#13 Chattanooga FCS Football 2022 Preview

Chattanooga Mocs
Overall Rank: #13
#2 SoCon
Chattanooga Logo
Chattanooga has failed to reach the playoffs since 2016. Coach Rusty Wright has finished .500 or better in each of his three seasons leading the program. The 2021 campaign ended on sour note, with losses to Mercer and The Citadel that most likely cost the Mocs a trip to the playoffs. But with an experienced team returning, Chattanooga is in a good position to finally return to the playoffs.
2021 Record: 6-5, 5-3
2021 Postseason: None
Coach: Rusty Wright (15-13 at Chattanooga, 15-13 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Joe Pizzo
Defensive Coordinator: Lorenzo Ward
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Ailym Ford, RB, 1,071 yards
Passing: Cole Copeland, QB, 1,555 yards
Receiving: Tyron Arnett, WR, 176 yards
Tackles: Ty Boeck, LB, 90
Sacks: Devonnsha Maxwell, DL, 12.0
Interceptions: Ty Boeck, LB, 1; CaMiron Smith, DB, 1; Telly Plumber, DB, 1
Other Key Returnees: WR Jamoi Mayes, OL McClendon Curtis, DL Jay Person, LB Kam Jones, DL Ben Brewton, DB Kameron Brown, DB Reuben Lowery
Key Losses: RB Tyrell Price, WR Reginald Henderson, TE Chris James, WR Kanore McKinnon, OL Cole Strange, DB Brandon Dowdell, DB Jerrell Lawson, DB Rashun Freeman, DB Jordan Jones
Coach Wright does not have to ask too much from his offense. If they can keep control of the clock and avoid turnovers, the offense is doing their job. Running back Ailym Ford can do more than just keep the clock moving. He rushed for 1,071 yards and 11 touchdowns and will be asked to do even more during his junior season. Cole Copeland is back under center after throwing for 1,555 yards and six touchdowns with nine interceptions. Tyron Arnett and Jamoi Mayes will need to emerge as the top receiving options with the loss of Reginald Henderson, Kanore McKinnon and tight end Chris James.
Yet again, Chattanooga boasted an amazing defense in 2021. They ranked first in the Southern Conference in every major statistical category. Their pass defense was second in the FCS and ninth in total defense. And there is no reason to believe that this group will slow down. Linebacker Ty Boeck is the leader of the unit after leading the Mocs with 90 tackles, including 3.0 sacks and 10.0 tackles-for-loss. Fellow linebacker Kam Jones will once again join Boeck in the middle of the defense. The front line returns Devonn Maxwell and his 12.0 sacks. With Ben Brewton and Jay Person also returning to the line, Chattanooga should again lead the conference in sacks. The biggest potential concern for the defense is in the secondary. But there is enough talent and experience for the Mocs to replace players like Brandon Dowdell and Jerrell Lawson.
The Bottom Line:
Chattanooga starts the 2022 season with a conference game against Wofford. This is not the best Wofford team we have seen recently, but it will still be an important game. Perhaps the biggest conference game of the year comes October 1st with a trip to East Tennessee State. To many pundits, the winner of that game will be well on their way to a Southern Conference title.
Projected Postseason:  FCS Playoffs
2021 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 205.5 (16th in nation, 5th in conference)
Passing Offense: 168.7 (97, 7)
Total Offense: 374.2 (49, 6)
Scoring Offense: 26.6 (54, 6)
Rushing Defense: 122.3 (27, 1)
Pass Defense: 153.5 (2, 1)
Total Defense: 275.8 (9, 1)
Scoring Defense: 17.1 (11, 1)
Turnover Margin: 0.27 (41, 2)
Sacks: 2.82 (16, 1)
Sacks Allowed: 0.82 (4, 1)