Back Mocs’ Early Loss Carries Playoff Implications

Back To SoCon

Mocs’ Early Loss Carries Playoff Implications

By Robbie Ross
SouthernPigskin.com
Follow us at Twitter.com/SouthernPigskin.  Become a fan at the SouthernPigskin.com Facebook Page

Just because the schedule said, “Week Zero” that doesn’t mean there was zero at stake.

Just because the schedule said, “Week Zero” that doesn’t mean there was zero at stake Saturday night in the Guardian Credit Union FCS Kickoff in Montgomery, Alabama.  #6 Jacksonville State used a 10-point third quarter to take control after leading 12th ranked Chattanooga 10-6 at the half. 

With the win, the Gamecocks won their 32nd FCS regular season game in a row.

The Gamecocks were led by former Auburn Tiger Roc Thomas with 190 total yards, 122 of those on the ground. 

The Mocs were dealt a blow on Friday when second-team All-SOCON quarterback from a year ago Alejandro Bennefield was suspended for the first four games.  Mississippi State transfer Nick Tiano stepped in and was 23 of 42 for 218 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions. 

Jockeying for seeding in the NCAA Division One Football Championship begins with the first whistle of the season. The Stats FCS #12 ranked Chattanooga Mocs and #6 ranked Jacksonville State are no strangers to the FCS Playoffs, especially against one another. 

The Mocs and Gamecocks have been playing each other since 1904, with Jacksonville State winning the last 4 games, including the last in the 2015 FCS “Elite 8”. Jacksonville State enters the 2017 season an overwhelming pick to win the Ohio Valley Conference, Chattanooga a unanimous fourth pick in the SOCON but carries a heavy dose of respect nationally to garner a preseason #12 pick. 

Positioning for seeding in the FCS Playoffs is a yearlong battle and one fought on a regional stage for the most part. The combination of “Week Zero” having a limited schedule of games along with more importantly Chattanooga and Jacksonville State playing on the national stage of ESPN in primetime the Mocs and Gamecocks were afforded the opportunity to have every voter in the Stats FCS Top 25 Poll’s attention. Of course, the loss for Chattanooga is not a kiss of death, just two years ago the Mocs fell in the first week to the Gamecocks before going on to win their 3rd straight SOCON Title before falling in the quarterfinals of the FCS Playoffs to Jacksonville State. 

There is a long season ahead in the SOCON and the OVC for the Mocs and Gamecocks with titles still to be won, the Mocs have just a little bit more of a hill to climb before Selection Sunday on November, 26th.

Robbie Ross - Robbie Ross is Southern Pigskin's lead SoCon writer. A 19-year veteran of the Furman Radio Network, Ross also spent time with the Georgia State Radio Network prior to his ventures with Southern Pigskin. He is a voter in the STATS FCS Top 25 Poll.