Monday, July 16, 2018

47 Days 'till Football Kickoff - #47 Joel Poinsette








It's now 47 days until the kickoff of Catamount football on Labor Day Weekend, Saturday, September 1, 2018, against the Newberry College Wolves, in Cullowhee.

For the season's kick-off game, the Cats will host a "White Out" in E.J. Whitmire Stadium as the Cats sport their all-white look, white Adidas jerseys over white pants; and for the fourth-straight year, a post game fireworks extravaganza.

To help pass those long summer days, and hopefully get the Catamount faithful more excited about the upcoming season, and knowledgeable of the team members, we'll continue the 100-day football countdown each day until kickoff day.

Today we'll highlight a kicker.


#47 Joel Poinsette

















Position:  Kicker
Height/Weight: 6'0"  165
Year: Freshman
Hometown: Greenville, S.C.
High School: St. Joseph's Catholic HS


Prior to Western Carolina: Committed to the WCU football program as a preferred walk-on ... Handled placekicking and punting duties as a prep ... Participated in the Hammer Kicking Academy Top 40.


Courtesy WCU Athletics Media Relations 

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Sunday, July 15, 2018

48 Days 'till Football Kickoff - #48 Mitchell Chancey









It's now 48 days until the kickoff of Catamount football on Labor Day Weekend, Saturday, September 1, 2018, against the Newberry College Wolves, in Cullowhee.

For the season's kick-off game, the Cats will host a "White Out" in E.J. Whitmire Stadium as the Cats sport their all-white look, white Adidas jerseys over white pants; and for the fourth-straight year, a post game fireworks extravaganza.

To help pass those long summer days, and hopefully get the Catamount faithful more excited about the upcoming season, and knowledgeable of the team members, we'll continue the 100-day football countdown each day until kickoff day.

Today we'll highlight a line backer.

#48 Mitchell Chancey
















Position:  Linebacker
Height/Weight : 6'0" 220
Year: Senior
Hometown: Asheville, N.C.
High School: Erwin HS


2016 (Sophomore): Saw action in 10 of the team's 11 games, mostly as a defensive reserve and on special teams ... Recorded five total tackles spread over four games including a career-high two stops in the home win over Gardner-Webb (Sept. 10) ... Finished with three solo stops ... Credited with four tackles and a quarterback hurry in WCU's annual Spring Game.

2015 (Freshman): Played in eight games, mostly on special teams and as a defensive reserve ... Credited with three tackles including a solo stop ... Made his collegiate debut in the season-opener against Mars Hill (Sept. 5) ... Tallied his first career tackle at The Citadel (Sept. 12) ... Credited with eight stops in WCU's annual Spring Game.

Prior to Western Carolina: Played both running back and linebacker in high school ... Was the 2014 Mountain Athletic Conference (MAC) Defensive Player of the Year and an Asheville Citizen-Times All-Western North Carolina selection ... Recorded 159 tackles including 11 tackles for loss in his final season ... Set a school single-game record for tackles with 26 in a 27-24 win at Reynolds on Sept. 25, 2014 ... Also participated in the shot put in track & field as a prep ... High school coach was Mike Sexton.

Personal: Full name is Mitchell Aaron Chancey ... Is the son of Debbie Chancey ... Has an older brother, Matthew.


Courtesy WCU Athletics Media Relations 

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Saturday, July 14, 2018

49 Days 'till Football Kickoff - #49 Nate Link








It's now 49 days until the kickoff of Catamount football on Labor Day Weekend, Saturday, September 1, 2018, against the Newberry College Wolves, in Cullowhee.

For the season's kick-off game, the Cats will host a "White Out" in E.J. Whitmire Stadium as the Cats sport their all-white look, white Adidas jerseys over white pants; and for the fourth-straight year, a post game fireworks extravaganza.

To help pass those long summer days, and hopefully get the Catamount faithful more excited about the upcoming season, and knowledgeable of the team members, we'll continue the 100-day football countdown each day until kickoff day.

Today we'll highlight a player on the defensive line


#49 Nate Link

















Position: Defensive Line
Height/Weight: 6'2"  250
Class: Redshirt Sophomore
Hometown: Crowley, La.
High School: Notre Dame HS

Prior to Western Carolina: Transferred to WCU from the University of Louisiana at Monroe (ULM) ... Redshirted as a true freshman in 2015 ... Played in nine games as a redshirt freshman in 2016 recording five tackles including one solo stop; At Notre Dame HS: Earned first team All-Parish, first team All-District, first team All-Acadiana, first team All-State, and first team Coach's All-State as a junior in 2013 ... Tallied 65 tackles as a senior in 2014, including 22 tackles for loss, 14 sacks, and 30 QB hurries ... Earned Defensive MVP honors on both the All-Parish and All-District teams ... Was again named first team All-Acadiana and first team All-State in 2014 ... Selected to play in the 2014 LHSA East-West All-Star Game, collecting MVP honors ... Was a two-star recruit out of high school by both Scout.com and 247Sports.com ... High school head coach was Lewis Cook.

Personal: Full name is Nathaniel Joseph Link ... Is the son of Kerry and Jeanette Link ... Has three siblings; brother Jackson and two sisters, Amalie and Helen.


Courtesy WCU Athletics Media Relations 





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Friday, July 13, 2018

50 Days 'till Football Kickoff - Adam Henderson









It's now 50 days until the kickoff of Catamount football on Labor Day Weekend, Saturday, September 1, 2018, against the Newberry College Wolves, in Cullowhee.

For the season's kick-off game, the Cats will host a "White Out" in E.J. Whitmire Stadium as the Cats sport their all-white look, white Adidas jerseys over white pants; and for the fourth-straight year, a postgame fireworks extravaganza.

To help pass those long summer days, and hopefully get the Catamount faithful more excited about the upcoming season, and knowledgeable of the team members, we'll continue the 100-day football countdown each day until kickoff day.

#50 is not assigned on the spring roster, so today we'll highlight an incoming freshman that "could" wear #50

Adam Henderson





Position: DL
Height/Weight: 6-4 - 270 lbs.
Class: Freshman
Hometown: Greenville, S.C.
High School: Berea HS


Prior to Western Carolina: Was a four-year varsity letter winner along the defensive line ... Selected to the 2017 Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas - the first player from Berea High to earn the honor since 1995 ... Named to the Palmetto Champions Team as the Class 3A Upper State Lineman as picked by the South Carolina Football Coaches Association (SCFCA) ... Also played basketball as a prep.

Personal: Full name is Adam Rashad Henderson ... Is the son of Janet Henderson.


Courtesy WCU Athletics Media Relations 





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Thursday, July 12, 2018

51 Days 'till Football Kickoff - #51 Matthew Bair








It's now 51 days until the kickoff of Catamount football on Labor Day Weekend, Saturday, September 1, 2018, against the Newberry College Wolves, in Cullowhee.

For the season's kick-off game, the Cats will host a "White Out" in E.J. Whitmire Stadium as the Cats sport their all-white look, white Adidas jerseys over white pants; and for the fourth-straight year, a postgame fireworks extravaganza.

To help pass those long summer days, and hopefully get the Catamount faithful more excited about the upcoming season, and knowledgeable of the team members, we'll continue the 100-day football countdown each day until kickoff day.

Today we will highlight the offensive line


#51 Matthew Bair

















Position: Offensive Tackle
Height/Weight:  6'4"  260
Year: Redshirt Sophomore
Hometown: Anderson, S.C.
High School:: T.L. Hanna HS


2017 (Redshirt Freshman): Saw action in seven games as a reserve along the offensive line and in special teams ... Made his collegiate debut in the season-opener at Hawai'i.

2016 (Freshman): Did not see game action; expected to take a redshirt ... Named to the 2016-17 Southern Conference Academic Honor Roll

Prior to Western Carolina: Named to the High School Sports Report (HSSR) South Carolina Division II AAAA All-State team as an offensive lineman following his senior year ... Also garnered all-region plaudits ... Graded out at 90 percent with 78 pancake blocks and scored a touchdown as a senior ... Was a two-time Offensive Lineman of the Week from the Anderson Area Touchdown Club ... Twice named T.L. Hanna's Most Valuable Offensive Lineman (2014, 2015) and received the Captain's Award in 2015 ... ... High school coach was Bruce Ollis.



Courtesy WCU Athletics Media Relations 



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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

52 Days 'till Football Kickoff - #52 Grady Thomas









It's now 52 days until the kickoff of Catamount football on Labor Day Weekend, Saturday, September 1, 2018, against the Newberry College Wolves, in Cullowhee.

For the season's kick-off game, the Cats will host a "White Out" in E.J. Whitmire Stadium as the Cats sport their all-white look, white Adidas jerseys over white pants; and for the fourth-straight year, a postgame fireworks extravaganza.

To help pass those long summer days, and hopefully get the Catamount faithful more excited about the upcoming season, and knowledgeable of the team members, we'll continue the 100-day football countdown each day until kickoff day.

Today we will highlight the offensive line

#52 Grady Thomas











Weight/Height:  6'4" 285 lbs
Position: Offensive Tackle
Year: Sophomore
Hometown: Spartanburg, S.C.
High School:  Spartanburg HS

Prior to Western Carolina: Named to the first team All-USA South Carolina football team and to the Herald-Journal All-Area team ... Selected to play in the 80th annual Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas ... High school head coach was Chris Miller ... According to SCMat.com, listed as the No. 5 wrestler in the state of South Carolina at the 5-A classification ... He also won the county championship in wrestling in 2017. Personal: Full name is Grady Maguire Thomas ... Is the son of Tammy Thomas ... Is originally from Laconia, N.H.




Courtesy WCU Athletics Media Relations 



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Tuesday, July 10, 2018

2018 Football Preseason Preview: ETSU












Throughout this preseason, Purple & Gold will preview all of Western Carolina's 2018 football opponents.

For the eighth game of the season, the Cats travel to Johnson City to face the Bucs of East Tennessee State University for the first time at the new William B. Greene, Jr. Stadium, in a game that has become known as the Blue Ridge Border Battle.

Two seasons ago, Western and the Bucs revived the series that started back in 1932, but abruptly ended in 2003 when the Bucs eliminated football. Adding to the newfound rivalry between the two mountain teams, the Bucs upset the Cats at the Bristol Motor Speedway in 2016.





ETSU


When: Saturday, October 27 at 3:30 pm

Where:  William B. Greene, Jr. Stadium, Johnson City, TN

Radio: Catamount Sports Network

TV / video:  ESPN3 or ESPN+

The Series: This series stretches back to 1932, with the Cats holding a slim 24-22-1 lead.

Games that will be played by the Bucs this season prior to the WCU contest:  (8 games) ETSU kicks off their season at home against DII, Mars Hill, then travel to Knoxville to play the Volunteers a week later.  In week three of the season, the Bucs remain on the road as they travel to Lexington, VA to meet the Keydets, then return home to host the Paladins. The Mocs then visit Johnson City for the second of three straight home games, as Big South foe Gardner-Webb visits the Bucs for game six.  After 3 home games, ETSU goes on the road for two games prior to Western's visit, as the Bulldogs of the Citadel host the Bucs followed by Wofford the next week in games 7 & 8.

The last game played vs. ETSU:  October 14, 2017  - Defense, Spencer Key Strong Second Half in WCU's 49-10 Win over ETSU  - Redshirt freshman tailback Donnavan Spencer scored four rushing touchdowns while the defense and special teams units tallied scores of their own as No. 25/21 Western Carolina stormed past upset-minded East Tennessee State in the second half, winning 49-10, in Southern Conference action on Saturday afternoon at E.J. Whitmire Stadium / Bob Waters Field. Western Carolina (5-2, 3-1 SoCon) created three takeaways including two John Brannon III interceptions - one returned for a touchdown with the second return setting-up WCU with a first-and-goal situation - with the third turnover coming on a muffed kickoff fumble recovery. WCU also blocked an ETSU punt with Tyran Reynolds scooping-and-scoring from 35 yards out as a part of a 42-point second half.-




Head Coach: Randy Sanders - Sanders was named ETSU football head coach on Dec. 17, 2017, becoming the 18th head coach in program history. Sanders, a Morristown, Tenn. native, has spent the last 29 years coaching on the Football Bowl Subdivision level, which includes stints as offensive coordinator at Tennessee, Kentucky and most recently Florida State. Sanders was the offensive coordinator when Tennessee won the 1998 BCS National Title and the quarterbacks coach at Florida State when the Seminoles claimed the 2013 National Championship. Sanders played a part in either coaching or recruiting a pair of No. 1 overall picks in the NFL Draft – Peyton Manning (1998) and Jameis Winston (2015). In his 29 years of coaching, Sanders has coached in 26 bowl games and his teams hold a combined record of 258-105-2.


Last Season's Record (ETSU):  2017 record -  4-7 overall,  4-2 home,  0-5 away,  2-6 SoCon

Offensive Formation: Spread

Defensive Formation: 3-4

Starters returning/lost: 18 /4

Offensive starters - Returning/Lost: 9  /  2

Defensive starters - Returning/Lost: 9  /  2

Specialist - Returning/Lost: 7  /  0
 Losses on 2 deep roster:  6

Significant losses:
Offense:  TB - Falon Lee; RT  Alex Rios
Defense: CB - Daren Ardis; SS - Paul Hunter


Top Returners:  QB Austin Herink, RB Jajuan Stinson

New head coach Randy Sanders returns a wealth of experience as the Bucs look to improve on a 4-7 record from last season. The Buck lost only 4 starters from the 2017 team. Sanders hired former Bucs wide receiver Marcus Satterfield as his offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach, Steve Brown his defensive backs coach and Matt McCutchan to oversee the offensive line. Sanders retained Billy Taylor (Defensive Coordinator/Inside Linebackers), Mike Rader (Wide Receivers/Recruiting Coordinator), Gary Downs (Running Backs), Daryl Daye (Defensive Line/Special Teams), Dylan Lewellyn (Outside Linebackers) and Al Johnson (Strength and Conditioning) from the previous staff.

2017 ETSU Statistics
Rushing Offense: 1130 yards
Yards per game: 70
Yards per rush: 2.1 yards
Rushing 1st downs: 56
TDs rushing: 8
Passing Offense: 2216 yards or 201 yards per game
Avg. per pass: 12 yards
Passing 1st downs: 93
Passing Comp-Att-Int: 183-323-6
TDs Passing: 14
Total Offense: 2997 yards or 273 yards per game
Fumbles-Lost: 12-8
3d Down Conversions: 51 of 159 (32%)
4th Down Conversions: 5 of 14 (36%)
Field goal attempts: 14 - 18
PAT-Attempts: 21 of 21
On-side kicks: 0-0
Red Zone Scores: 20 of 24 (83%)
Red Zone Touchdowns: 13 of 24 (54%)
Punts - Yards: 68 - 2660 - Avg per punt: 36


Game prediction: Per the Massey Ratings, the Cats have a 70% probability of winning (31-24) over the Bears.

According to Massey, Western Carolina should be 5-3 after this game. I'm going to disagree, the Cats are 7-1 after this game.

53 Days 'till Football Kickoff - #53 Abe Noland








It's now 53 days until the kickoff of Catamount football on Labor Day Weekend, Saturday, September 1, 2018, against the Newberry College Wolves, in Cullowhee.

For the season's kick-off game, the Cats will host a "White Out" in E.J. Whitmire Stadium as the Cats sport their all-white look, white Adidas jerseys over white pants; and for the fourth-straight year, a postgame fireworks extravaganza.

To help pass those long summer days, and hopefully get the Catamount faithful more excited about the upcoming season, and knowledgeable of the team members, we'll continue the 100-day football countdown each day until kickoff day.

Today we will highlight the offensive line

#53 Abe Noland

















Height/Weight: 5'11" 255 lbs
Position: Offensive Tackle
Year: Sophomore
Hometown: Watkinsville, Ga
High School: Oconee County HS



Courtesy WCU Athletics Media Relations 



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Monday, July 9, 2018

Athletics Attendance Pledge - #Catamounts 24/7

54 Days 'till Football Kickoff - Andrew Birkmire








It's now 54 days until the kickoff of Catamount football on Labor Day Weekend, Saturday, September 1, 2018, against the Newberry College Wolves, in Cullowhee.

For the season's kick-off game, the Cats will host a "White Out" in E.J. Whitmire Stadium as the Cats sport their all-white look, white Adidas jerseys over white pants; and for the fourth-straight year, a postgame fireworks extravaganza.

To help pass those long summer days, and hopefully get the Catamount faithful more excited about the upcoming season, and knowledgeable of the team members, we'll continue the 100-day football countdown each day until kickoff day.

- No one is assigned to #54 on the spring roster - so we'll highlight a player that "could" be assigned to that number -

Andrew Birkmire 

















Height/Weight: 6'2" 215 lbs
Position: Linebacker
Year: RSophomore.
Hometown: Oviedo, Fla.
High School: Oviedo HS



Courtesy WCU Athletics Media Relations 



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Sunday, July 8, 2018

55 Days 'till Football Kickoff - #55 Matthew Klipa








It's now 55 days until the kickoff of Catamount football on Labor Day Weekend, Saturday, September 1, 2018, against the Newberry College Wolves, in Cullowhee.

For the season's kick-off game, the Cats will host a "White Out" in E.J. Whitmire Stadium as the Cats sport their all-white look, white Adidas jerseys over white pants; and for the fourth-straight year, a postgame fireworks extravaganza.

To help pass those long summer days, and hopefully get the Catamount faithful more excited about the upcoming season, and knowledgeable of the team members, we'll continue the 100-day football countdown each day until kickoff day.

Today we'll highlight long snapper -


#55 Matthew Klipa
















Height/Weight: 5'9" 200 lbs
Position: Long Snapper
Year:  So.
Hometown: Rock Hill, S.C.
High School: Smoky Mountain (N.C.) HS



Courtesy WCU Athletics Media Relations 





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Saturday, July 7, 2018

56 Days 'till Football Kickoff - #56 Jerod Walls









It's now 56 days until the kickoff of Catamount football on Labor Day Weekend, Saturday, September 1, 2018, against the Newberry College Wolves, in Cullowhee.

For the season's kick-off game, the Cats will host a "White Out" in E.J. Whitmire Stadium as the Cats sport their all-white look, white Adidas jerseys over white pants; and for the fourth-straight year, a postgame fireworks extravaganza.

To help pass those long summer days, and hopefully get the Catamount faithful more excited about the upcoming season, and knowledgeable of the team members, we'll continue the 100-day football countdown each day until kickoff day.

Today we'll highlight linebackers -


#56 Jerod Walls

















Height/Weight: 6'0" 210 lbs
Position: Linebacker
Year: RJr.
Hometown: Lexington, N.C.
High School: Central Davidson HS


Courtesy WCU Athletics Media Relations 





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Friday, July 6, 2018

57 Days 'till Football Kickoff - #57 Alan Harris








It's now 57 days until the kickoff of Catamount football on Labor Day Weekend, Saturday, September 1, 2018, against the Newberry College Wolves, in Cullowhee.

For the season's kick-off game, the Cats will host a "White Out" in E.J. Whitmire Stadium as the Cats sport their all-white look, white Adidas jerseys over white pants; and for the fourth-straight year, a postgame fireworks extravaganza.

To help pass those long summer days, and hopefully get the Catamount faithful more excited about the upcoming season, and knowledgeable of the team members, we'll continue the 100-day football countdown each day until kickoff day.

Today we'll highlight linebackers -

#57 Alan Harris
















Height/Weight: 6'2" 225 lbs
Position: Linebacker
Year: Sophomore
Hometown: Atlanta, Ga.
High School: Mt. Vernon Presbyterian


Courtesy WCU Athletics Media Relations 





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Thursday, July 5, 2018

2018 Football Preseason Preview: Mercer








Throughout this preseason, Purple & Gold will preview all of Western Carolina's 2018 football opponents.

In the Cat's seventh game of the season and the first of two back to back road games, the Cats travel to Macon, GA  to play the Mercer Bears.

Western faces the Bears for just the fifth time since Mercer joined the Southern Conference.




Mercer


When: Saturday, October 6th at 4:00 pm

Where: Five Star Stadium, Macon, GA

Radio: Catamount Sports Network

TV / video: ESPN3 or ESPN+

Games that will be played by the Bears this season prior to the WCU contest:  (6 games) The Bears kick off the season in Memphis. TN against the Memphis Tigers, before returning home against the Pioneer League's Jacksonville. The Bers then travel to Birmingham to meet the Samford Bulldogs, then return to Macon to host The Citadel, then travel to Lexington to meet VMI, then remain on the road traveling to New Haven, Conn. to face Yale.  

The Series:  In only the 5th meeting between the two teams, the Cats own a 2-2 record against the Bears, having dropped the last two games played, one in Macon and one in Cullowhee.

Last Season's Game vs. Mercer (Nov. 10, 2017) Turnovers, Special Teams Lead Mercer Past No. 25 Western Carolina, 35-33 - Tyrie Adams threw for a season-high 378 yards and three touchdowns as No. 25 Western Carolina tallied its third-highest total offensive output with 507 yards on Saturday afternoon. However, costly turnovers and big plays in the special teams by Mercer guided the Bears to the upset victory over the Catamounts, 35-33, on Hall of Fame / Senior Day at E.J. Whitmire Stadium / Bob Waters Field.

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


Head Coach: Bobby Lamb enters his sixth season as head coach of Mercer football. Named the 19th head football coach in program history in 2011, he led the Bears to immediate success, claiming the third 10-win season of his career and setting the 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. For his efforts, he finished third in the PFL Coach of the Year voting and ranked among the top 11 finalists for FCS National Coach of the Year..


Offensive Formation: Spread  (Pistol)

Defensive Formation:  3-4

Starters Returning/Lost:  13  /  9

Offensive starters - Returning/Lost:  6 / 5

Defensive starters - Returning/Lost:  7 / 4

Specialist - Returning/Lost:  4 / 1

Lost from the two-deep roster:  14

Key Losses:
Offense: WR  Chandler Curtis; WR Avery Ward 6; LT  Thomas Marchman; RG  Caleb Yates;
Defense: DE  Jalen Penn; OLB  Kyle Williams; ILB  Lee Bennett; OLB  LeMarkus Bailey;
Specialist:  KR & PR Chandler Curtis

In the offseason, HC Bobby Lamb hired a new offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Joe Pizzo, safeties coach Mitch Doolittle and cornerbacks coach Darius Safford in addition to three other title changes on his coaching staff. Offensive line coach Casey Vogt will serve as Running Game Coordinator while running backs coach Carter Barfield will be the Co-Recruiting Coordinator alongside La'Donte Harris. Pizzo most recently held the same titles at NCAA Division II North Greenville, Doolittle returns to Mercer after spending one season at PC as their DC, Safford comes from West Georgia.

2017 Mercer Statistics:
Rushing Offense: 1822 yards
Yards per game: 143.3
Yards per rush: 3.6 yards
Rushing 1st downs: 92
TDs rushing: 21
Passing Offense: 2079 yards or 189 yards per game
Avg. per pass: 7 yards
Passing 1st downs: 89
Passing Comp-Att-Int: 295-176-10
TDs Passing: 14
Total Offense: 3656 yards or 333.2 yards per game
Fumbles-Lost: 9-6
3d Down Conversions: 37%
4th Down Conversions: 47%
Field goal attempts: 16 - 23
PAT-Attempts: 36 of 38 (95%)
On-side kicks: 0-0
Red Zone Scores: 32 of 35
Red Zone Touchdowns: 25 of 35

Game prediction: Per the Massey Ratings, the Cats have a 39% probability of winning (27-31) over the Bears.

According to Massey, Western Carolina should be 4-3 after this game. I'm going to disagree, the Cats are 6-1 after this game.


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