Russ Huesman thought he was being smart Monday when he informed his University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football team that it was one of three Southern Conference squads with only one loss in league play.
Huesman told the Mocs (4-3, 3-1) that they have four games left, starting Saturday against nationally No. 2-ranked Georgia Southern (6-1, 5-1), and that they control their own destiny in the race for the league championship.
"After I talked a little while longer, I asked, 'Who knew we controlled our own destiny?' And about nine-tenths of them raised their hands," Huesman said. "I should have known. Most of the things that we [coaches] are afraid to talk about, they already know.
"They know where we sit in the standings. They look at that stuff."
The Mocs, who have won three straight games since starting the season 1-3, know GSU's Eagles are 5-1 in the SoCon, Wofford is 4-1 and UTC is 3-1.
UTC also knows that it still has half of its SoCon slate to play. There's a trip to No. 8 Wofford on Nov. 10, and games against Western Carolina and Elon to be played, as well.
Georgia Southern has just two SoCon games left, but they are against UTC and No. 15 Appalachian State, which along with The Citadel still has an outside shot at the title with 3-2 league records. Wofford plays The Citadel, Samford and UTC.
"Everybody knows that if we can finish these next four weeks, then we can win the SoCon championship," Mocs linebacker Wes Dothard said, "and I think that's what everybody on this team wants really bad."
Two years ago, UTC beat the Eagles at Finley Stadium, 35-27, for its fourth win ever against GSU. Last season, Terrell Robinson arrived on the scene with a bang. Filling in for an injured B.J. Coleman at quarterback, Robinson rushed for 114 yards and three touchdowns and completed 5 of 9 passes for 62 yards.
UTC was down 21-7 at halftime and came up a two-point conversion short of a huge win, falling 28-27.
"That is one of those games I will always remember," Robinson said, "but at the same time we do recognize that this is a new year."
It's a new season, and like in the past two the Mocs have a chance to put themselves in late-season contention for the SoCon title. They know this; now they just have to do it.
John Frierson is in his seventh year at the Times Free Press and seventh year covering University of Tennessee at Chattanooga athletics. The bulk of his time is spent covering Mocs football, but he also writes about women’s basketball and the big-picture issues and news involving the athletic department. A native of Athens, Ga., John grew up a few hundred yards from the University of Georgia campus. Instead of becoming a Bulldog he attended Ole ...