The Commodores and Mocs will meet Sept. 6, 2003 at Vanderbilt Stadium in Nashville, one week after Vandy's 2003 opener against Ole Miss. Besides UT-Chattanooga, the Commodores' 2003 schedule includes non-conference games at Texas Christian University (Sept. 20), and at home against Georgia Tech (Sept. 27) and Navy (Oct. 11).
"We are delighted to announce the addition of UT-Chattanooga to our 2003 football schedule," Vanderbilt Director of Athletics Todd Turner said. "I think it benefits both universities. The game will be our seventh at home, yet it is close enough for the fans of UT-Chattanooga to comfortably make the trip and support their team. It is a win-win situation for both universities."
The Division I-AA Mocs, members of the Southern Conference, finished 3-8 in 2001. The 2002 team is currently 0-3 after losses to West Virginia, Alabama State and Tennessee Tech.
The Vanderbilt-UTC gridiron rivalry dates to 1927. While Vanderbilt has won 16 of the 17 games played, the series has featured several close contests. The margin of victory in the last eight meetings is eight points. In the most recent game, Vanderbilt won 7-0 in 1985.
UT-Chattanooga's athletic program is headed by Athletic Director Steve Sloan, the former University of Alabama quarterback who served as a successful head coach for the Commodores in the 1970's. Sloan was 13-9-2 in 1973-74 at Vanderbilt, and guided the Commodores to 1974 Peach Bowl, one of the team's three bowl appearances.
"We are excited about the opportunity to play an SEC school and a program like Vanderbilt," Sloan said. "This is obviously a short trip for our fans to a great city like Nashville and a rare chance for our student-athletes to compete against an SEC team in this kind of arena. Todd Turner and the Vanderbilt officials were extremely cooperative with this project, and we appreciate their interest in playing a Division I-AA in-state school."
The last time the Mocs faced an SEC team was in 1995 when Auburn handed UTC a 76-10 defeat.
Vanderbilt 2003 Football Schedule
Aug. 30 MISSISSIPPI
Sept. 6 UT-CHATTANOOGA
Sept. 13 AUBURN
Sept. 20 at Texas Christian
Sept. 27 GEORGIA TECH
Oct. 4 at Mississippi State
Oct. 11 NAVY
Oct. 18 GEORGIA
Oct. 25 at South Carolina
Nov. 8 at Florida
Nov. 15 KENTUCKY
Nov. 22 at Tennessee