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Staff photo by C.B. Schmelter / UTC football coach Rusty Wright and his team are preparing for their second Thursday night game of the season. They won their first, beating Eastern Illinois 24-10 to open the schedule on Aug. 29 at Finley Stadium.

UTC (3-3, 2-0 SoCon) vs. ETSU (2-4, 0-3)

Thursday, Oct. 17, 2019

7 p.m. at Finley Stadium in Chattanooga

 

VIDEO & RADIO

ESPN+ & 97.7 FM

 

THE MATCHUP

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and East Tennessee State University are, at least philosophically, very similar football teams. Each offense would prefer to establish the run and take shots downfield when the opportunities present themselves; each defense likes to focus on stopping the run and letting its talented secondary handle the rest. The past two meetings have been defensive struggles, with the Mocs winning 10-3 at Finley in 2017 and the host Buccaneers prevailing 17-14 last year. ETSU is seventh in the Southern Conference in total offense at 352 yards per game this season, just behind UTC (354). The Bucs are second in total defense, allowing 351 yards per contest, with the Mocs fifth (418).

 

ONE TO WATCH

The ETSU backfield. The Bucs have two of the SoCon's top nine all-purpose performers in Quay Holmes and former Marion County standout Jacob Saylors, who combine to average 225 yards per game. Holmes (6-foot-1, 216 pounds) does most of his damage between the tackles, while the Bucs like to get the ball to Saylors (5-11, 190) in open space.

 

IN THE END

The Mocs will ride their physical offensive line and the bruising running of Ailym Ford to win a slugfest. On defense, they will force ETSU freshman quarterback Trey Mitchell to beat them, and while he will make some plays, there won't be enough.

 

PREDICTION

UTC 24, ETSU 21

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

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