Chattanooga loses 49-0 to No. 1 Alabama
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP)
Chattanooga coach Russ Huesman thinks his team is worthy of an FCS playoff bid.
The Mocs will have to wait and hope one is forthcoming. Shortly after their 49-0 loss to No. 1 Alabama on Saturday, Southern Conference rival Samford clinched the league's automatic playoff berth with a 33-32 win over Elon.
Then again, Georgia Southern also upset the Southeastern Conference's Florida 26-20.
''Our conference, the Southern Conference, stinks according to everybody out there,'' Huesman said. ''But we've got the fourth-best team in the conference beating Florida. If everybody thinks the Southern Conference stinks, you're nuts.''
Chattanooga (8-4) is still holding out hope for an at-large invitation. The Mocs' only playoff trip came in 1984.
Their own game wasn't much of a contest.
AJ McCarron threw for two touchdowns and became the Crimson Tide's winningest quarterback at 36-2, breaking a tie with Jay Barker.
McCarron completed 13 of 16 passes for 171 yards for the Tide (11-0) in his Bryant-Denny Stadium finale.
McCarron and Alabama got an easy tuneup for the Iron Bowl against No. 6 Auburn to determine the Southeastern Conference Western Division champion. Both teams are still hoping for national title shots in a state that has claimed the last four BCS championships.
The Tide defense produced its third shutout of the year, blocking a field goal.
''For me, it was perfect,'' linebacker C.J. Mosley said of his final home game. ''We came out with a shutout. It can't get any better than that for a defensive player. We talked about this being a momentum game, going into next week and the rest of the season.''
Kenyan Drake ran for 77 yards and a 13-yard touchdown with starting tailback T.J. Yeldon sitting out to rest a sprained ankle. Freshman Derrick Henry ran six times for 66 yards and scored on a 5-yard touchdown set up by his own 27-yard scamper.
Christion Jones scored on a 75-yard punt return in the second quarter for his third return TD of the season. It was atonement for Jones, who fumbled a return after Chattanooga's first series.
Alabama outgained the Mocs 435-175 despite turning to the backups for most of the second half.
McCarron and the other seniors were honored in a pregame ceremony. The two-time national champion quarterback threw a 28-yard touchdown pass to Kevin Norwood and a 38-yarder to Amari Cooper. Norwood had four catches for 84 yards - all in the first half - also in his home finale, including a 50-yarder.
''It was kind of an emotional thing for me, too, at the end of the game, because a lot of those guys have meant a lot to the program,'' Tide coach Nick Saban said. ''We really wanted to go out and play well for those guys.''
Backup receiver Chris Black took an end around 31 yards for a touchdown and Henry scored on a 5-yarder.
The Mocs had already clinched a share of the Southern Conference title. Now, they're hoping for an at-large berth to their first FCS playoffs since 1984 with Samford getting the automatic berth with a 33-32 win over Elon.
The Mocs had a couple of scoring chances halted.
Trey DePriest picked off Robinson's fourth-down pass at the Alabama 17 after Jones' early fumble. A'Shawn Robinson blocked a field goal for the Tide, which has allowed five touchdowns in its last six games.
''We lost 49-0, but at the same time we knew what we were up against this week - the No. 1 team in the nation,'' Terrell Robinson said. ''They're blowing a lot of teams out this year. We just wanted to come in and compete today, and I think we did that.''
Defensive back Chaz Moore thinks the Mocs will have success in the postseason given the chance.
''If we get into the playoffs, we're going to cause havoc,'' Moore said. ''I'm hoping we get in because I think we can make some noise. I'm going to sit back and wait for the results. I'm just going to wait patiently and see what happens."