- Associated Press - Thursday, August 20, 2015

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) - Chattanooga is setting its sights even higher after producing one of its best seasons in school history last year,

The Mocs return seven starters on each side of the ball from a team that earned a school-record 10 wins last year. Chattanooga made its first playoff appearance since 1984 last year and lost 35-30 to New Hampshire in the Football Championship Subdivision quarterfinals.

Senior quarterback Jacob Huesman says “we feel like there is some unfinished business for us.”

Southern Conference coaches and media have picked Chattanooga to win the league. The Mocs won the league outright last year and earned a share of the title in 2013.

Huesman, the son of Mocs coach Russ Huesman, has been named the Southern Conference’s offensive player of the year the last two seasons.

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Some things to watch for Chattanooga

HUESMAN PILING UP NUMBERS: Jacob Huesman already is the first Chattanooga player to combine 4,000 yards passing and 2,000 yards rushing in a career. He’s the active Southern Conference leader in both career yards rushing and passing. He threw for 2,731 yards and 23 touchdowns last season while rushing for 1,009 yards and 14 more scores.

EXPERIENCED OFFENSIVE LINE: Chattanooga returns four starters from an offensive line that allowed only 13 sacks last season. The list of returners includes Corey Levin, who won the Jacobs Blocking Trophy last year as the Southern Conference’s top offensive lineman.

CAN DEFENSE DO IT AGAIN?: Chattanooga produced a school-record 35 sacks and ranked fourth among all FCS teams in total defense last year. The Mocs must replace star linemen Davis Tull and Derrick Lott, who combined for 16 ½ sacks and 31 ½ tackles for loss last season. Tull, a three-time Southern Conference defensive player of the year, was drafted in the fifth round by the New Orleans Saints.

REPLACING WILLIAMS: The Mocs must replace Keon Williams, who rushed for 1,037 yards and 14 touchdowns last season. Chattanooga does return running back Derrick Craine, who ran for 466 yards and four touchdowns last season. The Mocs also have Richardre Bagley, who had 183 yards rushing and 20 receptions a year ago.

EARLY TEST: Chattanooga opens the season Sept. 5 by hosting Jacksonville State, which beat the Mocs 26-23 in overtime last year and went on to reach the playoffs. The Mocs also close the regular season Nov. 21 at Florida State, their lone game against a Football Bowl Subdivision team.


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