The Chattanooga Mocs signed on the dotted line with an old foe recently. Football goes back in time to travel to old Southern Conference friend Georgia Southern in 2030.
It's a 1-game series between the two with GSU now a member of the Sun Belt Conference.
"Obviously, I wasn't here for the series," Vice-Chancellor and Director of Athletics Mark Wharton said. "Our fans know Georgia Southern and will enjoy this opportunity against an old rival. I've heard plenty of stories from people here about the games against the Eagles. I suspect we'll have a nice crowd make the familiar trip to Statesboro."
Head Coach Rusty Wright played and coached in the series for the Mocs. His memories include an exciting 23-21 triumph in Chattanooga in 1996 in his first year of coaching.
"It was a mud pit up at Chamberlain (Field)," Wright smiled. "It rained for three days before the game and during it too. I'm not sure they wanted to be there that afternoon. We played pretty well and found a way to win."
Good day to play a triple-option team? "It didn't hurt."
Tyrone Coleman ran for 112 yards while Scott Kielblock hit three field goals.
The Mocs and Eagles squared off 27 times with a majority of the matchups coming as co-members of the SoCon from 1992 to 2013. The three most memorable wins?
2006: 27-26 in Finley Stadium as Esteban Lopez nailed a walk-off 38-yard field goal for the win. Down 20-14 late in the third quarter, Matt Lopez engineered three scoring drives in the last 16+ minutes with a 13-yard pass to Michael Gilmore for the lead, 21-20. Esteban hit two fourth quarter FGs from 25 and 38 yards sandwiching a GSU TD for the victory at the buzzer.
2007: 45-38 OT thriller in Statesboro to make it two in a row in the series. Receiver Thomas Hinton caught a 25-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Antonio Miller on the Mocs' second play from scrimmage in overtime. The extra point made it 45-38 while the defense allowed just one yard on four plays for the triumph.
2010: 35-27 win over the 18th-ranked Eagles coming back from a 10-point first-half deficit. That was buoyed by a crowd of 17,414 packed into Finley rooting on their Mocs. Erroll Wynn (1 yd), B.J. Coleman (11) and J.J. Jackson (3) scored on runs, while Coleman connected on TDs with Chris Awuah (46) and Brian Sutherland (43).
The last time the two sides hooked up was Sept. 28, 2013, in Statesboro. It was a heartbreaker for the good guys in a 23-21 loss. Younghoe Koo's 26-yard field goal with 1:56 remaining proved to be the game-winner.
It came after a golden opportunity for the Mocs to salt the game away. On third-and-nine at the 10, defensive back Chaz Moore forced a hurried pitch by Jerick McKinnon. The ball bounced on the ground a bit before Tray Butler narrowly beat a couple of UTC defenders to cover it up.
The Mocs took a 21-17 lead early in the fourth quarter on a 57-yard catch-and-run by Keon Williams from Jacob Huesman. Williams scored twice that day leading the Mocs comeback from a 17-7 first-half deficit.
The defense allowed just two touchdowns on the day, but three Koo FG proved to be the difference along with 11 penalties. The big one came inside 10 minutes to play.
Huesman faked a handoff to Marquis Green and looked deep on the post route. Tommy Hudson had his man beat by five yards hauling it in at the goal line for the apparent score. However, it was called back for an ineligible receiver downfield. The drive later stalled at the 37 leading to a 27-yard Nick Pollard punt to the 10 with 8:52 to play. The 15th-ranked Eagles mounted a 14-play, 71-yard drive ending on Koo's foot. GSU ate up 7:04 of clock time with the drive and finished with a 33:35 to 26:25 advantage in time of possession.
It was just one of two SoCon losses on the year for the Mocs finishing 8-4 overall and 6-2 in the league sharing the conference title with Samford and Furman in Georgia Southern and Appalachian State's final year in the SoCon. It was the first of three-straight trophies as Chattanooga won 23 of its next 25 league contests.
2022 COMES FIRST
The Mocs 2022 schedule is linked above. Five home games are included with visits from Wofford, North Alabama, VMI, Mercer and Samford. Season tickets start at just $60 for general admission. Click the link above, go to the Go Mocs app or call (423) 266-MOCS (6627) to purchase.