The Game: Furman at #6 Chattanooga
Last Week: In spite of a driving rainstorm and gaining approximately 19 yards of total offense*, the Fighting Football Paladins downed the SC State Bulldogs 17-3 for their third consecutive victory.
(*Okay, it was 221 yards)
Are We Any Good? I think so, though this week could prove that thought wrong. Five games in and it's a bit hard to get a consistent read on the team. Last week was a wash because of the weather (pun not intended but acknowledged), then there was the flat 3 point win over VMI, the historic upset over UCF, the stomping loss at VA Tech, and a 3 point loss to the #2 team in the country in which we gained over 500 yards of offense. Silver lining of last week? After worrying about the running game, the Paladins looked somewhat better with true freshman Triston Luke tallying 75 yards and both of Furman's touchdowns.
Opposing Team's Mascot: The Mocs, which is short for...well, that's a bit of an interesting story. Mocs was originally short for Moccasins and UTC had a Native American mascot. Wanting to distance themselves from an insensitive nickname, the school made a transition in its logos to a bird riding a train (see "Chattanooga Choo-Choo" recorded by Glen Miller and His Orchestra) in the late 90s.
After several other iterations, the school decided that Mocs would now be short for Mockingbirds (the state bird of Tennessee), an animal which UTC's "What's a Moc?" homepage states is fiercely territorial. There is a rumor that the name change was actually due to the school president's fondness for the "Mock...Yeah!...Ing...Yeah...Bird...Yeah!" scene in Dumb and Dumber. I totally just made up that rumor but feel free to pass it along. In all seriousness, good on Chattanooga for finding a way to keep their nickname but leave behind insensitive connotations.
Suggested Hashtag: Obviously #ToKillAMockingbird or #KillTheMockingbirds is the most obvious and literary, but I'm not really a fan of encouraging killing even if it's metaphorical killing on the gridiron. #GoStopALineman might be a little bit of a stretch.
So I consulted Urban Dictionary (always an adventure) about the word ill, which can mean "Having great skill or skills with respect to a particular endeavor." Seeing as the endeavor that Furman wants to accomplish is done to Chattanooga and we would like to show great skill in doing said endeavor, I've decided to go with...
(Which will also be the title of my debut album dropping next year under the name L.A.R.P.er He)
Et cetera: If Furman pulls off the upset in Chattanooga, they are in the driver's seat for the SoCon Championship. Lose and the Paladins will basically have to run the table if they want to make the playoffs. Basically, this is Furman's biggest game of the year thus far. It won't be easy. The Mocs have the best offense the Paladins have seen since VA Tech and Coastal. They are led by an excellent quarterback, Jacob Huesman, who has seemingly been playing at Chattanooga since the Clinton Administration. Their defense is not too shabby either as they lead the conference and are ninth in the nation in sacks. Furman's offense is going to need to find some balanced consistency. Big game, big stakes, and a big test for the Paladins, but I'm looking forward to it.
Anything else? Go Paladins!