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MARTIN, Tenn. - The 2013 college football season officially kicks off on Thursday, Aug. 29, when the University of Tennessee at Martin Skyhawks travel across the state to take on the Chattanooga Mocs at Finley Stadium. Kickoff time is set for 6:30 p.m. CST.
This game marks the opening of the 84th season of collegiate football at UT Martin, who is 37-45-1 all-time in season openers. This marks the fourth straight year and seventh out of eight years under head coach Jason Simpson that the Skyhawks have begun the season on the road. UT Martin opened last season with a 20-17 victory at Football Bowl Subdivision member Memphis on Sept. 1.
Chattanooga leads the all-time series by a 3-0 margin. These two intrastate rivals played for three straight seasons in 1991-93, with two of those games decided by single-digits. UT Martin fell 21-14 at Chattanooga in the season opener in 1991 and fell 37-28 at Chattanooga in 1992. UT Martin opened the 1993 season with a home matchup against Chattanooga, falling 26-7. Following this season, these two teams are slated to take on each other in 2017 (in Chattanooga) and 2018 (in Martin).
The coaching staffs for these two teams share common bonds with both schools. Jason Simpson spent three seasons (2003-05) as the offensive coordinator at Chattanooga before accepting his first head coaching job at UT Martin. Skyhawk offensive coordinator Carmen Felus also was the assistant head coach for Chattanooga from 2006-08. On the flipside, Chattanooga assistant coaches Alex Atkins and Brandon Cooper are both 2007 graduates of UT Martin and both played for Simpson on the 2006 Ohio Valley Conference championship squad.
UT Martin is coming off an 8-3 campaign in 2012, notching the highest season winning percentage (.727) in the OVC. The Skyhawks return 61 players and 12 starters from last season’s squad, including Preseason All-Americans Ben Johnson, DJ Roberts, Thad Williams, Jeremy Butler and James Satterfield. UT Martin received votes in both the preseason FCS Coaches Poll and the Sports Network FCS Poll.
Chattanooga returns 39 lettermen and 21 starters from last season’s team who posted a 6-5 record. The Mocs also return five Preseason All-Americans in Wes Dothard, DJ Key, Kadeem Wise, Davis Tull and Faysal Shafaat. Chattanooga is ranked No. 24 in the preseason FCS Coaches Poll and No. 25 in the Sports Network FCS Poll under fifth-year head coach Russ Huesman.
The game will be televised live on CSS, which is available on channel 34 for Charter customers in the Martin area. Fans who do not get the CSS channel can watch the game online for $8.95 at the link above. On the radio, Tom Britt (play-by-play), Chris Brinkley (color commentary) and John Abel (sideline reporter) will be live on the call on WCMT 101.3 FM. Live stats for the game can also be found in a link on top of the webpage.