UTC (5-3, 4-0) at WESTERN CAROLINA (6-2, 4-0)
Saturday, 2 p.m., E.J. Whitmire Stadium
Ultimately the game will be decided by the men on the field. But Mother Nature might also have a say in the outcome of this weekend's Southern Conference showdown in the mountains of North Carolina. When the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga travels to Western Carolina on Saturday, the game-time temperature is forecast to be 39 degrees with a 60-percent chance of snow and winds whipping at 23 mph.
Told about the likely frigid conditions, Mocs cornerback Jeremiah Hay, a Miami native who played one year of junior college ball in southern California, shook his head.
"I've never played in the snow in my life," Hay said. "The coldest game I've ever played in was about 70 degrees. I've never even had to wear the cold gear or long sleeves.
"I don't think it's a big deal to prepare for it, and it could be a fun experience."
UTC coach Russ Huesman said he couldn't remember playing in a game with snow since he took over the program, but added that he doubted it would be much of a factor.
Hay said he was more concerned with finding ways to quiet the Western Carolina crowd. The Catamounts drew a capacity crowd of more than 13,300 for last week's game against The Citadel and Saturday should be another sellout and playoff type atmosphere.
"We all prepare for moments like these," Hay said. "To go into an opponents house and quiet their crowd, there's nothing like that. As much fun as it is to hear the roar of the crowd at home it's just as much fun to hear silence on the road."
Huesman moving up offensive lists
UTC quarterback Jacob Huesman is closing in on some impressive program records. Only a junior, Huesman already has 6,996 all-purpose yards, just 251 shy of the Mocs record held by Chris Sanders. Huesman, who averages 221.4 yards of offense this season, had 458 last week including a career-best 359 passing. He needs 102 passing yards to move into second place in that category and is already second in wins as a starter, three behind the record.
Earlier this season Huesman, who is also on the Walter Payton Award watch list for the top offensive player in the FCS, became the first player in program history with 2,000 rushing and 4,000 passing yards.
Tull climbing national lists
As Huesman ascends the team's offensive leaderboard, teammate Davis Tull is closing in on a couple of national records. Tull, who has 8.5 sacks in his last six games and has 35 in his career, needs one more to move to No. 2 in the SoCon and is 1.5 from becoming the league's all-time leader. His total also ranks sixth all-time in the FCS, seven shy of the record, and he ranks second among active players in the FCS in career tackles for loss (56) and forced fumbles (10).
Contact Stephen Hargis at email@example.com or 423-757-6293.