Tuesday, July 26, 2016

2016 Football Preseason Preview: South Carolina



Throughout this preseason, Purple & Gold previews all of Western's 2016 football opponents. Today we look at the final regular season opponent: the South Carolina Gamecocks.

For their eleventh game of the season, the Catamounts travel to Columbia, SC to meet the SEC;s Gamecocks.


The Cats last played South Carolina in 1989.





South Carolina



When: Saturday, November 19th - Time TBA

Where: Williams-Brice Stadium, Columbia, SC

Radio: Catamount Sports Network

TV / video: TBA

The Series: This will be the fifth meeting between the Catamounts and Gamecocks.  All four previous meetings were held in Columbia between the 2086 and 1989. All four games were won by the Gamecocks.



Head Coach:  Will Muschamp -
Will Muschamp was introduced as the University of South Carolina's 34th head football coach in a press conference held at Williams-Brice Stadium on Dec. 7, 2015. Regarded as an outstanding defensive mind, Muschamp, 44, is a 21-year coaching veteran, including 13 years in the Southeastern Conference. He has previous head coaching experience, posting a 28-21 record (.571) at the University of Florida from 2011-14.

Last year’s record (South Carolina):  3-9 overall, 2-4 home, 0-5 away (1-7 SEC)

Last Game vs. South Carolina: October 21, 1989 - South Carolina beats WCU, 24-3   -  First-year coach Dale Strahm brought the Division 1-AA, 3-2-1 Western Carolina Catamounts to Columbia to meet the 24th ranked, 4-1-1 South Carolina Gamecocks of coach Sparky Woods. No Division 1-AA team had ever won The Belt & the Catamounts hoped to make history. The Gamecocks did not succumb as RB Harold Green rushed for 150 yards with a touchdown & RB Mike Dingle scored 2 touchdowns in a 24-3 South Carolina win to retain The Belt.

Offensive starters - Returning/Lost: 4 / 7

Defensive starters - Returning/Lost: 6 / 5

Specialist - Returning/Lost: 2 / 0

2015 Gamcock Statistics:
Rushing Offense: 1856 yards
Yards per game: 155
Yards per rush: 4.4 yards
TDs rushing: 11
Passing Offense: 2495 yards or 208 yards per game
Passing Comp-Att-Int: 191-351-12
TDs passing: 17
Total Offense: 4346 yards or 362 yards per game
Passing 1st downs: 107
Rushing 1st downs: 97
Fumbles-Lost: 18 - 3
3d Down Conversions: 58 of 164 or 35%
4th Down Conversions: 11 of 20 or 55%
Field Goals - Attempts: 20 of 28
Red-Zone Scores: 31 of 36 (86%)
Red-Zone Touchdowns: 17 of 36 (47%)
Punts (No. Yards): 55 (2434 yds) Avg. per punt: 44 yds
PAT-Attempts: 25 of 25
On-Side Kicks: 0 of 1

A new era of Gasmecock football begins in 2016, as Will Muschamp takes over the head coaching reins from Steve Spurrier,  The South Carolina offense returns four starters from a squad that averaged just under 22 points a game, and returns 45 percent of their rushing yards, 93 percent of their passing yards and 27 percent of their receiving yards from last season.

The Gamecocks list 12 returning starters from last season (four on offense, six on defense and two specialists). The returning offensive starters are WR Matrick Belton, OC Alan Knott, QB Perry Orth and OT Mason Zandi. The returning defensive starters include SS Jordan Diggs, LB T.J. Holloman, DE Marquavius Lewis, CB Rico McWilliams, LB Skai Moore, and DT Taylor Stallworth. The returning specialists are PK Elliott Fry and P Sean Kelly.

Prior to last season, the Gamecocks had won 22-straight home games against non-conference opponents before dropping their final two games of the 2015 season to non-conference foes The Citadel and Clemson.




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Monday, July 25, 2016

SoCon Football Media Day - July 27

Courtesy WCU Athletics Media Relations             

2016 Football Preseason Preview: Furman




Throughout this preseason, Purple & Gold will preview all of Western's 2016 football opponents. Today we look at the Furman Paladins. 

For their tenth game of the season, the Catamounts travel down the mountain to Greenville, SC to meet the Paladins.


The Cats trail Furman 12-29-2 all-time in the series that dates back to 1971, when Western Carolina joined the Southern Conference.




Furman





When: Saturday, November 12th - Time 3:00 pm

Where: Paladian Stadium, Greenville, SC

Radio: Catamount Sports Network

TV / video: ESPN3

The Series:  The Cats have won the last two in the series. winning the last game played at Furman by a final score of 35-17.


Head Coach: Bruce Fowler -
Named Furman University’s head football coach on Dec. 13, 2010, Bruce Fowler, in four years has firmly applied his stamp on a Paladin football program he has served for a quarter century as a player, assistant coach, and head coach. In 2013 Fowler’s Paladins, a consensus preseason No. 7 pick in a pair of Southern Conference polls, engineered one of the most impressive mid-season turnarounds in collegiate football. Forced to contend with injuries to the squad’s top three quarterbacks over the first six games, Furman struggled to a 2-4 record at mid-season before hitting stride, winning its last five league games to en route to capturing a share of the program’s 13th SoCon championship and the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) playoffs — the Paladins’ first postseason appearance since 2006.

Last year’s record (Furman):  4-7 overall, 2-3 home, 2-4 away (2-5 SoCon)

Last Season's Game vs. Furman (November 7, 2014):
Catamounts Cruise Past Furman to Close Home Season, 48-10 - Troy Mitchell recorded 360 yards of total offense and accounted for five touchdowns as Western Carolina used a total team effort to close the home portion of its regular season with a 48-10 victory over the Furman Paladins on Saturday afternoon in Southern Conference action at E.J. Whitmire Stadium / Bob Waters Field. Mitchell threw for 305 yards and three touchdowns, adding two scores on the ground and 55 yards as WCU put an exclamation point on an unbeaten home regular season - its first since 1986 and only the second in Division I history.

Offensive starters - Returning/Lost: 6 / 5

Defensive starters - Returning/Lost:  7  / 4

Specialist - Returning/Lost:  2  / 1

Offensive Formation: Multiple

Defensive Formation: Multiple

2015 Paladin Statistics:
Rushing Offense: 1300 yards
Yards per game: 118
Yards per rush: 3.3 yards
TDs rushing: 12
Passing Offense: 2206 yards or 201 yards per game
Passing Comp-Att-Int: 181-328-12
TDs passing: 11
Total Offense: 3506 yards or 319 yards per game
Passing 1st downs: 96
Rushing 1st downs: 83
Fumbles-Lost: 19 - 8
3d Down Conversions: 62 of 163 or 38%
4th Down Conversions: 9 of 15 or 60%
Field Goals - Attempts: 9 of 12
Red-Zone Scores: 21 of 25 (84%)
Red-Zone Touchdowns: 15 of 25 (60%)
Punts (No. Yards): 67 (2609 yds) Avg. per punt: 39 yds
PAT-Attempts: 20 of 21 - 95%
Field Goals-Attempts: 9 of 12
On-Side Kicks: 0 of 1


Reese Hannon returns as the favorite in the race for the QB job. Hannon played in nine games last fall and completed six TDs passes, but added 6 picks. PJ Blazejowski played in six games, but fared little better. The running game for the Paladins was anemic last season, and with Ernie Cane, who led the team with six rushing TDs last season gone, the running game looks to be a problem area as well. On defense, the Paladins gave up over 222 yards rushing per game last season, and will be a big area of concern again for Furman.

On offense the Paladins return 6 starters: Jackson Buonomia (OT), Duncan Fletcher (TE), Reese Hannon (QB), Matthew Schmidt (OT), Andrej Suttles (FLK), and Antonio Wilcox (RB). On defense 7 starters are back: Jordan Hawkins (NT), Byron Johnson (SS), Jamarri Milliken (CB), Brad Minter (DE), Carl Rider (LB), Trey Robinson (S), and Brian Ross (DE).




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Saturday, July 23, 2016

2016 Football Preseason Preview: VMI





Throughout this preseason, Purple & Gold will preview all of Western's 2016 football opponents. Today we look at the VMI Keydets.

For their ninth  game of the season, the Catamounts remain in Cullowhee for the fifth and final home game of the season.

The Cats have won both games against the Keydets since their return to the Southern Conference in 2014.





VMI



When
: Saturday, November 5th - Time 2:00 pm

Where: E. J. Whitmire Stadium, Cullowhee, NC

Radio: Catamount Sports Network

TV / video: SoCon Digital Network

The Series: Western currently leads the series with VMI, by an 18-3 margin. The Cats and Keydets first played on the gridiron in 1978, and the Cats own a thirteen game winning streak over the Keydets.

Head Coach: Scott Wachenheim
Scott Wachenheim was named VMI's newest head football coach on Dec. 14, 2014. A 1984 graduate of the United States Air Force Academy and veteran coach with over 25 years of experience in the college ranks, Wachenheim comes to VMI from the University of Virginia where he has served the past five seasons and as Cavaliers offensive line coach since 2011. Prior to his tenure in Charlottesville, Wachenheim was the offensive coordinator and offensive line coach at Liberty University for three seasons (2006-08).


Last year’s record (VMI):  2-9 overall, 1-5 home, 1-4 away (1-6 SoCon)

Last Season's Game vs. VMI: (November 21, 2015)
Western Carolina Outlasts Keydets in Regular Season Finale, 24-20 - Detrez Newsome accounted for 230 yards of total offense and two touchdowns including a game-winning fourth quarter plunge as Western Carolina survived its first trip to Foster Stadium since 2002, downing the VMI Keydets, 24-20, on Saturday afternoon in Southern Conference action. Newsome capped a four-play, 70-yard drive with a powerful two-yard run to push the Catamounts ahead for what proved to be for good with just over two minutes remaining in Saturday's fourth quarter. But behind the arm of quarterback Al Cobb, the Keydet offense moved back down the field and into the red zone.


Offensive starters - Returning/Lost: 7 / 4

Defensive starters - Returning/Lost: 8 / 3

Specialist - Returning/Lost:  1 / 1

Offensive Formation:  Spread

Defensive Formation:  3-4

2015 VMI Statistics
Rushing Offense: 1286 yards
Yards per game: 117
Yards per rush: 3.3 yards
Rushing 1st downs: 68
Passing Offense: 2976 yards or 271 yards per game
Passing Comp-Att-Int: 258-436-22
Passing 1st downs: 134
Total Offense: 4262 yards or 388 yards per game
Fumbles-Lost: 14 - 9
3d Down Conversions: 71 of 180 (39%)
4th Down Conversions: 15 of 29 (52%)
Punts - Avg:  55 - 39 yards per
Red-Zone Scores: 35-49 (71%)
Red-Zone Touchdowns: 26-49 (53%)
Field-Goal-Attempts: 11-14
On-Side Kicks:  1-5
Kick offs/avg per kick:  45 - 59 yards per

Scott Wachenheim enters his second year as the head coach of one of the most difficult programs in FCS football to pick up wins. While quarterback Al Cobb showed huge flashes at times last season, he has got to learn how not to turn the football over, last season he had a total of 18 picks. He passed for 2736 yards last season, completing 61.2% of his passes. The Keydets lost 4 on offense, OL – Nate Murray, OL-Chad Reed, RB- Derrick Zigler. & WR- Sam Patterson. On defense, they lost DL-Denton Ensminger, DL-Joe Nelson and DB-Caleb Furlow.



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Friday, July 22, 2016

2016 Football Preseason Preview: Chattanooga


Throughout this preseason, Purple & Gold will preview all of Western's 2016 football opponents. Today we look at the Chattanooga Mocs.

For their eighth game of the season, the Catamounts return to Cullowhee for the forth home game of the season. The opponent is last year's co-champion, Chattanooga..

The Cats last won against the Mocs in Cullowhee back in 2008, with a 27-7 victory over Chattanooga.



Chattanooga






When: Saturday, October 29th - Time 3:30 pm 

Where: E. J. Whitmire Stadium, Cullowhee, NC

Radio: Catamount Sports Network

TV / video: SoCon Digital Network 

The Series:  The Cats own a 16-26-0 all time record against the Mocs, having first played in 1973. Currently the Mocs have a 7 game win streak going against Western, as the Cats last won in Cullowhee back in 2008.

Head Coach: Russ Huesman   Very few individuals can impact a program the way Russ Huesman has influenced the Chattanooga Mocs since taking over as the 22nd head football coach at his alma mater on Dec. 22, 2008. Huesman has orchestrated a monumental turnaround over the last seven years, including three-straight Southern Conference titles and back-to-back trips to the FCS Playoffs. A 1983 graduate of UTC and a former defensive back for Chattanooga, Huesman used his 25 years of coaching experience to change the culture of Mocs football – in the classroom, in competition and in the community. Coach Huesman led Chattanooga to its first SoCon title since 1984 and just its fifth in school history in 2013. 

Last year’s record (Chattanooga):   9-4 overall, 5-1 home, 4-3 away (6-1 SoCon)  

Last Season's Game vs. Chattanooga:  (Oct. 31, 2015)
No. 4 Chattanooga Hands Western Carolina a 41-13 Road Loss  - Quarterback Jacob Huesman amassed 359 yards of total offense including 191 passing yards and 168 yards and a touchdown on the ground with tailback Derrick Craine scoring four rushing TDs as No. 4 Chattanooga handed Western Carolina a 41-13 loss on Saturday afternoon in Southern Conference action at Finley Stadium. Chattanooga (7-1, 5-0 SoCon) - which won its seventh-straight seasonall game and its 12th league game in a row - scored four-consecutive rushing touchdowns following a Detrez Newsome two-yard run that drew the Catamounts to within one, 7-6, in the first quarter. The Mocs capitalized on the lone turnover of the game -- a WCU fumble as the Catamounts were looking for the end zone - driving 87 yards for a score as a part of the four-straight TDs, taking a 35-6 halftime advantage.

Offensive starters - Returning/Lost: 8 / 3

Defensive starters - Returning/Lost: 6 / 5

Specialist - Returning/Lost: 4 / 2

Offensive Formation: Multiple

Defensive Formation: Multiple

2015 Chattanooga Statistics
Rushing Offense: 3403 yards
Yards per game: 242
Yards per rush: 5.2 yards
TDs rushing: 28
Passing Offense: 2255 yards or 174 yards per game
Passing Comp-Att-Int: 191-287-10
Total Offense: 5400 yards or 415 yards per game
Passing 1st downs: 91
Rushing 1st downs: 177
Fumbles-Lost: 15 - 6
3d Down Conversions: 92 of 181 (51%)
4th Down Conversions: 9 of 16  (56%)
Red-Zone Scores: 45-55  (82%)
Red-Zone Touchdowns: 31-55  (56%)
Field-Goal-Attempts:  17-21

The Mocs are ranked in several preseason polls, including No. 7 in Athlon Sports, No. 8 in the Sporting News and No. 11 in Lindy’s. They are replacing three starters on offense  - quarterback Jacob Huesman, right guard Synjen Herren and tight end Steve Pickren. UTC is also replacing five on defense - linemen Josh Freeman and Toyvian Brand, linebacker A.J. Hampton, "dime" Sema’je Kendall and DB Dee Virgin. Returning are three who are garnering preseason All-American recognition, senior offensive lineman Corey Levin, defensive lineman Keionta Davis, and junior defensive back Lucas Webb. Changes in the football staff have Carey Bailey as the defensive line coach while Rob Spence is the new receivers coach., while Adam Ross took over the offensive line.



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Thursday, July 21, 2016

2016 Football Preseason Preview: Samford





Throughout this preseason, Purple & Gold will preview all of Western's 2016 football opponents. Today we look at the Samford Bulldogs.

For their seventh game of the season, the Catamounts travel to Birmingham, AL to meet the Bulldogs in Seibert Stadium. This will be the Cats second straight road trip and fifth conference game of the year.

Since Samford joined the Southern Conference in 2008, Western is 1-7 against the Bulldogs.


Samford





When: Saturday, October 22nd - Time  6:00 pm

Where: Seibert Stadium, Birmingham, AL

Radio: Catamount Sports Network

TV / video:  ESPN3

The Series: The Cats are 2-11 overall against the Bulldogs since winning the first outing back in 1969. Samford owned an eleven game winning streak against Western until last year when the Cats broke that winning streak in Cullowhee with a 56-36 win over the Dogs.   

Head Coach:  Chris Hatcher.    Hatcher was named Samford’s 36th head football coach on Dec. 11, 2014. His career record is 121-57 in 15 years as a college head coach at Murray State, Georgia Southern and Valdosta State. Hatcher served as the head coach at Murray State since 2010.and had five seasons with the Racers, Hatcher’s teams employ the high-powered “Hatch Attack”. 

Last Season's Game vs. Samford:     October 24, 2015
Catamounts Claim Homecoming Game over Samford, 56-36   -    Corey Holloway rushed for two touchdowns and Karnorris Benson tallied a pair of receiving scores as Western Carolina powered past the Samford Bulldogs, 56-36, on Saturday afternoon in Southern Conference play at E.J. Whitmire Stadium / Bob Waters Field. The Catamounts claimed their fourth-straight seasonal victory, winning their third-consecutive Homecoming game. WCU (5-2, 3-1 SoCon), which never trailed on Saturday, scored on five of its seven second half possessions including three-consecutive touchdowns to grab a 26-point lead early in the fourth quarter. Spearman Robinson capped scoring with a 49-yard kickoff return for a touchdown on an on-side kick attempt to provide the final tally.

Last Season's Record (Samford):  6-5 overall,  3-3 home, 3-2 away  (3-4 SoCon)

Offensive starters - Returning/Lost: 8 / 3

Defensive starters - Returning/Lost: 8 / 3

Specialist - Returning/Lost: 4 / 3

Offensive Formation: Multiple

Defensive Formation:  4-3

2015 Samford Statistics
Rushing Offense: 1615 yards
Yards per game: 147
Yards per rush: 4.2 yards
TDs rushing: 20
Passing Offense: 3662 yards or 333 yards per game
Passing Comp-Att-Int: 324-465-11
Total Offense: 5277 yards or 480 yards per game
Passing 1st downs: 87
Rushing 1st downs: 162
Fumbles-Lost: 14 - 7
3d Down Conversions: 60 of 165
4th Down Conversions: 14 of 21

Devlin Hodges returns as the starting QB and looks to be one of the better QBs in the league. The Bulldogs return a solid and deep group at RB, with Denzell Williams leading the way after running up 518 yards last season. The receiving corps is solid as well, as the top five receivers return from last season. Karel Hamilton leds the receivers with 75 receptions, followed by Emmanuel Obajimi (54-826) and McKnight (57-616).  While the offense stacks up well, there may be problems with the defense that gave up over 220 years per game last season.

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Monday, July 18, 2016

2016 Football Preseason Preview: Mercer




Throughout this preseason, Purple & Gold will preview all of Western's 2016 football opponents. Today we look at the Mercer Bears.

For their sixth game of the season, the Catamounts travel to Macon, GA to  meet the Mercer Bears. This will be the Cats second time traveling to Mercer for football.






Mercer




When:  Saturday, October 15th  - Time TBA

Where:  Five Star Stadium. Macon, GA

Radio:  Catamount Sports Network 

TV / video:  ESPN3

The Series:  This will be only the third meeting between the Catamounts and Bears on the gridiron. The first meeting in 2014 in Macon, and the Cats won both previous meetings.


Head Coach:  Bobby Lamb
Bobby Lamb enters his forth season as head coach of Mercer football. In his first season, the Bears set a NCAA Division I record for wins by a first-year program with a 10-2 campaign. The 2013 win total also set a school record for victories, surpassing the previous mark of seven wins by Lake Russell’s 1931 and 1932 squads. Lamb led the Bears into their first season of Southern Conference play in 2014,



Last year’s record (Mercer): 5-6 overall  (home: 3-3, away: 2-3),  2-5 in the SoCon

Last Season's Game vs. Mercer (Oct. 10, 2015):
Fourth Quarter Rally Lifts Western Carolina over Mercer, 24-21  - Sophomore tailback Detrez Newsome capped a 91-yard game-winning scoring drive with a 22-yard romp inside the final minute on Saturday afternoon as Western Carolina rallied past the Mercer Bears, 24-21, in Southern Conference action at E.J. Whitmire Stadium / Bob Waters Field. Newsome burst up the middle on a fourth down rush to provide the go-ahead score, tallying his sixth rushing TD of the season, having scored at least one in each of WCU's five games this season. Mercer (2-3, 0-2 SoCon) had one last opportunity, but a Jagger Lieb 42-yard attempt sailed wide left as time expired giving the Catamounts (3-2, 1-1 SoCon) their fourth-straight home victory. -

Offensive starters - Returning/Lost: 10 / 1

Defensive starters - Returning/Lost: 10 / 1

Specialist - Returning/Lost: 6  /  2

Offensive Formation: Pistol  (spread that resembles those of Western Carolina and Chattanooga out of the Pistol)

Defensive Formation: 3-4

2015 Mercer Statistics
Rushing Offense: 2512 yards
Yards per game: 213
Yards per rush: 4.8 yards
TDs rushing: 23
Passing Offense: 2205 yards or 200 yards per game
Passing Comp-Att-Int: 305-176-3
Total Offense: 4542 yards or 413 yards per game
Passing 1st downs: 93
Rushing 1st downs: 123
Fumbles-Lost: 14 - 7
3d Down Conversions: 67 of 157 or 43%
4th Down Conversions: 15 of 24 or 63%
Red-Zone Scores: 41 of 44
Red-Zone Touchdowns: 32 of 44


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Saturday, July 16, 2016

2016 Football Preseason Preview: Wofford



Throughout this preseason, Purple & Gold will preview all of Western's 2016 football opponents. Today we look at the Wofford Terriers.

In the fifth game of the 2016 season, Wofford travels to Cullowhee for what will be the Cats second straight home game, and the third in Cullowhee this season.

In a series that started in 1952, The Cats and Terriers have played a total of 38 times, and the Cats are 10-9-0 againt the Terriers in games played in Cullowhee.









Wofford




When: Saturday, October 8 at 6:00 pm

Where: E. J. Whitmire Stadium, Cullowhee

Radio: Catamount Sports Network

TV / video:  SoCon Digital Network

The Series: The Cats are 14-24 overall against the Terriers. having  won the last two times the two teams played.


Head Coach:  Mike Ayers
Entering his 29th season, Mike Ayers is the dean of Southern Conference football coaches. Ayers has guided the Terriers from the NAIA and NCAA Division II ranks to Division I and the Southern Conference. Along the way, the team made appearances in the Division II Playoffs in 1990 and 1991, the Division I FCS Playoffs in 2003, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, and 2012, and claimed Southern Conference titles in 2003, 2007, 2010, and 2012.


Last Year's Record:  5-6 overall,  (home 3-3,  road 2-3)  3-4 in the SoCon.  The Terriers lost to The Citadel, Western Carolina, Chattanooga, and Samford last season.

Last Season's Game vs. Wofford  (October 17th 2015)
Western Carolina Fends Off Wofford for Road Victory, 24-17  -  Troy Mitchell threw for 203 yards and two touchdowns and Western Carolina capitalized on five Wofford turnovers as the Catamounts held off the Terriers, 24-17, in Southern Conference action Saturday afternoon at Gibbs Stadium. After mounting fourth quarter rallies for the first two wins in the current three-game win streak, it was the Catamount defense which was called upon to stand tall in the final frame on Saturday.

Offensive starters - Returning/Lost: 8 / 3

Defensive starters - Returning/Lost: 9 / 2

Specialist - Returning/Lost: 3 / 0

Offensive Formation: Triple Option (Wingbone)

Defensive Formation: Multiple 50

2015 Wofford Statistics:
Rushing Offense: 3302 yards (300 per game average)
Yards per rush: 5.2 yards
TDs rushing: 33
Passing Offense: 860 yards (69 yards per game)
Yards per pass: 7.2
Passing Comp-Att-Int: 54-106-4
Total Offense: 4062 yards or 369 yards per game
Fumbles-Lost: 30-15
Penalties-Yards: 48 - 440 yards
3d Down Conversions: 59 of 151 or 39%
4th Down Conversions: 17 of 29 or 59%
Field Goals - Attempts: 10 of 13
Red-Zone Scores: 33 of 36
Red-Zone Touchdows: 29 of 36
On-side kicks:  2 - 2
Punts (No. Yards): 46 (1597 yds)
Avg, per punt: 35 yds

In 2015, the Terriers were 5-6 overall and 3-4 in the Southern Conference with wins against Mercer, VMI and Furman, and losses to The Citadel, Western Carolina, Chattanooga, and Samford. Their 5-6 record marked the second losing season in the past three years for the Terriers. Wofford used three different starting quarterbacks during the season. Brad Butler was 14-of-25 passing with 101 rushing yards in three starts, Brandon Goodson was 3-of-8 passing with 24 rushing yards in 3 starts, and Evan Jacks was 34-of-65 passing with 675 rushing yards, including five starts.

The Terriers lost 20 seniors from the 2015 team, but only 5 starters from that group. The Terriers lost wide receiver Will Irwin, running back Ray Smith and tight end Taylor Bragg on the offensive side of the ball, as well as, line backer Drake Michaelson & corner back Brion Anderson on defense.




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Friday, July 15, 2016

2016 Football Preseason Preview: The Citadel





Throughout this preseason, Purple & Gold will preview all of Western's 2016 football opponents. Today we look at The Citadel.

Coming off the 2015-16 season tied for a Southern Conference championship, the Bulldogs travel to Cullowhee for the forth game of the young Catamount football season.

Western faces the Bulldogs for the forty-first time since 1972, in the Catamount's second home game of the season.








The Citadel   


When: Saturday, October 1st at 3:30 pm

Where: E. J. Whitmire Stadium, Cullowhee, NC

Radio: Catamount Sports Network

TV / video: SoCon Digital Network

The Series: Western trails The Citadel 16-23-1 overall in the series, but are 10-10 in games played in Cullowhee. Can the Cats improve on those two records this year?

Head Coach: Brent Thompson - Thompson was named The Citadel's 25th head football coach on January 19, 2016. Thompson served as the Bulldogs’ offensive coordinator and quarterbacks/B-Backs coach for the past two seasons. His rushing attack produced 27 individual 100-yard rushing games in that time, including a single-season program-record 14 in 2015, which ranks as the most in any two-year stretch in school history. In 2015, The Citadel finished 9-4 overall after advancing to the second round of the NCAA FCS Playoffs for only the second time in school history. The Bulldogs earned the program’s first road playoff win with a 41-38 victory at Coastal Carolina in the first round of the playoffs.


Last year’s record: 9-4 overall, 5-1 at home and 4-3 on the road.  6-1 in the SoCon

Last Season's Game vs. The Citadel: (Sept. 12, 2015 in Charleston, SC) -
Catamounts Tripped by The Citadel in SoCon Opener, 28-10 - Bulldog quarterback Dominique Allen accounted for 204 yards of total offense including 99 yards rushing and two touchdowns as The Citadel defeated Western Carolina, 28-10, Saturday night at Johnson Hagood Stadium in the Southern Conference opener for both squads. The Bulldogs (2-0, 1-0 SoCon) scored four rushing touchdowns -- three after the Catamounts pulled ahead for the first time in the game midway through the third quarter -- to secure the victory.

Offensive starters - Returning/Lost:   7 / 4
-Returning - WR-Jorian Jordan, LT-Isiah Pinson, LG-Kyle Weaver, C-Ryan Vednar, QB-Dominique Allen, A-back Cam Johnson, B-back Tyler Renew

Defensive starters - Returning/Lost:  8  / 3
-Returning - DT-Jonathan King, DE-Joe Crochet, KLB-Tevin Floyd, BANDIT-Dondray Copeland, CB-Dee Delaney, ROVER-Kailik Williams, FS-Malik Diggs, CB-Shy Phillips

Specialist - Returning/Lost:  7 / 0

Offensive Formation: Triple Option

Defensive Formation: 4-2-5

2015 The Citadel Statistics:
Rushing Offense: 4510 yards or 347 yards per game
Yards per rush:  5.7
TDs rushing:  41
Passing Offense:  964 yards or 74 yards per game
Passing Comp-Att-Int:  56-108-6
Total Offense:  5474 yards or 421 yards per game
Fumbles-Lost:  30 - 20
Penalties-Yards:  44 - 6043 yards
3d Down Conversions:  89 of 180 or 49%
4th Down Conversions:  7 of 19 or 37%
Field Goals - Attempts:  16 of  21
Red-Zone Scores:  41 of 54  (76%)
Red-Zone Touchdowns:  32 of 54 (59%)
Punts (No. Yards):   44 (1667) Avg, per punt: 38


The Citadel returns 15 starters and 52 lettermen from the 2015 squad, and includes All-Americans Dee Delaney (DB) and Tyler Renew (B-BACK) and all-conference selections Ken Allen (DL), Tyler Davis (OL), Tevin Floyd (LB), Evan McField (B-BACK), Quinlan Washington (LB), Kyle Weaver (OL) and Kailik Williams (DB).The 2015 conference co-champions enter the 2016 season having scored 41 rushing touchdowns to rank first in the SoCon and fourth in the FCS. last season. The Bulldogs’ averaged 346.9 rushing yards per game was again first in the SoCon and second in FCS. The Bulldogs’ 31 turnovers forced ranked them firstst in the SoCon and tied for third in FCS in the 2015 season

Those are great stats for the defending champions to bring to Cullowhee, but they also will bring in a brand new head coach (Brent Thompson),  a brand new offensive coordinator (Lou Conte) and brand new defensive coordinator (WCU alumni Blake Harrell).  While not new to the Citadel, all three are new to their 2016 positions, so we'll how how such a massive turnover in positions, as well as the loss of a head coach affects this team.




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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Head T&F Coach Danny Williamson

As the head track and field coach at Western Carolina, Coach Williamson won a total of 32 SoCon championships, 18 women’s championships and 14 men’s championships. He was voted Coach of the year 39 times (13 women’s indoor, 11 men’s indoor; 8 women’s outdoor; 7 men’s outdoor).

"We were able to develop something special here at WCU within the cross-country / track and field programs, extending beyond just results from athletic events,” Williamson said. “The student-athletes that have come through the program over the past 30 years were remarkable individuals, as what they were able to accomplish off of the track may be more impressive than what they accomplished on the track. To say the least, they made a huge impact and difference in my life."

"We were able to create a huge family atmosphere within the program that was the true selling point of the program, along with the success of the program in the Southern Conference. All of the credit of the success goes to the many student-athletes that wore the Catamount uniform, along with the many assistant coaches who on a daily basis were always there for the student-athletes.”



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2016 Football Preseason Preview: ETSU



Throughout this preseason, Purple & Gold will preview all of Western's 2016 football opponents. Today we look at East Tennessee State.

Coming off their second straight 5-2 conference finish in the SoCon, the Catamounts travel to Bristol, Tennessee to open conference play against the Bucs of East Tennessee State.

Western and the Bucs will revive a series that started in 1932 and abruptly ended in 2003
when the Buccaneers eliminated football at East Tennessee State. Adding to the revival of play between the two teams, the game will be played at the Bristol Motor Speedway.




East Tennessee State





When: Saturday, September 17th

Where: Bristol Motor Speedway, Bristol, TN

Radio: Catamount Sports Network

TV / video: The SoCon Digital Network

The Series: This series also stretches back to 1932, with the Cats hold a slim lead, 23-21-1. The last game played between the two was in Johnson City and won by the Catamounts.

Last game played: (Sept. 27, 2003) WCU Improves to 2-0 in SoCon With 28-21 at ETSU -
Thanks to one of the best games in WCU history by senior wide receiver Lamont Seward, Western Carolina rolled up 446 yards of total offense and held the ball for 39:10 en route to a 28-21 victory over East Tennessee State Saturday afternoon at the Memorial Center.

Seward, a preseason All-Southern Conference pick, caught 12 passes for 176 yards to move to seventh on the WCU all-time list for receptions (147). Seward's 12 catches, 11 of which went for first down yardage, marks the second-best, single-game effort in WCU history, tying his own number from his freshman year versus Wofford. The 176 yards, Seward's ninth career 100-yard game, is the 12th-best single-game total. The Warrenton, N.C., native has now caught at least one pass in 32 consecutive games and at least one in 36 of his 38 career contests.


Head Coach: Carl Torbush was named head coach of the East Tennessee State University football program on June 21, 2013, and tasked with resurrecting a program that will kick off a new era of play in the fall of 2015. Torbush, whose career includes head coaching stops at North Carolina and Louisiana Tech, has built a strong reputation as an outstanding defensive strategist after having served as a defensive coordinator at six FBS programs, including Alabama, Mississippi, Mississippi State, Kansas, Texas A&M and UNC.

Last Year's Record: 2-9 overall  (home 2-4, road 0-), played as an independent

Offensive starters - Returning/Lost: 11 / 0

Defensive starters - Returning/Lost: 11 / 0

Specialist - Returning/Lost: 5 / 0

Offensive Formation: Spread

Defensive Formation: 3-4

2015 Bucs Statistics:
Rushing Offense: 2126 yards
Yards per game: 152
Yards per rush: 3.5 yards
TDs rushing: 14
Passing Offense: 1856 yards or 169 yards per game
Passing Comp-Att-Int: 160-286-12
Total Offense: 2825 yards or 257 yards per game
Passing 1st downs: 82
Rushing 1st downs: 104
Fumbles-Lost: 23 - 9
Penalties-Yards: 57 - 454 yards
3d Down Conversions: 61 of 168 - 36%
4th Down Conversions: 4 of 18 - 22%
Red-Zone Scores: 24 of 30 (80%)
Red-Zone Touchdowns: 16 of 30  (53%)
Punts: 62 - Avg. per punt: 36 yrds
Sacks: 14
PAT-Attempts: 22 of 22
Field Goals-Attempts: 8 of 13
Time of possession per game: 31:43

In their return to football last season, the Bucs played one NAIA team, two Div III teams, one Div II team and seven FCS opponents. picking up 2 wins.  One of the Bucs wins was over Div II's Kentucky Wesleyan and the second over NAIA's Warner College.


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Monday, July 11, 2016

2016 Football Preseason Preview: Gardner-Webb


Throughout this preseason, Purple & Gold will preview all of Western's 2016 football opponents. Today we look at the Gardner-Webb Runnin' Bulldogs.

In the second game of the 2016 season, the 'Dogs travel to Cullowhee to meet the Cats for the first time since the 2010 football season.  The Cats won that game, 28-14 in Boiling Springs.






Gardner-Webb




When: Saturday, September 10th at 6:00 pm

Where: E. J. Whitmire Stadium, Cullowhee, NC

Radio: Catamount Sports Network 

TV / video: The SoCon Digital Network

The Series:  The series stretches back to 1932, and is currently tied at 3-3. The Cats are 2-1 in Cullowhee against the Runnin' Bulldogs.

Last game played: Defense, Pittman Lead Western Carolina over Gardner-Webb, 28-14
Western Carolina converted two of its six defensive takeaways into 14 points, while senior Marquel Pittman and Michael Johnson both added offensive scores as the Catamounts rebounded Saturday night to upend the Gardner-Webb Runnin' Bulldogs, 28-14, at Spangler Stadium.


Head Coach: Gardner-Webb head coach Carroll McCray (Class of ‘83) enters his forth season in charge of his alma mater’s football program in 2016. McCray is in the midst of a rebuilding effort that he embarked upon in 2013, adjusting the culture quickly in his first season and instilling pride into the program for which he once played.






Last Year's Record: 4-7 overall (home 3-3, road 1-4), 2-4 Big South Conference

Offensive starters - Returning/Lost: 8 / 3

Defensive starters - Returning/Lost: 5 / 6

Specialist - Returning/Lost: 5 / 0

Offensive Formation: Spread

Defensive Formation:  3-4


2015 Bulldog Statistics:
Rushing Offense: 1739 yards
Yards per game: 158
Yards per rush: 3.6 yards
TDs rushing: 9
Passing Offense: 1086 yards or 99 yards per game
Passing Comp-Att-Int: 115-250-11
Total Offense: 2825 yards or 257 yards per game
Passing 1st downs: 51
Rushing 1st downs: 99
Fumbles-Lost: 19 - 9
Penalties-Yards: 57 - 540 yards
3d Down Conversions: 42 of 167  - 25%
4th Down Conversions: 10 of 21 - 48%
Red-Zone Scores: 16 of 23 (70%)
Red-Zone Touchdowns: 11 of 23  (48%)
Punts : 81 -  Avg. per punt: 38 yds
Sacks: 18
PAT-Attempts: 16 of 17 - 94%
Field Goals-Attempts: 7 of 12
Time of possession per game: 30:34


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Saturday, July 9, 2016

2016 Football Preseason Preview: East Carolina




Throughout this preseason, Purple & Gold will preview all of Western's 2016 football opponents. Today we look at the East Carolina Pirates.

In the opening game of the 2016 season, the Catamounts travel to Greenville, NC to meet former Southern Conference member, East Carolina. 

The all-time series between the Catamounts and Pirates dates back to 1936. The first game was played in Greenville, NC with a 7-6 WCU victory, in the first of back-to-back wins by the Cats. However, of the 30 overall meetings, 19 have been played in Greenville - including all seven during ECU's current 7 game win streak.




East Carolina




When: Saturday, September 3d at 6:00 pm

Where: Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium  (50,000), Greenville, NC

RadioCatamount Sports Network

TV / video: ESPN3

The Series:  The two teams met regularly until the outbreak of World War II with the Catamounts claiming four of the first six meetings. Following the 1941 meeting, the series lay dormant until 1946. The two schools then met regularly until 1963 before a second break between games, renewing the series in 1975 with six games over a seven-year period, all won by East Carolina. Though both schools have been members of the Southern Conference, the two never crossed paths in SoCon play, as the Pirates left the league in 1976 - the same year WCU accepted an invitation to join. In all, the Pirates have claimed seven-straight in the head-to-head series as WCU trails, 13-17.



Head Coach:  Scottie Montogomery
Montogomery is in his first season as head coach at ECU and was formally introduced as the Pirates' 21st head coach on December 14, 2015. His acceptance of the ECU position ended a two-year tenure as the Duke Blue Devils' associate head coach, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. Overall, Montgomery served on the Duke staff for seven seasons under head coaches Ted Roof (2006-07) and David Cutcliffe (2008-09, 2013-15) - five as receivers coach. He helped guide Duke to three-straight bowl appearances.




Last Year's Record: 5-7 overall (home 3-3, road 2-4), 3-5 American Athletic Conference

Offensive starters - Returning/Lost: 5 / 7
- Returning - J.T. Boyd (OG), Davon Grayson (WR), Isaiah Jones (WR), Brandon Smith (OT), Jimmy Williams (WR)

Defensive starters - Returning/Lost: 6  / 5
-Returning - Joe Allely (OLB), DaShawn Benton (SS), Demetri McGill (NT), Fred Presley (DE), Travon Simmons (FS), Jordan Williams (ILB)

Specialist - Returning/Lost: 5 / 0
- Returning - Worth Gregory (P), Quay Johnson (PR/KOR), Colton Oliver (DS), Davis Plowman (PK), Caleb Pratt (KOS)

Offensive Formation: Multiple

Defensive Formation: Multiple 3-4

The offense:  For the third year in a row, ECU will be working with a new offensive coordinator, and with the voluntary departures of Blake Kemp and Kurt Benkert, the quarterback job will probably fall to transfer senior Philip Nelson, who arrived at ECU after making stops at Minnesota and Rutgers (where he was booted following an assault arrest). Nelson hasn't hasn’t thrown a pass in a game since 2013, but he has a solid group of receivers that’s led by Isaiah Jones, Trevon Brown and do-everything James Summers, who threw for five scores and ran for eight more in 2015.  In the the race to replace last year's leading rusher Chris Hairston, Anthony Scott and a pair of transfers, Derrell Scott (Tennessee) and Jeffrey Coprich (Cal) will compete for the starting job. The offensive line will have a new look as well, with untested sophomores Messiah Rice and Garrett McGhin favored to start at left tackle and left guard, respectively.

2015 Pirate Statistics:
Rushing Offense: 1600 yards
Yards per game: 133
Yards per rush: 4.0 yards
TDs rushing: 19
Passing Offense: 3375 yards or 281 yards per game
Passing Comp-Att-Int: 321-473-12
Total Offense: 4975 yards or 415 yards per game
Passing 1st downs: 158
Rushing 1st downs: 86
Fumbles-Lost: 18 - 7
Penalties-Yards: 89 - 825 yards
3d Down Conversions: 80 of 186  - 43%
4th Down Conversions:  11of 17 - 65%
Red-Zone Scores: 49 of 44  (89%)
Red-Zone Touchdowns: 30 of 44 (68%)
Punts : 64
Avg. per punt: 41 yds
Sacks: 25
PAT-Attempts: 41 of 43 - 95%
Field Goals-Attempts: 10 of 13
Time of possession per game: 28:03


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Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Four named to the 2016 NCCSIA All-State Baseball Team

Western Carolina put four players on the 2016 University Division All-State Baseball teams released on Wednesday.

Matt Smith collected first team honors,  while Danny Bermudez,  Bryson Bowman, and Bryan Sammons were picked for second team honors.


Courtesy WCU Athletic Media Relations      

Five named to the 2016 NCCSIA All-State Softball Team

Five Western Carolina Softball players were named to the 2016 NCCSIA All-State Softball Team.

Seniors Taylor Sigmon, Crystal Cyr and Karley Harkey were named to the first team while freshman Madison Armstrong and junior Courtney Price were named to the second team.


   Courtesy WCU Athletic Media Relations