Series record: 20-0-0 in favor of Auburn
2010 National Rankings:
Rush Offense: 4th/Rush Offense: 47th
Pass Offense: 83rd/Pass Offense: 8th
Total Offense: 6th/Total Offense: 8th
Score Offense: 10th/Score Offense: 16th
Rush Defense: 24th/Rush Defense: 45th
Pass Defense: 94th/Pass Defense: 57th
Total Defense: 57th/Total Defense: 48th
Score Defense: 59th/Score Defense: 77th
*Chattanooga's statistical rankings are based on FCS rankings.
Russ Huesman is in his second year as the head coach of his alma mater, Chattanooga, where he has compiled an 11-8-0 record. The Moccasins have one of the best offensive units at the FCS level. They are currently ranked No. 8 in total offense and No. 16 in scoring offense.
After starting the season with two losses, Chattanooga has won five of its six games and is coming off a 49-35 loss to Elon. The Mocs turned the ball over six times in that game with five on interceptions.
Auburn currently holds a 20-0 record against the Moccasins with the two teams last meeting in 1995 when Auburn crushed Chattanooga, 76-10. Two of their three losses have come to FCS opponents with a combined record of 16-0 and both were by seven points or less.
The Moccasins' offense is led by quarterback B. J. Coleman, a transfer from Tennessee who has passed for 2,257 yards and 21 touchdowns through eight games. The junior quarterback has completed 58 percent of his passes, and also has an additional four touchdowns on the ground.
Joel Bradford has been Coleman's primary target. He is coming into the game with 66 receptions for more than 1,000 yards this season. Wide receiver Brian Sutherland is second on the team in receiving with 33 catches for 436 yards. Running back Erroll Wynn leads Chattanooga with 491 yards rushing, averaging a healthy 5.6 yards per carry. He is supported in the backfield by Keon Williams, who has rushed for 356 yards on the season. The Moccasins are averaging 157 yards rushing per game to go along with their 283 yards through the air.
Linebacker Ryan Consiglio has been a tackling machine this season with 91 stops. Defensive tackle Chris Donald leads the Mocs with 12 tackles for loss, including seven sacks. Kadeem Wise his having an outstanding freshman season with six interceptions and 21 tackles.
In the last four games, Tennessee has allowed 191 yards rushing to FCS competition, which could spell trouble as the Mocs face one of the best run offenses in Division I college football. In terms of pass efficiency defense, the Moccasins are currently No. 85 at the FCS level, which could also spell trouble facing an Auburn pass offense that is currently No. 3 in pass efficiency at the FBS level.
Inside the Numbers...
•In the last 13 meetings against Chattanooga, Auburn has won by an average score of 40-6 while averaging 387 yards per game and 184 yards allowed.
•The last time the two met was in 1995 when Auburn totaled 617 yards in total offense during a 76-10 victory.
•Under Gene Chizik's guidance, Auburn has won all five of its games against non-BCS schools by an average of 52-21. Auburn has averaged 577 yards per game on offense while allowing an average of 281 yards in those games as the Tigers produced 34 offensive touchdowns to 11 allowed
•Fob James holds the Auburn record for rushing yardage against Chattanooga, gaining for 178 yards on 14 carries in 1955. Terry Henley rushed for 152 yards on 22 carries in 1972.
•Patrick Nix compiled a pass rating of 316.8 against the Moccasins when he threw for 193 yards, completing all nine of his pass attempts during the 1995 meeting.
•Freddie Hyatt holds the best receiving mark against Chattanooga catching seven passes for 152 yards in 1966.
•The 2010 Auburn offense has an opportunity to tie a school record of five consecutive games of 300 yards rushing established by the 1979 Auburn offense.
Freshman tailback Mike Dyer is coming off an 180-yard rushing game vs. Ole Miss.
•Auburn's leading rusher from the running back position this season has averaged 6.48 yards per rush, the second highest average over the past 25 years. Over the past 25 seasons, Auburn's leading rusher from the running back position has accounted for 54.9 percent of Auburn's rushing totals. This seasonthe leading rusher from the running back position has accounted for only 29.9 percent of Auburn's rushing yardage.
Why Auburn should win...
•Over the past 20 seasons Auburn has compiled a 52-2-0 record against opponents from a non-BCS conference.
•The average weight of the Moccasins' defensive line is 254 pounds and they will be hard pressed to stop the Southeastern Conference's best run offense.
•The Moccasins are currently 4-114-3 against teams from the Southeastern Conference.
•In their last 10 meetings against FBS opponents, UTC is 0-10 with an average defeat by a score of 46-11.
•Auburn is 20-0 against UTC with an average score of 34-6.
How Tennessee-Chattanooga could win...
•The last time Chattanooga defeated an opponent from the Southeastern Conference was in 1958 when the Moccasins defeated Tennessee, 14-6, and the Volunteers finished the season with a 4-6 record. In a season with a high number of upsets anything is possible, but the odds of Tennessee-Chattanooga defeating Auburn this Saturday are very low. It would require a near-perfect performance by the Moccasins and for Auburn to play its worst game in the past 40 years.
The focus this week for the Auburn Tigers will be staying healthy, resting the starters and obtaining as much playing time as possible for the backup players. Whether or not the starters are in the game, Auburn's coaching staff will expect the players to be focused on their assignments more so than the opponent. As long as the players are concentrating on executing their assignments the caliber of opponent won't make a difference.
Auburn dropping to No. 2 in the BCS rating might be a blessing in disguise as it will be a reminder to the players there are those voting who simply believe Auburn is not the best team in the country. Though Auburn will likely be 10-0 late Saturday afternoon, it only keeps the Tigers in position to reach their goals and nothing more.
The game plan for Chattangooa will likely be very close to what we witnessed against Louisiana-Monroe. Cameron Newton will probably be limited in the running game and will exit the game once a solid lead is obtained. Though I believe "team goals" always take priority over individual goals, I do believe Newton should be allowed to showcase his talents when he is on the field. It doesn't have to be in the running game, but he can certainly make his contribution in the passing game.
The Heisman Trophy might be an individual award, but it has brought national attention to the university and can be utilized as a recruiting tool down the road. It sends out a strong message nationally that special players come to Auburn or players become special while playing at Auburn. You could not ask for better national exposure for the Tigers.
This might not be the most complete team in school history, but there is no doubting this group of Tigers has great team chemistry. They have been focused each week and their level of confidence has grown with each subsequent victory. All the preseason discussion of "good to great" and finishing what they started in 2009 is coming to fruition.
After nine weeks of college football, only two schools from a BCS conference remain undefeated and Auburn is one of them. The key to the Tigers' success is not being satisfied with their triumph at hand and instead working for continued achievement. The Tigers have worked diligently to put themselves in position to obtain their goals and the final run to glory begins this week. Auburn 56, Chattanooga 13
Around the SEC...
Florida over Vanderbilt by 11 South Carolina over Arkansas by 3
Kentucky over Charleston Southern by 31
Georgia over Idaho State by 35
Alabama over LSU 9
Ole Miss over Louisiana-Lafayette by 31
Tennessee over Memphis by 10