nebraska twice during his four seasons at Oklahoma State (1997-2000), where he was a productive tailback and kick returner. At Memorial Stadium in 1999, Fobbs led OSU with 67 rushing yards and touchdown and he had a 27-yard catch in a 38-14 defeat.
"Everybody knows about Nebraska, and it was exciting to go up there and play," Fobbs said. "You might think that Nebraska fans would have been a little bit older crowd so the noise wouldn't have been an issue, but no, those people get revved up up there."
The crowd in Lincoln was noisy, he said, but also surprisingly polite.
"After the game, after we just got beat, we think the fans are going to be [taunting us] but they were like, 'Hey, great job' and 'Try again next year,'" he said. "It wasn't like some of the other crowds that we experienced. They were more of a pat you on the back type of crowd, but it gets pretty loud in there. That's one of the loudest places I have experienced."
In his two games against the Huskers, he rushed for a combined 122 yards and scored a touchdown in each game. Fobbs finished his career with 1,847 yards rushing and his 1,067 return yards is second all-time at OSU.
'Huge' opener for Samford
The Southern Conference begins its 90th season of football this weekend and the only game between league teams will take place in Birmingham, where Samford hosts Georgia Southern, ranked No. 3 in the FCS Coaches' poll.
While the Eagles are coming off a 10-5 season that included a run to the semifinals of the playoffs, Samford lost its last three games and finished 4-7.
"It's a huge game," Samford coach Pat Sullivan said. "You get the No. 3-ranked team in the country coming in and at the beginning of the year there's an awful lot of excitement anyway."
Western Carolina will be the first SoCon team to take the field this season when they visit Georgia Tech tonight.
Sutton to start at center
Redshirt freshman Patrick Sutton will start at center for the No. 23-ranked Mocs, having edged out true freshman Shaun Hill for the job. The two were splitting first-team snaps during the preseason until Hill missed a few days late in camp with a foot injury.
"Patrick's done better lately, his snaps have been better, and Shaun's still coming along," offensive line coach Geep Wade said.
Wade said the offensive line has made strides in the last week or so after struggling early in the preseason.
UTC announced a promotion Wednesday that will reward five buyers if the Mocs eclipse 3,000 in season-ticket sales. UTC is about 130 short of the school record of 2,678. All season ticket holders will be entered into a drawing to receive game-related prizes. ... UT-Martin coach Jason Simpson said at his news conference Monday that the Skyhawks will play Nebraska next season.