Chattanooga at Elon
Saturday, 1:30 p.m. ET
Rhodes Stadium (11,250) • Elon, N.C.
Radio: ESPN 105.1 FM
Series Record: Elon leads 6-4
Why Saturday is important
The Mocs hit the road this weekend for the first time since their Sept. 28 trip to Georgia Southern — a 23-21 loss. Chattanooga has since taken two straight from a pair of inferior opponents (Western Carolina and Furman), and looks to extend its winning streak to three games against an average-at-best Elon squad. UTC should be heavily favored for the third consecutive week, but the Phoenix have made strides this season. They captured their first Division I win of the season two weeks ago, beating Furman 28-25, before coming up a couple yards short last week at Wofford.
Three things you should know about Elon
The Phoenix are coming off an absolutely heartbreaking loss at Wofford. After jumping out to a 24-7 halftime advantage, the Terriers rallied in the final two quarters, eventually taking a 31-27 lead with just under six minutes to play. Elon, facing a first-and-goal situation from the 5-yard line, had a chance to reclaim the lead in the game’s closing seconds, but was stuffed on four straight running plays. ... Junior quarterback Mike Quinn is second in the league in passing offense (213.1 ypg), and his 11 touchdown passes are tied with UTC’s Jacob Huesman for second in the SoCon. ... Elon, under the direction of head coach Jason Swepson, has traditionally favored the passing game, but the Phoenix have also shown the ability to run the football this season. Through seven games, they’re fifth in the SoCon in rushing offense (149.4 ypg), and have already surpassed their 2012 rushing totals. Running backs Tracey Coppedge, B.J. Bennett and Karl Bostick have combined for 872 yards and nine touchdowns on the season.
What you should know about Elon coach Jason Swepson
Swepson, in his third season at Elon, became the 20th football coach in school history on January 10, 2011. He led the Phoenix to five wins in 2011, including a 41-34 win over then-No. 17 Furman. Elon struggled to a 3-8 finish in Swepson’s second year. Before becoming Elon’s head coach, Swepson spent 12 years as an assistant under Tom O’Brien at Boston College and North Carolina State. The 42-year old Boston College graduate has also served as an assistant at Bates College (1992), Rhode Island (1993), Boston University (1994-95), Holy Cross (1996) and Northeastern (1997-98). Swepson has compiled a 10-19 record at Elon, but he’s 0-2 against the Mocs.
Chattanooga player to watch
While quarterback Jacob Huesman ranks third in the SoCon in passing efficiency (145.8), the sophomore signal caller has had a rough couple of weeks. Huesman has fumbled twice, thrown an interception and been sacked a combined eight times in wins over Western Carolina and Furman. The 6-foot-1, 215-pounder feels due for a big game.
Elon player to watch
Senior Rasaun Rorie hasn’t been quite as dangerous as former Phoenix receiver Aaron Mellette, but he’s had a very solid season thus far. He’s hauled in at least five receptions in five of Elon’s seven games, including a nine-catch, 80-yard performance in last week’s loss at Wofford. He’s by far quarterback Mike Quinn’s favorite target.
Random facts to impress your friends
Elon holds a 6-4 series advantage over Chattanooga, but the Mocs have won two straight. UTC snapped a five-game losing streak to the Phoenix in 2011, claiming 48-7 victory, and defeated Elon 24-17 in last year’s regular-season finale. ... The Mocs lead the SoCon in total defense (303.0 ypg) and scoring defensive (18.0 ppg), and are ranked 8th and 10th in each category, respectively. ... Junior defensive end Davis Tull is second in the SoCon with 5.5 sacks on the year. The consensus All-American collected a career-high 3.5 sacks in last week’s 31-9 win over Furman. ... UTC running back Keon Williams is coming off his fourth 100-yard rushing performance of the season, piling up 101 yards and a touchdown a week ago against Furman. Williams is No. 3 in the SoCon in rushing yards (94.8 ypg), while his seven rushing touchdowns rank third in the league and 20th in the FCS.
“They’ve always been good and have a great scheme throwing the football. They’ve got a guy that can throw it really well and they’ve always had quality receivers. Now they’re just kind of mixing in a good running game and it just makes them harder to defend.”
— Chattanooga head coach Russ Huesman
The Mocs will win if ...
They get pressure on the quarterback. Elon’s Mike Quinn has attempted a SoCon-leading 248 passes on the season — 16 more than Samford’s Andy Summerlin — but he’s only been sacked five times. UTC got to the quarterback six times in last week’s win over Furman, and if the Mocs’ D-line delivers a repeat performance, Quinn’s season sack total could swell to double-digits by the end of the afternoon.
The Mocs will lose if ...
Elon is able to run the ball efficiently and stay on schedule offensively. If the Phoenix get into a lot of third-and-longs, look for defensive end Davis Tull and company to deliver another dynamite performance.
Chattanooga 38, Elon 21
Michael Murphy covers UTC athletics for Nooga.com. Follow him on Twitter @MichaelNooga.
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