Chattanooga Mocs football team facing new foes, mighty Alabama

photo Coach Russ Huesman watches practice at Scrappy Moore Field.

2013 Mocs football schedule

8/29 - UT Martin, 7 p.m.9/7 - at Georgia State, TBA9/14 - Austin Peay, 6 p.m.9/28 - at Georgia Southern, TBA10/5 - Western Carolina, 6 p.m.10/12 - Furman, 6 p.m.10/19 - at Elon ,TBA10/26 - The Citadel ,6 p.m.11/2 - at Appalachian State, TBA11/9 - Wofford, 2 p.m.11/16 - at Samford, TBA11/23 - at Alabama, TBA

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The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football team's 2013 schedule starts with three opponents the Mocs haven't faced in at least 20 years or ever.

Football Championship Subdivision teams can play a 12-game schedule next season and the Mocs' slate features six home games and a trip to Tuscaloosa, Ala., to face back-to-back BCS national champion Alabama.

"I think it's a great schedule, probably the best we've had since I've been here," said Mocs coach Russ Huesman, whose fifth season begins with a Thursday night game at Finley Stadium on Aug. 29, against UT-Martin.

The Mocs are 3-0 all-time against the Skyhawks, though the teams haven't met since 1993. They are scheduled to meet again in 2017 and '18.

In week two, UTC travels to the Georgia Dome in Atlanta for its first game against Georgia State. UTC lost running backs coach Thomas Brown to GSU earlier this month.

When the game was scheduled in 2011, it was to be a matchup of FCS teams. The Panthers are moving to the Sun Belt Conference in the fall, so this will be an FCS vs. Football Bowl Subdivision matchup. Georgia State is scheduled to visit Finley Stadium in 2014.

Georgia State also will play Samford and Jacksonville State next season.

The third game of UTC's season is against Austin Peay, whom the Mocs haven't played since 1968. UTC is 4-0 against the Governors.

Gone from the schedule are recent opponents such as Jacksonville State and Eastern Kentucky, whom UTC played multiple times in the past five years. Huesman said he liked adding some in-state opponents to the mix, as well as playing an Atlanta program.

"To have those natural rivalries, they should be rivals and we should play those games," he said. "For us to play teams like those, it's probably pretty good for us."

UTC is off Sept. 21 and then plays eight Southern Conference games in as many weeks before closing the season against the Crimson Tide. The Mocs have opened SoCon play the past three seasons against Appalachian State. Next season they open at Georgia Southern on Sept. 28.