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2018 Opponent Preview: Chattanooga

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After a tough year under a new coach, the Mocs hope to get back on track.

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

After concluding a two-game road trip, the South Carolina Gamecocks come back home to Williams-Brice on Nov. 17 for their usual FCS breather before the big game against Clemson. In years past, this has typically been an in-state foe, but the schedule-makers changed things up a bit with the addition of Chattanooga — although the Mocs hail from the familiar Southern Conference.

Last meeting: This is the first time the Gamecocks and the Mocs will square off on the gridiron.

Last season: Under first-year head coach Tom Arth, Chattanooga struggled to a 3-8 (3-5 SoCon) record, finishing in a tie with The Citadel for sixth place in the league. The Mocs earned conference victories against VMI, East Tennesee State, and scored a big upset of then-No. 9 Samford, but otherwise found themselves outmatched in most of their contests. They also lost a heartbreaker in overtime to No. 8 Wofford.

Player to watch out for: Senior defensive lineman Isaiah Mack headlined the Mocs’ preseason All-SoCon selections, as he earned a spot on the first team after garnering a second-team selection last season. Through 21 starts in 37 games with Chattanooga, he has 30 tackles for loss and 12.5 sacks. Mocs quarterback Nick Tiano is also a former Mississippi State player.

Prognosis: The Mocs have a pretty solid FCS pedigree, having won three straight SoCon championships from 2013-2015 and being just two years removed from their most recent playoff appearance. Chattanooga showed some promise hanging tough with Samford and Wofford last season, and maybe in Year 2 of Arth’s tenure, they can take another step.