Sep 20 / Rob

2019 JMUSB Game Preview #4: JMU vs. Chattanooga

The Basics

Matchup: #2 JMU Dukes (2-1, 0-0 CAA) vs. Chattanooga (1-2, 0-0 SoCon)

Kickoff: 4:04 PM Saturday, September 21

Location: Finley Stadium in Chattanooga, TN

Weather: Sunny with a high of 88 degrees

Broadcast: ESPN+

Random Collection of Facts I Recently Learned About Chattanooga

One might assume that these JMUSB previews are hastily thrown together without much thought or preparation. In reality, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Before some games (but not all), we actually conduct legitimate research into the Dukes’ opponent in a sincere attempt to inform you, our dear readers. Other weeks we just Google the school and see what we come up with. You’ll never guess which route we went this week. So without further ado, here are some random facts we learned about Chattanooga.

Terrell Owens Went There

This is not terrible interesting, but it’s the one thing you’re most likely to find when Googling Chattanooga Football.

Call the School Whatever You Like

We found the school referred to as University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Chattanooga, and UTC. Students, fans, and alums indicated that any of them are perfectly acceptable. They seem like a laid back bunch.

It’s Mocs Dammit

Whoa. They’re far less laid back about the nickname. The team is known as the Mocs. It’s not the Moccasins, as they’re quick to point out. And Mocs refers to the northern mockingbird, the state bird of Tennessee. Again, not moccasins. Prior to 1996, the team was known as the Moccasins, with the school utilizing both a snake and a shoe as mascots at different times. But now Mocs stands for mockingbirds and the mascot is Scrappy, a bird named after a former coach. And he rides around in a train, because of a song. It’s a whole thing. Just don’t call them the moccasins. Seriously. It’s Mocs.

The Mocs Are 62-48 All Time at Finley Stadium

But JMU is 1-0.

Chattanooga Is the Birthplace of a Pair of Iconic Inventions

The Moonpie and miniature golf were invented in Chattanooga. Neither has anything at all to do with UTC or this weekend’s game, but I like them both. So they get included.

Finley Stadium is Getting New Turf in December

Apparently it’s sorely needed. Something tells us, the playing surface will still be better than it was last time JMU played there.

UTC Football Had a Team GPA of 2.79 Last Year

Coincidentally, that’s the same GPA I had in college. UTC considers this impressive enough to boast about it online. I, on the other hand, have been hiding it from employers for over two decades, and convince them that a “May Session 4.0” is a noteworthy achievement.

UTC Has the Second Hardest Schedule in FCS

The Mocs haven’t even reached SoCon play, and JMU will already be the second Top 20 FCS program they play. After defeating Eastern Illinois in the opener, UTC lost to #10 Jacksonsville State. Then they lost to University of Tennessee, which wasn’t that bad since 98% of the UTC students are Vols fans anyway.

Hot UTC Can Win

Play to their strengths, which might also attack JMU’s weaknesses. With only three games under their belts, it’s foolish to pretend we know anything definitive about the Dukes. However, they have shown that the pass defense is susceptible to big plays. And until last week, they failed to generate QB sacks. That presents an opportunity for the Mocs, who have a couple of truly dangerous receiving threats and an offensive line that has yet to give up a sack.

Freshman receiver Lameric Tucker has been a big play threat for the Mocs. He only has 5 catches, but they’ve gone for 111 yards. His fellow receiver Bryce Nunnelly is an absolute stud. The junior was a consensus preseason All American, who averaged 112 receiving yards a game last year. If the Mocs’ offensive line can give QB Nick Tiano time to throw, Nunnelly is the type of receiver who could give JMU fits. The Mocs will need to take advantage of opportunities and connect on multiple big passing plays to pull of the upset.

How JMU Can Win

Protect the ball and shore up the pass defense. JMU is a deserved favorite in this game. The Mocs are better than the Dukes’ last two opponents, but JMU is still expected to take care of business. They just need to limit the turnovers and eliminate big plays in the Mocs passing attack.

There is no need to overthink things this week. JMU is the better team on paper. Provided they don’t make dumb mistakes and turn the ball over on offense, they should be able to move the ball against the UTC defense and get out of Tennessee with a win. UTC has a talented freshman running back in Ailym Ford, but we’re confident the Dukes can handle the Mocs’ rushing attack. But if they give UTC extra possessions, and have the same sort of breakdowns in the defensive backfield that they’ve had the past three weeks, it could be trouble. Hold onto the ball on offense and limit the big plays on defense though, and they’ll be fine.

JMUSB Beer of the Week

Some of you are fortunate to be going to Chattanooga to watch this one in person. Most of you are not. So that means you can enjoy a bigger beer while you watch from the comfort of you’re own coach. A bigger beer like The Sixth Glass from Boulevard Brewing Co. It’s a Belgian Quad from a brewery that everyone agrees is terrific, yet still seems vastly underrated. Anyway, it’s delicious and you should drink it.

Official JMUSB Prediction

Scheduling a home and home with Chattanooga was a terrific move for JMU. The Mocs are a solid SoCon program, with a loyal following. But the Mocs ceiling this year is probably only on the fringes of the Top 25 though. They’ve got some talented playmakers, but something tells us the Dukes pass D is going to take a big step forward this week. And Riley Stapleton is back, which should make the JMU offense that much better. We think the O-line busts open holes, running backs have a field day, receivers run free, and the D shuts the Mocs down. Dukes 42 – Mocs 10.


leave a comment
  1. wexcelsior / Sep 20 2019

    I see we have had similar GPA experiences.

  2. Tidewater Duke / Sep 20 2019

    Dukes 45
    Mocs. 13

    Dukes pick up a good road win.

  3. JMU2K1 / Sep 21 2019

    Two thoughts:

    1. Not a DiNucci fan, but he has looked great throwing the ball down field today. Very accurate. One horrible drop and a handful of times where defenders have knocked the ball loose.

    2. Would have liked to see Dukes go for it on 4th and 2 there at the end of the half. Deep in Mocs territory, plenty of time left on the clock. Cignetti is awfully conservative.

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