Austin Peay at Chattanooga
Saturday, 6 p.m. ET
Finley Stadium (21,688) • Chattanooga, Tenn.
Radio: ESPN 105.1 FM
Series Record: Chattanooga leads 4-0
Why Saturday is important
Chattanooga was down after its season-opening loss to UT Martin, but last week’s 42-14 win at Georgia State showed it wasn’t out. Not only did the UTC capture a much-needed victory over the Panthers, but it did so in dominating fashion. The question is, can the Mocs deliver that kind of performance when their backs aren’t against the wall — like on Saturday, against a team they should be favored to beat.
Three things to know about Austin Peay
The Governors are 0-2, but that’s nothing to be ashamed of considering the squad’s early-season competition. They opened the 2013 campaign with a crushing, 45-0 defeat at Tennessee before being throttled by Vanderbilt, 38-3, the following week. APSU plays a school-record three FBS programs in 2013 (Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Ohio). ... The Govs have lost 18 consecutive road games dating back to the 2010 season, and they haven’t scored a single touchdown since the third quarter of their 2012 win over Tennessee Tech — a stretch of 141:54. ... Senior running back Tim Phillips, along with teammate Leron Eaddy, transferred to APSU prior to the season, joining first-year head coach Kirby Cannon in his move south from Central Michigan.
What you should know about Austin Peay head coach Kirby Cannon
A 30-year coaching veteran, Cannon has seen just about every level of college football. He most recently was an assistant at Central Michigan (2010-13), helping lead the Chippewas to a win over Western Kentucky in the 2012 Little Caesars Pizza Bowl. ... His longest stop was as the head coach at Missouri S&T (1999-2009). There he patiently rebuilt a struggling program that had fallen off. In total, his record was only 35-86, but he’d led the team to a conference title by the end of his tenure. ... Other stops in Cannon’s career include Truman State, Northern Michigan, Iowa State and Western Illinois. ... Cannon graduated from Missouri State in 1981, where he played both football and baseball for the Bears.
Chattanooga player to watch
Junior Terrell Robinson played in the second half of Saturday’s win at Georgia State, but the game was already pretty much decided by the time his suspension expired. Saturday will offer the first real opportunity to see how the versatile Robinson is utilized in the offense. Expect a lot of touches for the 6-foot-3, 200-pounder, and possibly some snaps at quarterback, too.
Austin Peay player to watch
The Governors haven’t had much success this season, but the majority of their offensive production has come from running back Tim Phillips. Phillips, who is averaging 6.2 yards per carry, has run for 105 yards this season. 48 of those yards came on a single run against the Commodores, setting up APSU’s only points of the season — a 20-yard field goal.
Random facts to impress your friends
Saturday’s game marks the first in the series since 1968, and the first game played in Chattanooga since 1967. ... Saturday has been tabbed Social Media Night at UTC. Fans can use the hashtag #GoMocs for the opportunity to participate in contests on and off the field, request songs for the pregame playlist and much more. ... The Mocs are sixth in the nation in rushing offense (271.5 ypg), and they’re 11th in fewest penalty yards (25.5 ypg). ... Quarterback Jacob Huesman leads the SoCon and is No. 29 in the FCS in total offense (242.0 ypg). ... Junior tight end Faysal Shafaat has already hauled in four touchdowns in 2013 — he had five all of last season. He leads the SoCon and is fifth in the country in scoring.
“I think the overall team speed, which gets most FCS programs, got them in the long run. Austin Peay didn’t back down one bit, and I think they’ve got a pretty good football team,” said head coach Russ Huesman, referring to the Governors’ 0-2 start.
The Mocs will win if ...
They can get off to a fast start offensively. Finding the end zone on each of their first two possessions did wonders for the team’s confidence at Georgia State. The defense fed off that energy, too. Putting Austin Peay in an early hole would drastically increase UTC’s chance at a win.
The Mocs will lose if ...
They commit too many mental mistakes. Chattanooga looks like the more talented team on paper, but a couple of turnovers or too many penalties by the Mocs would serve as an equalizer.
Chattanooga 35, Austin Peay 10
Michael Murphy covers UTC athletics for Nooga.com. Follow him on Twitter @MichaelNooga.
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