Monday, November 18, 2019

2019 SoCon Football Power Rankings - after Week #12



Welcome to Purple & Gold's 2019 SoCon Football Power Rankings.  This week's rankings are after twelve (12) weeks of play.

Each Monday throughout the season, we'll release that week's Power Rankings.






1. (2)  Wofford (7-3, 6-1 SoCon)

Next:  at The Citadel

2. (1)  Furman (7-4,  6-2 SoCon)
Next:  Point University

3(4)  Chattanooga (6-5, 5-2 SoCon)
Next:  at VMI

4. (3) The Citadel (6-5, 4-3 SoCon)
Next:  Wofford

5. (6) Samford (5-6, 4-4 SoCon)
Next:  at Auburn

6. (5)  Mercer (4-7, 3-5 SoCon)
Next:  at North Carolina

7(7)  Western Carolina (3-8, 2-6 SoCon)
Next: at Alabama

8. (8)  VMI (4-7, 3-4 SoCon)
Next:  Chattanooga

9(9) ETSU (3-8, 1-7 SoCon)
Next:  at Vanderbilt


Watch for Friday's SoCon picks.......


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It's time for new turf.


get more information here: https://www.wcu.edu/catamount-club/stories/posts/turf-replacement-project.aspx

Friday, November 15, 2019

This week's Purple & Gold football picks (11-16-19)



It's week #12 in the SoCon, and time to pick Saturday's games.  5 games are on the schedule this week, with one out of conference game and 4 conference games.


This week's fearless game predictions.....





-VMI (4-6) at Army (4-6)  12:00 noon - watch on CBSSN
The Keydets travel to West Point to face the Cadets of the US Military Academy, VMI beings a three game skid to the contest, while the Knights are riding a one game win streak.  Looks like it will be two in a row for Army, as they roll to a 35-14 win.

-Mercer (4-6) at ETSU (2-8)  1:00 pm - watch on ESPN3
Mercer travels to Johnson City hoping to add a little more misery to the ETSU fans, as the Bucs bring a 6 game losing streak into the contest. The home-standing Bucs have other thoughts, and pull out a 21-14 win over the visiting bears.

-Furman (7-3) at Wofford (6-3)  1:30 pm - watch on ESPN+
In what will probably be the deciding game for the Southern Conference title, the Palading travel the short distance to Spartanburg to face the Terriers. While the Terriers have improved as the season progressed, I don't think the Paladins will have a letdown with all the marbles up for grabs. Paladins win, 28-21 over Wofford. 

-Samford (4-5) at Western Carolina (3-7)  2:00 pm - watch on ESPN+
The Bulldogs travel up the mountains to play the Catamounts, in a contest that both teams desperately need to win.  The Cats are riding a two game win streak into the game, while the Dogs bring a 2 game slide into the contest.  The Cats prove the other two wins were not a fluke, and pick-up a 7 point win over Samford, 35-28,

-The Citadel (6-4) at Chattanooga (5-5)  2:00 pm watch on ESPN+
In what maybe today's toss-up game, the Bulldogs travel to Chattanooga, TN to face the Mocs. While the Mocs are defending the home turf, the Bulldogs have been a very difficult team to defeat on the road.  I'll give the Bulldogs the edge to pull out a 28-24 win over the Mocs.




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Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Game #11 - Samford Bulldogs


For the eleventh game of the season, the Catamounts wrap up conference play with back-to-back home games, as the Bulldogs travel up the mountain to Cullowhee for the Cats final conference game of the season.

Since Samford joined the Southern Conference in 2008, Western is 3-13 against the Bulldogs after last season's beatdown of the Cats by the Dogs in Birmingham, 28-66. Revenge is in order.


Game #11 - Samford

When: Saturday, November 16 - Time  2:00 pm
Where: E.J. Whitmire Stadium / Bob Waters Field, Cullowhee, NC
Radio: Catamount Sports Network
-Radio Announcers: Gary Ayers (PBP),  Greg McLamb (Color)
TV/video:  ESPN+
-TV Announcers: Daniel Hooker (PBP);
Live Stats:  WCU live stats
Game Notes:   WCU   -    Samford  
Samford Message Board:  The Dog Pound

The Series: The Cats are 3-13 overall against the Bulldogs since winning the first outing back in 1969. Samford owned an eleven game winning streak against Western until 2015 when the Cats broke that streak in Cullowhee with a 56-36 win over the Dogs. The Cats are 2-5 against the Dogs in Cullowhee.

Last game played vs. Samford: Oct. 6, 2018 - EARLY TURNOVERS PROVE COSTLY IN ROAD LOSS AT SAMFORD, 66-28  - Birmingham, Ala. – Three lost fumbles in the first quarter by Western Carolina aided a strong offensive output by Samford on Saturday afternoon as the Bulldogs claimed a 66-28 victory over the Catamounts at Seibert Stadium. Samford cashed in the early takeaways that came on three of WCU’s first four possessions for a decisive 35-0 first-quarter lead in halting a four-game slide with the victory. Samford’s Devlin Hodges – the SoCon preseason Offensive Player of the Year – set or tied six school records and a pair of SoCon benchmarks in the win. Hodges set or tied school records for passing yards (562), total yards (586), touchdown passes (6), touchdowns responsible for (7), completions (44) and consecutive games with a touchdown pass. He set SoCon records for passing yards (562) and total yards in a single-game (586).

Last Season's Record - 2018 (Samford): 6-5 overall, 4-1 home, 2-4 away,  5-3 SoCon  -  In 2018, the Bulldogs had wins over,  Shorter, WCU, VMI, Furman, Wofford, & ETSU.  Samford beat all three teams that tied for first place.

This Season's Record - 2019 (Samford):  4-6 overall,  3-2 home, 1-3 away, 3-4 SoCon

Head Coach: Chris Hatcher.  Chris Hatcher was named Samford’s 36th head football coach on Dec. 11, 2014. Now entering his fourth season at Samford, Hatcher boasts a career record of 140-72 in 18 years as a college head coach, having previously coached at Murray State, Georgia Southern, and Valdosta State. Hatcher's 2018 team posted the program's eighth-straight winning season, the longest streak in program history. Also during the season, quarterback Devlin Hodges became the FCS' all-time leader in career passing yards. Hodges also earned the highest individual honor at the FCS level, winning the Walter Payton Award.

Offensive Formation: Multiple
-2018 Offense: 38.5 ppg. (9th in FCS)
Defensive Formation: 4-3
-2018 Defense: 26.4 ppg. (48th in FCS)
Offensive starters - Returning/Lost:  7  /  4
Defensive starters - Returning/Lost:  6  /  5

Samford was picked to finish sixth in the league by both the coaches and media for the 2019 season and had four players named to the preseason All-SoCon teams. Offensive lineman Nick Nixon and place-kicker Mitchell Fineran were named to the first team, while defensive linemen Justin Foster and Nelson Jordan earned second-team honors.

The Bulldogs have not been a good road team this season, having won only one road game in 2019,  However that road win was in Spartanburg against the Wofford Terriers, in the third game of the season.  The Bulldogs have lost road games against Tenn Tech (5-3), as well as at Furman, VMI, &  at Mercer.  Samford is currently in a two-game skid and has lost 4 of their last 5 games.

The Bulldogs are currently averaging 35.6 points per game, but are allowing 38.8 ppg, last in the SoCon. Samford comes in #5 in rushing offense with 165.7 ypg and 8th in rushing defense giving up 246.6 yards per game on the ground.  The Bulldogs leading rusher is freshman Jay Staton, averaging 66 yards per game.


2019 Samford Statistics (10 games)
Rushing Offense: 1657 yards
Yards per game: 165,7
Yards per rush: 4.2 yards
Rushing 1st downs: 109
TDs rushing: 20
Passing Offense: 2669 yards or 266.9 yards per game
Passing 1st downs: 110
Passing Comp-Att-Int: 221-364-12
TDs Passing: 23
Total Offense: 4326 yards or 423.6 yards per game
Fumbles-Lost: 15-5
3d Down Conversions: 55of 140
4th Down Conversions: 18 of 27
Field goal attempts:  14 - 18
PAT-Attempts:  42 of 43
Red Zone Scores: 412 of 48 - 850%
Red Zone Touchdowns: 30 of 48 - 63%
On-Side Kicks:  0 - 1
Penalties-Yards:  38 - 363 - Avg. per gm 35.3
Punts-Yards: 37 - 1454 - Avg. punt: 39.3
Sacks:  15


Game prediction:  Per the Massey Ratings, the Cats have only a 26% probability of winning (31-38) against the Bulldogs. I'm going to disagree, Western wins this home game and finishes with 3 straight conference wins

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Monday, November 11, 2019

2019 SoCon Football Power Rankings - Week #11



Welcome to Purple & Gold's 2019 SoCon Football Power Rankings.  This week's rankings are after eleven (11) weeks of play.

Each Monday throughout the season, we'll release that week's Power Rankings.





1. (3)  Furman (7-3,  6-1 SoCon)
Next:  at Wofford

2. (1)  Wofford (6-3, 5-1 SoCon)

Next:  Furman

3. (2) The Citadel (6-4, 4-2 SoCon)
Next: at Chattanooga

5(4)  Chattanooga (5-5, 4-2 SoCon)
Next:  The Citadel

6. (7)  Mercer (4-6, 3-4 SoCon)
Next:  at ETSU

4. (5) Samford (4-5, 3-4 SoCon)
Next:  at Western Carolina

7(7)  Western Carolina (3-7, 2-5 SoCon)
Next: Samford

8. (8)  VMI (4-6, 3-4 SoCon)
Next:  at Army

9(9) ETSU (2-8, 0-7 SoCon)
Next:  Mercer



Watch for Friday's SoCon picks.......


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Veterans Day - 2019


Thursday, November 7, 2019

All Vet Group

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

WCU 2-Deep vs. ETSU


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Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Game #10 - ETSU Bucs




For the tenth game of the season, the Cats host the Buccaneers of East Tennessee State University in the 2019 edition of The Blue Ridge Border Battle. Three seasons ago, Western and the Bucs revived the series that started back in 1932, but abruptly ended in 2003 when the Bucs eliminated football.



Game #10 - ETSU Bucs


When: Saturday, November 9 at 3:30 pm
Where:  E.J. Whitmire Stadium / Bob Waters Field, Cullowhee, NC
Radio: Catamount Sports Network
-Radio Announcers: Gary Ayers (PBP), Daniel Hooker (analyst), Greg McLamb (sideline)
TV / video:  Nexstar / ESPN+
-TV/video: Nexstar / ESPN+
-TV Announcers: Pete Yanity (PBP); Jared Singleton (analyst)
-WYCW (Greenville/Spartanburg/Asheville)
-WCBD (Charleston)
-WWCW (Lynchburg)
-WJHL (Johnson City)
-WMUB (Macon)
Live StatsWCU live stats
Game Notes:   WCU               -                  ETSU
ETSU Message Board:  Buccaneer Nation

The Series: This series stretches back to 1932, with the Cats holding a slim 24-23-1 lead. Since the return of football at ETSU, the Bucs hold a 2-1 lead going into the 2019 contest. Adding to the newfound rivalry between the two mountain teams, the Bucs pulled off a 2 point, 3 overtime win, 43-45 in the initial Blue Ridge Border Battle trophy contest held in Johnson City in 2018.

The last game played vs. ETSU:  October 27, 2018 - Johnson City, Tenn. –  Catamounts Drop Heartbreaker at ETSU, 43-45 in 3 OT.   Redshirt junior QB Tyrie Adams became Western Carolina’s all-time touchdown pass leader on Saturday, tossing four TD passes in accounting for five total scores as the Catamounts’ upset bid against No. 25 ETSU came up two-points short, falling 45-43 in triple overtime on a rainy afternoon at William B. Greene, Jr. Stadium. Needing a two-point conversion following Owen Cosenke’s second receiving score of the game, Adams was pressured off the right side on the ensuing required two-point attempt. ETSU’s Austin Gatewood chased Adams out of the pocket to the right where his contested pass attempt to Daquan Patten short-hopped at the goal line, setting off a wild celebration for the Bucs who took possession of the trophy in the inaugural “Blue Ridge Border Battle.”

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):  2018 record:  8-4 overall,  5-1 home,  3-3 away,  6-2 SoCon.

This Season's Record (ETSU): 2019 record:  2-7 overall,  2-3 home,  0-4 away,  0-6 SoCon

Offensive Formation: Spread Option
-2018 Offense: 26.0 ppg. (75th in FCS)
Defensive Formation: 3-4
-2018 Defense: 26.4 ppg. (49th in FCS)
Lettermen Returning/Lost: 27/ 24
Starters Returning/Lost: 14/15
Offensive Starters Returning/Lost:  4 / 7
Defensive Starters Returning/Lost:  8 / 3
Special Teams Starters Returning/Lost:  2 / 5

The 2018 defending co-champion Bucs were selected to finish third in both the SoCon coaches and media polls for the first time since rejoining the conference in 2016. ETSU placed seven players on the preseason All-SoCon teams, led by Nasir Player who was tabbed as the SoCon Preseason Defensive Player of the Year in addition to being named to the first team. Joining Player on the first team was redshirt-sophomore running back Quay Holmes, redshirt-senior defensive lineman Jason Maduafokwa and junior defensive back Tyree Robinson. Tre’mond Shorts, Ben Blackmon, and Jeremy Lewis were each named to the second team.

Most of the line and key playmakers returned on the defensive side of the ball, and the secondary is clearly one of the best in the SoCon. All four starters from last year's playoff game with Jacksonville State were underclassmen and there is depth beyond even that with players like rising senior Artevius Smith.

This has been a disappointing season for the Buccaneers, who had expectations of repeating SoCon championships, but until now, is winless in the SoCon this season (0-6). Like WCU, ETSU as only two wins, one against a non-DI opponent (Shorter) and one DI win (Austin Peay). The Bucs have been competitive in all their conference games, having dropped the last three by a total of 14 points. The Bucs are a very dangerous team and will come to Cullowhee with expectations of continuing the win streak over the Catamounts.


2019 ETSU Statistics  (9 games):
Rushing Offense1439 yards
Yards per game159.9
Yards per rush: 4.8 yards
Rushing 1st downs: 76
TDs rushing: 9
Passing Offense1695 yards or 188.3 yards per game
Avg. per pass: 6.4 yards
Passing 1st downs: 67
Passing Comp-Att-Int151-263-6 
TDs Passing: 12
Total Offense3134 yards or 348.2  yards per game
Fumbles-Lost: 11-7
3d Down Conversions41/116 (35%)
4th Down Conversions4/10  (40%)
Field goal attempts: 11-13
PAT-Attempts: 20 of 20
On-side kicks: 0-0
Red Zone Scores23-26 (88%)
Red Zone Touchdowns15-26 (58%)
Punts - Yards44-1693 - Avg per punt: 38.5 


Game prediction: Per the Massey Ratings, the Cats have only a 23% probability of winning (17-27) over the Bucs. Last week, the Massey Rating had an even lower prediction for WCU probability of winning, so, once again, I'm going against Massey's projection and predict a Catamount victory in Cullowhee on Saturday, 35-28 to keep the Bucs winless in conference play.



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Sunday, November 3, 2019

2019 SoCon Football Power Rankings - Week #10



Welcome to Purple & Gold's 2019 SoCon Football Power Rankings.  This week's rankings are after ten (10) weeks of play.

Each Monday throughout the season, we'll release that week's Power Rankings.






1. (3)  Furman (3-3,  5-1 SoCon)
Next:  aVMI

2. (1)  Wofford (5-3, 4-1 SoCon)

Next:  at Mercer

3. (2) The Citadel (6-4, 4-2 SoCon)
Next:  bye

4. (5) Samford (4-5, 3-3 SoCon)
Next:  Chattanooga

5(4)  Chattanooga (4-5, 3-2 SoCon)
Next:  at Samford

6. (7)  Mercer (4-5, 3-3 SoCon)
Next:  Wofford

7(9)  Western Carolina (2-7, 1-5 SoCon)
Next: ETSU

8. (6)  VMI (4-5, 3-3 SoCon)
Next:  at Furman

9(8) ETSU (2-6, 0-5 SoCon)
Next:  at WCU



Watch for Friday's SoCon picks.......


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Saturday, November 2, 2019

WCU Players of the Game (VMI)






Purple & Gold's Offensive & Defensive Players of the Game for the VMI game are..........



                                                                       

       The Offensive Player of the Game is Donnavan Spencer

       The Defensive Player of the Game is Michael Murphy


Redshirt Junior tailback Donnavan Spencer accounted for 247 yards of offense and three touchdowns, 137 yards rushing and 110 yards receiving. Spencer scored on a 78-yard pass reception on WCU’s first offensive play and added rushing tallies of both one and 42 yards in the second half. Spencer’s 42-yard touchdown run which came on a fourth-down play midway through the fourth quarter stretched the Catamount advantage to 15 points, 37-22.

Redshirt junior linebacker Michael Murphy led the team with 11 tackles including one stop for a loss. Murphy was credited with 2 solo tackles and 9 assists.

Donnavan Spencer  
Michael Murphy

















Purple & Gold congratulates Donnavan Spencer & Michael Murphy on their accomplishments in the VMI game.



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Friday, November 1, 2019

This week's Purple & Gold football picks (11-2-19)



It's week #10 in the SoCon, and time to pick Saturday's games.  5 games are on the schedule this week, with one out of conference game and 4 conference games.


This week's fearless game predictions.....





-Western Carolina (1-7) at VMI (4-4) 1:30 pm - watch on ESPN+
The Cats travel to Virginia to face the VMI Keydets in Lexington. As VMI defends their home stadium, the Cats are looking to end WCU's current 12-game winless drought in SoCon play, After the improvement in the first half of last weekend's game against Furman, the Cats finally put an entire game together, and escape Lexington with a 35-31. 

-Furman (5-3) at Chattanooga (4-4) 2:00 pm - watch on ESPN+
The Paladins travel to Chattanooga hoping to keep alive their run the conference crown with a victory over the Mocs. While the Mocs have their own championship hopes, the visiting Paladins squeeze out a win over the home-standing Mocs, 28-24.

-The Citadel (5-4) at ETSU (2-6) 3:30 pm - watch on ESPN3
The Bulldogs take to the road to face ETSU in Johnson City. The Bucs are winless in conference play and are looking to change that against the Bulldogs.  The Citadel still has slim hopes of a share of the conference crown, but an at large bid is also in jeopardy with a loss to ETSU.  The Bulldogs rally in the 4th pulling out 28-21 win over ETSU.

-Wofford(5-2) at #4 Clemson (8-0) 4:00 pm - watch on ACCN
The Terriers make the short trip to Clemson, SC to face the #4 Tigers. The undefeated Clemson Tigers will not overlook their FBS opponent, as they roll to a 49-10 final score.

-Samford (4-4) at Mercer(3-5) 7:00 pm watch on ESPN+
The home-standing Bears welcome the Samford Bulldogs to Macon in a vain attempt to help solidify their head coach's job, however, the Bulldogs have different ideas as they roll over Mercer by a 35-14 score.




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Thursday, October 31, 2019

WCU Basketball: Game #1 at Georgia Bulldogs









When: Tuesday, November 5 - Time: 7:00 pm
Where: Stegeman Coliseum, Athens, Ga.
Radio: Catamount Sports Network
-Radio Announcers: Gary Ayers (PBP), Daniel Hooker (color)
TV/video: SECN+
Live Stats: Georgia Live Stats

The Series: Western Carolina has played at Georgia 6 times since 1993, with the last game played in 2013.  The Cats are 06 against the Bulldogs.

"Despite finishing last season with an 11-21 overall record and losing their best player (Nicolas Claxton) from that team, Anthony Edwards’ presence has many thinking the Bulldogs can return to the NCAA Tournament this March. Anthony Edwards. A native of Atlanta and the nation’s No. 2 overall recruit according to the 247sports Composite Rankings, Edwards brings legitimate star power to Athens along with the kind of skill set that could make him the top pick in the 2020 NBA Draft."

When the Cats travel to Athens, they will be facing a team with two games under their belt, which should be a major advantage for the dogs, as the Cats have not played an exhibition game this season. 

Georgia's two exhibition games were against Valdosta State and the second against the Charlotte 49ers.  The dogs opened the season with a 93-81 win over Valdosta State in an exhibition at Stegeman Coliseum. Georgia's starting lineup featured three newcomers including freshmen Anthony Edwards and Toumani Camara, as well as graduate transfer Donnell Gresham Jr. In his freshman debut, Edwards led Georgia in scoring, posting 18 points and finishing 7-of-11 from the field. Three other Bulldogs contributed double-digit points including senior Tyree Crump (15), junior Rayshaun Hammonds (16) and freshman Sahvir Wheeler (10).

In Charlotte, NC  the Bulldog's Tyree Crump scored 19 points – including a pair of key second-half 3-pointers – to lead Georgia to a 77-69 victory over the 49ers in a second exhibition at Halton Arena. Anthony Edwards added 15 points, Christian Brown chipped in 14 and Rayshaun Hammonds notched 11. Crump and Hammonds grabbed a team-high seven rebounds apiece.












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Courtesy WCU Athletics Media Relations


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Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Game #9 - VMI Keydets



For the ninth game of the season, the Cats travel to Lexington, VA to play the VMI Keydets.

The Cats have won all five games against the Keydets since their return to the Southern Conference in 2014, can we make it six in a row on the road?


Game #9 - VMI Keydets

When: Saturday, November 2 - Time: 1:30 pm  EST
Where: Alumni Memorial Field at Foster Stadium (10,000), Lexington, VA
Radio: Catamount Sports Network
-Radio Announcers: Gary Ayers (PBP), Daniel Hooker (color), Greg McLamb (sideline)
TV/video:  ESPN+
-TV/Video Announcers: Wade Branner (PBP), Chip Tarkenton (Analysis)
Live StatsVMI Live Stats
Game Notes:    WCU         -          VMI
VMI Message Board:   Keydet SportsTalk

The Series: Western currently leads the series with VMI, by a 21-3 margin. The Cats and Keydets first played on the gridiron in 1978, and the Cats currently own a fifteen game winning streak, having swept the Keydets since their return to the Southern Conference.

The last game played vs. VMISeptember 23, 2018 - WCU wins Wild SoCon Opener, 52-50 over VMI Cullowhee, N.C. – Tyrie Adams rushed for a season-high 117 yards and scored his fourth touchdown on the ground this season, adding three TD passes to help lead Western Carolina to a wild 52-50 victory over VMI in the squad’s Southern Conference season opener Saturday afternoon in front of 12,759 fans at E.J. Whitmire Stadium / Bob Waters Field.

Head Coach: Scott Wachenheim - Scott Wachenheim enters his fifth season as VMI’s head football coach, and he continues to guide the program with a steady hand in one of the toughest conferences in FCS. The program continues to build a solid foundation with young personnel, and since his debut season in 2015, Wachenheim has transformed expectations and attitudes within the VMI football program and has shown that sustainable success can be attained with enthusiasm, hard work, resilience, and dedication.

Last Season's Record (VMI): 2018 - 1-10 overall, 1-5 home, 0-5 away,  0-8 SoCon

This Season's Record (VMI):  2019 -  4-4 overall, 2-2 home, 2-2 away, 3-2     -The Keydets kicked off the season with a loss at Marshall but rebounded with a win versus Mars Hill. In the third game of the season, the Keydets picked up an overtime win over ETSU on the road. VMI then had back to back losses to Robert Morris and Wofford, then beat the Citadel in Charleston, and won in OT over Samford in Lexington, before falling to Mercer by 7 points in Macon. The Keydets had a bye week just prior to playing WCU.

Offensive Formation: Air Raid
-2018 Offensive: 23.4 ppg. (93rd in FCS)
Defensive Formation: 3-4
-2018 Defensive: 48.2 ppg. (124st in FCS)
Starters returning/lost:    19   /   8
Offensive starters - Returning/Lost:  8   /  3
Defensive starters - Returning/Lost:   8   /   3
Specialist - Returning/Lost:    3    /    0
Letterwinners Returning: 56

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Four VMI football players were named to the Preseason All-Southern Conference teams announced by the league at the 2019 SoCon Football Media Day. Senior wide receiver Javeon Lara was named first-team offense, while junior quarterback Reece Udinski was named to the second-team offense. On the defensive side, junior AJ Smith was named to the first-team defense and on special teams, senior Rohan Martin was named a second-team return specialist. The Kevdets were picked to finish 9th by both the coaches and Media in the SoCon polls.

Despite the rainy conditions in Macon on Oct 19, VMI junior quarterback Reece Udinski broke the FCS record of consecutive passes without an interception held by Jimmy Blanchard of Portland State in 1999 with 344 consecutive passes without a pick. Udinski finished his record-setting day with a 26-of-46 passing effort for 263 yards and one touchdown. In the same game redshirt junior running back Alex Ramsey gained 125 yards on the ground against the Bears and now has four 100-yard rushing games this season. Ramsey scored his 17th rushing touchdown for the season, tying the school mark set by Thomas Haskins in 1995.

Currently, VMI ranks 3d in scoring in the SoCon, averaging 34.6 points per game, while the Cats are last with an average of 16.9 points per game.  The Keydets rank last in rushing yardage, just behind the Cats, but are 6th in rushing defense, giving up 206.9 yards per game, while the Cats rank last in that category. In the passing game, the Keydets lead the conference in pass offense, putting up an average of 305 yards per game, while the Cats come in at 6th place, with 167.5 yards. 

2019 VMI Statistics  (8 games)
Rushing Offense: 1082 yards
Yards per game: 135.2
Yards per rush: 3.9 yards
Rushing 1st downs: 63
TDs rushing: 20
Passing Offense: 2440 yards or 305 yards per game
Avg. per pass: 6.7 yards
Passing 1st downs: 115
Passing Comp-Att-Int: 228-365-1
TDs Passing:15
Total Offense: 3522 yards or 440 yards per game
Fumbles-Lost: 8-5
3d Down Conversions: 54 of 134 (40%)
4th Down Conversions: 12 of 19 (63%)
Field goal - attempts: 11-17
PAT-Attempts: 30 of 31
On-side kicks: 0-2
Red Zone Scores: 33 of 36 (92%)
Red Zone Touchdowns: 25 of 36 (69%)
Punts - Yards: 44- 1819 - Avg per punt: 41.3


Game predictions:  Per the Massey Ratings, the Cats have only a 19% probability of winning (30-42) over the Keydets. I'm going to differ with Massey on this one, as the Cats pick up their first DI win, as well as their first conference win of the season, with at 38-35 victory over the Keydets in Lexington, VA/


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Monday, October 28, 2019

2019 SoCon Football Power Rankings - Week #9




Welcome to Purple & Gold's 2019 SoCon Football Power Rankings.  This week's rankings are after nine (9) weeks of play.

Each Monday throughout the season, we'll release that week's Power Rankings.





1. (1)  Wofford (5-2, 4-1 SoCon)

Next:  at Clemson

2. (2) The Citadel (5-4, 3-2 SoCon)
Next:  at ETSU

3. (3)  Furman (5-3,  4-1 SoCon)
Next:  at Chattanooga

4(4)  Chattanooga (4-4, 3-1 SoCon)
Next:  Furman

5. (6) Samford (4-4, 3-2 SoCon)
Next:  at Mercer

6. (5)  VMI (4-4, 3-2 SoCon)
Next:  Western Carolina

7. (7)  Mercer (3-5, 2-3 SoCon)
Next:  Samford

8(8) ETSU (2-6, 0-5 SoCon)
Next:  The Citadel

9. (9)  Western Carolina (1-7, 0-5 SoCon)
Next: at VMI

Watch for Friday's SoCon picks.......


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8 Days Until WCU Basketball Tip-off (Ahmir Langlais)




Welcome to the 2019 WCU basketball tip-off countdown. We will count down the remaining days until WCU basketball tips off at the University of Georgia in Athens, GA on November 5th.

In this season's countdown, we will meet the coaches and team members as we countdown. We will highlight the Seniors first, then Juniors, Sophomores, and Freshmen in that order.

9 Days until Tip-off - now we highlight the freshman.......


#25 Ahmir Langlais




Position:  Forward
Height/Weight: 6'7"  210 lbs
Class: Freshman
Hometown: Atlanta, Ga
High School: Holy Spirit Prep


 


Prior to Western Carolina: “We are so excited to add Ahmir Langlais to our 2019 recruiting class,” Prosser stated. “Ahmir is a fantastic young man and we are so pleased to welcome him and his wonderful family into ours. Ahmir is already a very good player, but there is no limit to the player that he could be over the course of his college career.” Langlais played at Holy Spirit Prep as a senior for head coach Ty Anderson and was named to the GISA Class AAA All-State team after he averaged 10 points, 8.5 rebounds and two blocks per game in 2018-19. Langlais transferred to Holy Spirit Prep from Parkview High School prior to his senior year. At Parkview, Langlais averaged 15.5 points, 9.9 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game as a junior to claim a spot on the Region 7-7A All-Region first team. Langlais earned a spot on the honorable mention All-Region team as a sophomore. He played AAU Basketball for Atlanta Xpress and head coach Sam Norwood.



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Courtesy WCU Athletics Media Relations


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Sunday, October 27, 2019

9 Days Until WCU Basketball Tip-off (Xavier Cork)




Welcome to the 2019 WCU basketball tip-off countdown. We will count down the remaining days until WCU basketball tips off at the University of Georgia in Athens, GA on November 5th.

In this season's countdown, we will meet the coaches and team members as we countdown. We will highlight the Seniors first, then Juniors, Sophomores, and Freshmen in that order.

9 Days until Tip-off - now we highlight the freshman.......


#13 Xavier Cork




Position:  Forward
Height/Weight: 6'9"  225 lbs
Class: Freshman
Hometown: Sulphur Springs, Texas
High School: Sulphur Springs HS





Prior to Western Carolina:  Xavier Cork is a 6-9 forward from Sulphur Springs, Texas and attended Sulphur Springs High School playing for head coach Clark Cipoletta. During his senior season, Cork was named the District 15-5A Co-Most Valuable Player and a TABC All-Region 2 player as he helped lead the Wildcats to their first UIL State Tournament Final Four appearance since 1925. Cork played AAU Basketball for Dallas Showtyme and head coach Erwin Clark. “Xavier Cork is the type of student-athlete that we will always recruit. He is a great kid and a very good student,” Prosser stated. “On the court, Xavier will add a dynamic to our team that we absolutely need. He possesses the size and athleticism to impact the game at both ends of the floor, whether it be finishing at and around the rim on offense or defending and influencing shots for our opponents on defense. Xavier’s progress in the last year has been remarkable, and the sky is the limit for him as a player. We are very fortunate to add Xavier to our team.”.



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Courtesy WCU Athletics Media Relations


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Saturday, October 26, 2019

10 Days Until WCU Basketball Tip-off (Tyler Harris)




Welcome to the 2019 WCU basketball tip-off countdown. We will count down the remaining days until WCU basketball tips off at the University of Georgia in Athens, GA on November 5th.

In this season's countdown, we will meet the coaches and team members as we countdown. We will highlight the Seniors first, then Juniors, Sophomores, and Freshmen in that order.

10 Days until Tip-off - now we highlight the freshman.......


#4 Tyler Harris




Position:  Guard/Forward
Height/Weight: 6'7"  186 lbs
Class: Freshman
Hometown: Charlotte, N.C.
High School: Independence HS





Prior to Western Carolina:  Harris attended Independence High School in Charlotte and signed with the Catamounts during the early signing period.

“We could not be more excited to officially welcome Tyler and his family into our Western Carolina Basketball family,” Prosser stated. “Tyler is a wonderful young man and a very good student. On the court, his upside is limitless. Tyler is just scratching the surface of the player that he will be over his career in Cullowhee, and we feel very fortunate that he will pursue that potential in a WCU uniform.” Harris, a 6-7 forward, will complete his prep career this season at Independence after transferring to the school from Northside Christian. During his junior year, Harris helped to lead NCA to the NCISAA 2A playoffs. Harris played AAU Basketball for Upward Stars Charlotte for head coach Derix Bell.



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Courtesy WCU Athletics Media Relations


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Friday, October 25, 2019

11 Days Until WCU Basketball Tip-off (Travion McCray)




Welcome to the 2019 WCU basketball tip-off countdown. We will count down the remaining days until WCU basketball tips off at the University of Georgia in Athens, GA on November 5th.

In this season's countdown, we will meet the coaches and team members as we countdown. We will highlight the Seniors first, then Juniors, Sophomores, and Freshmen in that order.

11 Days until Tip-off - now we highlight the freshman.......


#1 Travion McCray




Position:  Guard
Height/Weight: 6'1"  176 lbs
Class: Freshman
Hometown: Timmonsville, S.C.
High School: Village Christian HS





Prior to Western Carolina: As one of the top unsigned seniors in North Carolina, Travion McCray of Village Christian in Fayetteville found a home for the next four years. McCray chose Western Carolina University and Head Coach Mark Prosser over Charleston Southern, USC-Upstate, and Radford. McCray helped lead Village Christian to a runner-up finish in the NCISAA 3-A state championships and a 22-13 overall record in one of the toughest divisions in the state. McCray can play both on the ball or off the ball, he is really skilled in coming off screens and hitting the open shot, he is strong ball-handler, he can get to the paint off the dribble and is a sturdy defender. McCray on his commitment, “I felt like they had enough pieces to put around me that could make us a great team. The coaching staff made me feel great and stayed attached from the time they started showing interest in me until the time I made my decision. Coach Prosser told me what he expected from his players and his coaches and I knew that was the program I wanted to be a part of.



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Courtesy WCU Athletics Media Relations


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Thursday, October 24, 2019

12 Days Until WCU Basketball Tip-off (Kameron Gibson)




Welcome to the 2019 WCU basketball tip-off countdown. We will count down the remaining days until WCU basketball tips off at the University of Georgia in Athens, GA on November 5th.

In this season's countdown, we will meet the coaches and team members as we countdown. We will highlight the Seniors first, then Juniors, Sophomores, and Freshmen in that order.

12 Days until Tip-off - now we highlight the sophomores.......


#14 Kameron Gibson


Position:  Forward
Height/Weight: 6'3"  186 lbs
Class: Sophomore
Hometown: Cincinnati, Ohio
High School: Walnut Hills HS

2018-19 (Freshman): Named to Southern Conference All-Freshman Team after he averaged 13.6 points per game and 2.1 rebounds per game...Made a team-leading 78 3-pointers as he shot 40.4 percent behind the arc...Led the Catamounts with 435 points scored...Scored a career-high 34 points at SMU (11/14) in his third collegiate game...Surpassed the 20-point mark on six occasions...Finished in double figures in 21 of 32 games played while leading the Catamounts in scoring in nine games.

Prior to Western Carolina: Earned both Eastern Cincinnati Conference (ECC) Athlete of the Year as well as second-team all-district plaudits as a senior ... A four-year varsity player, he led the ECC in scoring with an 18.1 point per game average on 54.4-percent shooting from the floor that included 46.6-percent shooting from beyond the arc ... Added 4.2 rebounds and two assists per game ... As a junior, averaged just under 10 points per game at 9.5 points per game to rank third on his high school team ... Shot 50.8-percent from the floor while averaging 2.2 rebounds per game as a junior ... Listed as the fifth-rated shooting guard in the state of Ohio in 2018.




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Courtesy WCU Athletics Media Relations


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Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Game #8 - (#14) Furman Paladins






For the Catamount's eighth game of the season, the #14 ranked Furman Paladins travel up the mountain to the Cullowhee valley for the 2019 football edition of The Football Battle for Purple Supremacy.   The Cats have dropped three straight to the Paladins and are looking for a Homecoming victory.

Game #8 -  #14 Furman Paladin
When: Saturday, October 26 at 3:30 pm
Where: E.J. Whitmire Stadium/Bob Waters Field, Cullowhee, NC
Radio: Catamount Sports Network
-Radio announcers: Gary Ayers (PBP), Greg McLamb (color)
TV/video: ESPN3 or ESPN+
-TV Announcers: Daniel Hooker (PBP), Color: Rik Richards; Sideline: Summer McMahan
Live Stats:   WCU Live Stats
Game NotesWCU   -    Furman 

The Series:  The Cats are 12-31-2 overall against the Paladins in the series in a series that started back in 1972. The Cats have lost 3 in a row to Furman, with the last win coming in 2015 in Cullowhee, by a final score of  48-10. Coach Speir is 2-5 vs. the Paladins.

Head CoachClay Hendrix - Introduced as Furman’s new head football coach on December 19, 2016, Clay Hendrix in two seasons has already reinvigorated a Paladin football program long accustomed to success. Hendrix, a former standout Paladin offensive guard and assistant coach who returned to his alma mater following a decade as an assistant coach at the United States Air Force Academy, directed Furman to an 8-5 campaign and Football Championship (FCS) playoff appearance in 2017, improving on a three-win 2016 season and defying a preseason No. 7 Southern Conference tab by playing for a share of league title in the regular-season finale en route to finishing a consensus No. 20 in two major FCS polls.

The last game played vs. Furman:  September 29, 2018 - Second Half Comeback Falls Short at Furman, 44-38 - Greenville, S.C. – Tyrie Adams tossed a career-high-tying five touchdown passes including two apiece to Daquan Patten and Owen Cosenke while accounting for 472 yards of total offense on Saturday afternoon, but Western Carolina was unable to overcome a 21-point halftime deficit, falling to the Furman Paladins, 44-38, in Southern Conference action at Paladin Stadium.

Games that the Paladins played before the WCU contest:  (7 games) The Paladins opened the season at home against Big South foe Charleston Southern with a 46-13 win. The Paladins then played back-to-back FBS opponents, a loss to Georgia State 42-48), then traveled to Virginia Tech for the second loss of the season. Furman opened its conference season at home against Mercer with a 45-10 victory, then remain at home to play ETSU, picking up a 17-19 win. The Paladins then hit the road to Birmingham to play Samford, and a 58-14 win over the Bulldogs, then returned home to play the Citadel, who pulled off the upset with a 10-27 win over the Paladins.

Last Season's Record (Furman): 6-4 overall, 3-1 home, 3-3 away, 6-2 in the SoCon

This Season's Record (Furman): 4-3 overall, 3-1 home, 1-2 away, 3-1 in the SoCon

Offensive Formation:  Multiple (option - flexbone look)
-2018 Offensive: 27.2 ppg. (64th in FCS)
Defensive Formation:   3-4
-2018 Defensive: 28.2 ppg. (61st in FCS)
Starters returning/lost:    17  /  7
Offensive starters - Returning/Lost:  8  /  3
Defensive starters - Returning/Lost:  7  /  4
Specialist - Returning/Lost:  2  /  0
Lettermen - Returning/Lost:  41 / 18

The defending co-champion and nationally ranked #14 Furman Paladins were ranked to finish second-place in a both preseason polls by the SoCon coaches and media. In other honors, first-team all-conference tabs were junior offensive tackle Bo Layton, redshirt sophomore bandit Adrian Hope, and junior placekicker Grayson Atkins. Named to the second team were junior tailback Devin Wynn, redshirt senior offensive tackle Andy Godwin, senior wide receiver Thomas Gordon, and junior linebacker Elijah McKoy.

Furman's defense is led by a pair of inside linebackers, senior Donavan Perryman (75 tackles, 3 TFL in '18) and junior Elijah McKoy (91 tackles, 2 sacks in '18), redshirt sophomore All-American bandit Adrian Hope (FCS leading 15.0 sacks in '18), and senior safety Bryan Okeh, whose 24 career starts top all defenders.

On special teams, the Paladins junior All-American placekicker Grayson Atkins does it all (11x13 FGs, including four from 50+yards in '18), he also handles the punting (42.8 avg. in '18) and kickoff duties that saw him register a league-best 25 touchbacks in 2018.

The Paladins were upset and embarrassed last week on their Homecoming, by arch-rival The Citadel in Traveler's Rest, so we can expect the Paladin's best effort against the Catamounts. Of most concern to the Catamounts is their running game, averaging 6.2 years per carrying this season. Given that the Cats defense has had little to no success in the rush defense, this week's opponent my surpass last week's rushing total by the Wofford Terriers of 428 yards, averaging 8.7 years per carry.  Folks, this could get real ugly.

2019 Furman Statistics (7 games)
Rushing Offense: 2132 yards
Yards per game: 280
Yards per rush: 6.2 yards
Rushing 1st downs: 93
TDs rushing: 20
Passing Offense: 1037 yards or 148 yards per game
Avg. per pass: 15.3 yards
Passing 1st downs: 40
Passing Comp-Att-Int: 133-69-4
TDs Passing: 11
Total Offense: 2997 yards or 428.1 ypg
3d Down Conversions: 39/86 - 45.35 %
4th Down Conversions: 4/9 - 44.44 %
Field Goal: 6 of 6
On-side kicks: 1 of 3
Red Zone Scores: 23 of 24
Red Zone Touchdowns: 21 of 24
Avg per punt:  43 yards
Fumbles-Lost: 9 - 5
Sacks: 12

Game prediction: Per the Massey Ratings, the Cats have only a 3% probability of winning (14-42) over the Paladins. According to Massey, Western Carolina should be 1-7 after this game. I've got to agree on the loss for the Cat's Homecoming game in Cullowhee.


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