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AP photo by Mike Stewart / The Citadel quarterback Brandon Rainey heads toward the end zone on a touchdown run against Georgia Tech on Sept. 14 in Atlanta. The Citadel won 27-24 in overtime.

UTC (5-5, 4-2 SoCon) vs. THE CITADEL (6-4, 4-2)

Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019

2 p.m. at Finley Stadium in Chattanooga

 

VIDEO & RADIO

ESPN+ & 97.7 FM/1070 AM

 

THE MATCHUP

The Bulldogs will bring to Finley their old-school option attack built on cut blocks, fullback dives, quarterback keepers and misdirection. This isn't a big-play offense, but it's one that can wear a defense down and eat the game clock. Coach Brent Thompson's team owns impressive wins this season against Georgia Tech and Southern Conference co-leader Furman and is coming off a rally against East Tennessee State led by, of all things, the passing game. Both The Citadel and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga have experienced, physical offensive lines, and the battle up front is where this game will be won or lost.

 

ONE TO WATCH

Option offenses are particularly difficult to defend against when the quarterback is a major threat. That is most definitely the case with Brandon Rainey, who leads the Bulldogs in rushing with 758 yards and has added 842 through the air (the most passing yards since Thompson took over as coach prior to the 2016 season). When they get close to the end zone, Rainey often calls his own number, with the quarterback's rushing touchdowns (16) almost three times that of any teammate.

 

IN THE END

The Mocs have had mixed results against option teams this year, with good defensive starts and poor finishes. The Bulldogs will get their yards, but so will the Mocs. The UTC passing game behind senior Nick Tiano — he's coming off his best game of the season, with 196 passing yards and 100 rushing yards in last Saturday's win at Samford — will be the difference as the program's seniors play their final home game.

 

PREDICTION

UTC 28, The Citadel 21

Contact Lindsey Young at lyoung@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6296. Follow him on Twitter @youngsports22.

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