Terrell Robinson stepped in a few weeks back for Chattanooga and nearly engineered the Mocs to an upset of top-ranked Georgia Southern in Statesboro before coming up just short on a late two-point conversion attempt. Robinson more than made up for the loss last week as Chattanooga spanked Western Carolina 51-7. The redshirt freshman, starting for the injured BJ Coleman, was 7-for-11 for 123 yards and three touchdowns while also running for 72 yards. Robinson helped Chattanooga race out to a 31-0 halftime lead, and the defense lived up to its reputation as one of the best in FCS play, holding Western Carolina to just 264 yards of total offense. The Mocs defense forced five turnovers and sacked the quarterbacks five times.
The running game has received a boost from Robinson (186, 3 TDs the last two weeks) but running backs Marquis Green and JJ Jackson are plenty effective in their own right. Against the Catamounts, Green posted 93 yards and a score and Jackson also contributed a touchdown in the victory. Green has over 360 yards on the season.
Russ Huesman’s Mocs are just 1-3 in Southern Conference play and a victory over Elon could be just the thing to get Chattanooga back in the playoff hunt, especially with two more home conference games on the schedule after Saturday.
Elon meanwhile enters the game coming off of a tough road loss, falling at Samford 43-31. Elon twice rallied from double-digit deficits but ultimately fell after committing six turnovers and allowing the Samford running game to gash it time and time again.
Thomas Wilson threw two touchdown passes while going 35-for-60 for 312 yards. He did throw four interceptions and has 15 on the year. Aaron Mellette caught an early touchdown pass, marking his eighth straight game with a scoring reception. He finished with 15 receptions for 171 yards. Mellette leads the team with 74 receptions for 990 yards, an average of 141 yards per game.
It will be tough sledding for Wilson however as Chattanooga gives up less than 150 yards per game through the air and gave up just 151 to the pass-happy Catamounts one week ago. Kadeem Wise and Chris Lewis-Harris are playmakers in the Mocs defensive secondary. If Wilson is to have success, he will need to use secondary receivers Christian Dennis (248 yards, three touchdowns) and AJ Harris (28 receptions). Harris scored a touchdown on special teams one week ago. The running game may also need to step up against the Mocs but the Phonenix average just 117 yards per game. Dontay Taylor has five rushing scores on the season.
If Elon does have an advantage it would be on special teams where Adam Shreiner and Gary Coats are each special in different ways. Shreiner booted a 50-yard field goal against Samford. Only three longer kicks have been recorded in Elon’s history. Meanwhile Coats has blocked three punts in the last two weeks so the Mocs special teams will need to keep an eye on him when Joel Bradford goes out to punt.
One of the key battles will be to see how Elon’s Rodney Austin does blocking Joshua Williams (six sacks) of Chattanooga when the Phoenix has the ball. Also keep an eye on Elon’s Joshua Jones and Chattanooga’s Wes Dothard to see who finishes with more tackles-for-loss as both have registered 11 entering the contest.
Fletcher Proctor is Assistant Managing Director at Score Atlanta, a full service Atlanta-based sports marketing company and media partner with GPB Sports.