The Citadel treating UTC's visit as 'just another conference game'

Southern Conference

If The Citadel was overly excited about its top-10 football battle Saturday with the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, it didn't act like it Tuesday.

At least some of the eighth-ranked Bulldogs played down the matchup against the third-ranked Mocs, calling it "just another conference game."

photo Southern Conference

It is another Southern Conference game, but it is also the league's biggest in terms of rankings since 2012, when ninth-ranked Georgia Southern defeated No. 4 Wofford 17-9 in Statesboro, Ga. And Saturday's game in Charleston, S.C, involves two programs that don't have a lot of history in top-10 league meetings.

It will be UTC's first game against another top-10 SoCon team in its history, and it will be only the third time the Bulldogs have hosted a top-10 matchup at Johnson Hagood Stadium. The previous two times were in 1992.

"Chattanooga is a top-five team, and they are a top-five team for a reason," The Citadel coach Brent Thompson told reporters Tuesday. "They've got great personnel, they are well coached and they are very fundamental. They've got playmakers on offense and on defense. Their offense run-to-pass ratio is fairly even, they do a nice job and they have some playmakers there.

"We've got our hands full this week, for sure, but I do know this, they've got their hands full when they come to Johnson Hagood Stadium. We know we're going to have a good crowd here, our players will be excited to be playing back at home and I know it will be a packed house."

The Citadel linebacker Tevin Floyd said there has been a buzz around campus about the game, which starts at 3 p.m. and will be televised on Fox Sports Southeast.

"They're excited and they should be," he said. "All we can do is play the game and give them something to be excited about. They (UTC) are good and you have to be your best every time you play."

The teams shared the 2015 SoCon championship, with the Mocs taking the automatic bid as a result of their 31-23 win over the Bulldogs. Each team has similar sights and goals for this season, and as the last two undefeated teams in league play, they could be determining the eventual conference winner Saturday.

"It's just another conference game," Bulldogs A-back Cam Jackson said. "Of course we both know it's a top-10 matchup and we're undefeated, but the most important thing is that it's another conference game and we have to win it.

"Every conference game is just as important as the next."

Players of the week

Samford's Devlin Hodges, UTC's Montrell Pardue and Wofford's David Marvin were named the SoCon offensive, defensive and special teams players of the week, respectively.

Hodges threw for 411 yards and three scores and rushed for another in the Bulldogs' 38-21 win over Furman. Pardue had eight tackles and an interception returned for a touchdown against Mercer, and Marvin set a school record and tied the conference record with a 57-yard field goal in the Terriers' 31-19 win over Western Carolina. Marvin was also 4-for-4 on extra points, recorded a 57-yard average on three punts and had four touchbacks.

Contact Gene Henley at Follow him on Twitter @genehenleytfp.