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Wofford linbacker Tyreik Lyles sacks UTC quarterback Alejandro Bennifield in one of the final plays of the Mocs' home football game against the Wofford Terriers at Finely Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2016, in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Last Saturday's performance by the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football team against Football Bowl Subdivision top-ranked Alabama was no accident.

There had been a solid week of preparation leading up to the game, which was as competitive as could have been expected.

Going forward, the Mocs are confident that if they put similar preparation and performances together they can win in the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs.

Coming off a lackluster four-game stretch in which they went 2-2, the Mocs may have picked up some steam heading into Saturday's first-round home game against Weber State. They executed offensively, made some plays defensively and generally did more against the Crimson Tide than they were supposed to do.

Offensively, the Mocs marched right down the field on the opening possession, with an impressive 10-play, 50-yard drive that included three Alejandro Bennifield first-down pass completions to C.J. Board.

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"When you play guys like that, usually you come in, you don't think you're going to do too well," Bennifield said. "Once we started going, guys got confidence and now we know that if we can play with them, we can play with anybody and nobody should be able to compete with us.

"We moved the ball pretty well and did more than what people expected us to do. That's all you can ask for."

Defensively, the Mocs held the Crimson Tide to their second-lowest yardage total of the season and forced punts on their first two series on defense. All of that led to a 3-0 lead after a quarter, only the second time Alabama had been trailing after a quarter all season long.

"We've seen we can go out there and play with those guys, so we just want to keep that momentum," linebacker Nakevion Leslie said. "We have to carry it into the playoffs with that energy and enthusiasm of wanting to play big-time football."

Coach Russ Huesman acknowledged that the Mocs had some self-evaluation, led by the senior class, and realized they hadn't been playing well and wanted to rectify that.

Now that they are in the playoffs, they're hoping to build on it.

"We are going to have to practice well, prepare well, take care of the little things and pay attention to the details," Huesman said. "From here on out, if you don't practice and you don't prepare, you will get beat."

Contact Gene Henley at ghenley@timesfreepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @genehenleytfp.

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