Football Mocs to open 2017 on ESPN vs. Jacksonville State - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Football Mocs to open 2017 on ESPN vs. Jacksonville State

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(GoMocs.com) -- The FCS rivalry between Jacksonville State and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football teams will have the college football stage all to itself to kick off the 2017 season.  The Mocs and the Gamecocks are set to play in the Montgomery Kickoff Classic – set for Week 0 on Saturday, Aug. 26.

This game opens the college football season from the historic Cramton Bowl in Montgomery, Ala., and airs on ESPN at 7:00 p.m. (E.D.T.). 

"We are thrilled to be chosen as a part of the kickoff to the 2017 college football season," stated UTC Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics David Blackburn.  "We're grateful for the opportunity to showcase our University and compete against Jacksonville State on the national platform of ESPN.

"We want to sincerely thank ESPN; Johnny Williams, Executive Director of the Raycom Media Camellia Bowl; Jacksonville State Director of Athletics Greg Seitz; and the City of Montgomery."

These two teams have met six times in the last seven years, with both teams nationally ranked in four of those games.  JSU won the last four meetings, two of which went to overtime and the other two decided by three points each.  Each of those contests drew crowds of over 14,000.

"We are excited for the opportunity to play in front of a national television audience on ESPN against a quality opponent," said UTC head coach Russ Huesman.  "This is tremendous exposure for our student-athletes and our program and we are grateful for all of those who made it happen."

Both UTC and JSU are ranked as high as No. 3 in the current two FCS Top 25 polls officially recognized by the NCAA.  The Mocs are the only 6-0 team in the FCS while the Gamecocks have not lost an FCS game with a 4-1 record. 

"We are pleased to be part of college football's opening weekend from the Cramton Bowl in Montgomery, Ala., with these two outstanding FCS programs," said Pete Derzis, senior vice president, ESPN Events. "The greater Montgomery community has been very supportive of the Raycom Media Camellia Bowl since its inception in 2014, so to usher in the 2017 college football season and spotlight this community with their first-class facilities and staffing, is a logical choice."

City of Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange said, "The Montgomery Kickoff Classic complements the flood of sporting events, festivals and conventions that now call Montgomery home and have helped our hotel occupancy rate soar to the highest level in the state. This signature event will make the Montgomery brand even more synonymous with sports tourism in the Southeast, and we are grateful to ESPN, the Central Alabama Sports Commission and the Chamber for bringing this first ever experience kicking-off the college football season to our city, further propelling the Capital of Dreams to the forefront of the sports world."

Montgomery County Commission Chairman Elton N. Dean, Sr., said, "The Commission is thrilled about the opportunity to once again work with ESPN, the City of Montgomery and the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce to spotlight Montgomery County, Alabama, as a sports-loving, supportive community. The matchup between Jacksonville State and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga will be an exciting way to kick off the 2017 college football season."
Ticket information will be posted on GoMocs.com as it becomes available.  The game is owned and operated by ESPN Events, a division of ESPN.

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