Monday, September 24, 2018

2018 SoCon Football Power Rankings - (after week #4)

Welcome to Purple & Gold's 2018 SoCon Football Power Rankings.

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

Here are this week's rankings after four weeks of play (last week's ranking in parenthesis):

1.  (1)  Wofford (2-1, 2-0 SoCon)
Next:  at Gardner-Webb

2. (5)  Chattanooga (4-0, 2-0 Southern)
Next:  at ETSU

3.  (4) Western Carolina (3-0, 1-0 Southern)
Next:  at Furman

4.  (8) ETSU  (3-1, 2-0 SoCon)
Next:  Chattanooga

5.  (7) The Citadel (1-2, 1-2 SoCon)
Next:  at Towson

6.  (2) Mercer (2-2, 1-1 SoCon)
Next:  at VMI

7.  (6) Furman (0-3, 0-1 SoCon)
Next:  Western Carolina

8.  (3)  Samford (1-3,  0-2 SoCon)
Next:  at Kennesaw State

9.  (9) VMI  (0-4, 0-2 SoCon)
Next:  Mercer

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

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Sunday, September 23, 2018

Western Carolina improves to 3-0

WCU Players of the Game (VMI) - Adams & Clark

This week's Purple & Gold  Players of the Game against VMI are redshirt junior quarterback  Tyrie Adams and senior defensive lineman Solomon Clark  

Defensive Player of the Game:  Solomon Clark

Clark had a total of 7 tackles in the game, 6 solo and was credited with 4 sacks, costing the Keydets 40 yards. He had 5.5 "tackles for loss" totaling 43 yards.

Offensive Player of the Game:  Tyrie Adams

Adams attempted 33 passes, completing 21 for 229 yards and three touchdowns. He rushed a total of 17 carries, gaining 122 yards, and scored one touchdown.  His longest rush was 21 yards and he averaged 6.9 yards per rush.

Purple & Gold sends our congratulations to both Solomon Clark and Tyrie Adams on their selections as this week's WCU Players of the Game.

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Friday, September 21, 2018

This week's Purple & Gold football picks (9-21-18)

It's week #4 in the SoCon, and time to pick this weeks' games.

This week, we have 4 conference games for Saturday

Saturday, 9-21-18
VMI (0-3, 0-2 Southern) at Western Carolina (2-0, 0-0 Southern) 3:30 pm ESPN+
The Keydets travel to Cullowhee hoping for their first-ever win in E.L.Whitmire Stadium, and the Cats are hoping for their first 3-0 start in a football since Bob Waters' 1976 Catamount football team. The Cats pick up the victory with a 49-21 final score.

The Citadel (0-2, 0-2 Southern) at Mercer (2-1, 1-0 Southern) 4:00 pm ESPN+
The Bears are intent on picking up conference win number two, while the visiting Bulldogs will be able to do little to stop their roll.  Mercer wins at home, 24-14.

Samford (1-2, 0-1 Southern) at Chattanooga (3-0, 1-0 Southern) 7:00 pm ESPN+
Both teams need and want a win in this game. The Mocs want that 4-0 start on the season, while the Bulldogs desperately don't want to drop 2 conference games in a row.  The visitors squeak out the win, 24-21.

Furman (0-2, 0-0 Southern) at ETSU (2-1, 1-0 Southern) 7:30 pm ESPN3
The Paladins are desperate for a win in this young season, and they have their site set on the Bucs as they visit Johnson City.  The home-standing Bucs play well in the first half, but can't hang with Furman in the second.  The Paladins reel off 35 points while holding the Bucs to 10.


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Monday, September 17, 2018

2018 SoCon Football Power Rankings - (after week #3)

Welcome to Purple & Gold's 2018 SoCon Football Power Rankings.

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

Here are this week's rankings after three weeks of play (last week's ranking in parenthesis):

1.  (2)  Wofford (2-1, 2-0 SoCon)
Next:  Bye

2.  (5) Mercer (2-1, 1-0 SoCon)
Next:  The Citadel

3.  (1)  Samford (1-2,  0-1 SoCon)
Next:  at Chattanooga

4.  (4) Western Carolina (2-0, 0-0 SoCon)
Next:  VMI

5. (3)  Chattanooga (3-0, 1-0 SoCon)
Next:  Samford

6.  (6) Furman (0-2, 0-0 SoCon)
Next:  at ETSU

7.  (7) The Citadel (0-2, 0-2 SoCon)
Next:  at Mercer

8.  (8) ETSU  (2-1, 1-0 SoCon)
Next:  Furman

9.  (9) VMI  (0-3, 0-2 SoCon)
Next:  at Western Carolina

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

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Sunday, September 16, 2018

Game #3: VMI

In the third game of the season, the Cats return home and move into conference play as the VMI Keydets travel to Cullowhee for Family Weekend.

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


When: Saturday, September 22 - Time: 3:30 pm  EST
Where: E.J. Whitmire Stadium, Cullowhee, NC
Radio: Catamount Sports Network
 - Talent:  Play-by-Play: Gary Ayers;  Color Analyst: Greg McLamb; Host / Producer: Jeff Bryson
TV / video:  WMYA-TV, My40 & ESPN+
 - Talent:  Play-by-Play: Daniel Hooker; Color Analyst: Daniel Gibson
Game Notes:      WCU    -      VMI    -     SoCon Weekly Release
Message BoardKeydet Sportstalk
The Series: Western currently leads the series with VMI, by a 20-3 margin. The Cats and Keydets first played on the gridiron in 1978, and the Cats currently own a fourteen game winning streak over the Keydets, having swept the Keydets since their return to the Southern Conference.

Games that the Keydets played prior to the WCU contestTotal of three, current record - 0-3.  Game 1 at Toledo - The Kedyets kicked off the season with a 66-3 loss on the road. They followed that loss with a road game at Wofford, which beat the Keydets 59-14.  After two big road losses, VMI returned home for what was their best game in the young season, The Keydets hosted ETSU in their second conference game, and lost a close game to the Bucs, 24-27.  

The last Western game played against VMI:  October 21, 2017 - Four Josh Gibson Field Goals Key in 26-7 Road Win at VMI  - Quarterback Tyrie Adams threw for 195 yards and a score, and Joshua Gibson kicked four field goals to lead No. 21/19 Western Carolina past VMI 26-7 in Southern Conference action on Saturday afternoon at Foster Stadium. Adams completed 20-of-33 passes, including a 29-yard scoring pass to Terryon Robinson in the second quarter that gave the Catamounts (6-2, 4-1 SoCon) the lead for good at 13-7. Robinson finished with nine catches for 91 yards and the score to lead five players with receptions.

VMI's 2017 Record (VMI):  0-11 overall, 0-5 home, 0-6 away,  0-8 SoCon

Offensive Formation: Spread
Defensive Formation: 3-4
Starters returning/lost:    14   /   8
Offensive starters - Returning/Lost:  8   /  3
Defensive starters - Returning/Lost:   6   /   5
Specialist - Returning/Lost:    5    /    5

Key Personnel Lost  - QB Duncan Hodges, RB Daz Palmer,  LB Brian Lipscomb

The Keydets have replaced 6 assistant coaches over the off-season, joining the Keydets on the offensive side of the ball are Brian Sheppard (Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks), Albert Reid (Running Backs), and Penn Stephenson (Tight Ends).  Seth Payne (Defensive Line), Jeff Sejour (Outside Linebackers) and Tarron Williams (Cornerbacks) will coach on the defensive side.

Sophomore QB Reece Udinski set a VMI school record for passing attempts with 60 against last Saturday's opponent, ETSU.  He completed a career-high 27 attempts and threw for a career-high 305 yards and broke the former record of 57 set by quarterback Joey Gibson against ETSU in 2001. The last time a VMI QB threw for 300 yards was October 31, 2015, when Al Cobb threw for 370 against Wofford. His 27 completions also ties for 10th in program history for a single game. Keydet receiver Wide receiver Kris Thornton had a solid game as he set a career high with 119 receiving yards, topping his 108 in the Wofford game last season.

2018 VMI Statistics (3 games):
Rushing Offense: 803 yards
Yards per game: 48
Yards per rush: 2.0 yards
Rushing 1st downs: 16
TDs rushing: 1
Passing Offense: 745 yards or 248 yards per game
Avg. per pass: 4.6 yards
Passing 1st downs: 33
Passing Comp-Att-Int: 88-163-8
TDs Passing:  3
Total Offense: 888 yards or 296 yards per game
Fumbles-Lost: 3 - 2
3d Down Conversions: 17 of 52 (33%)
4th Down Conversions: 3 of 7 (43%)
Field goal attempts: 2 - 4
PAT-Attempts: 5 of 5 (100%)
On-side kicks: 0-0
Red Zone Scores: 6 of 7 (86%)
Red Zone Touchdowns: 4 of 7 (57%)
Punts-Yards: 24 - 899 - Avg per punt: 37.5

Game prediction:  Per the Massey Ratings, the Cats have a 98% probability of winning (41-13) over the Keydets.

My prediction: Cats will be 3-0 after this game.

It has also been announced that the WCU-VMI game will be televised locally on WMYA-TV, My40 out of Asheville with an online stream also available online through ESPN+ (subscription required). Airtime of the TV broadcast is 3:30 pm ahead of the kickoff with Daniel Hooker calling play-by-play, Dan Gibson on color commentary, and Summer McMahan on the sidelines. McMahan will pull double-duty as she and her brother, Brayden, from the Mountain Faith Band will join the “Pride of the Mountains” Marching Band in performing the national anthem during Saturday’s pregame festivities.


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Friday, September 14, 2018

WCU Player of the Game (Gardner-Webb)

This week's Purple & Gold  Player of the Game is junior running back  Connell Young.

Young put up 171 total yards while scoring two touchdowns to help Western Carolina beat Gardner-Webb. 28-10 Friday night.

Young had 14 carries for 105 yards on the ground and one rushing touchdown and caught six passes for a total of 66 yards and another touchdown.

Young scored from 33 yards out on the game's first possession, scored on a 31-yard run early in the fourth quarter to seal the victory.

Purple & Gold sends our congratulations to Connell Young on his selection as this week's WCU Player of the Game.

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This week's Purple & Gold football picks (9-14-18)

It's week #3 in the SoCon, and time to pick this weeks' games.

This week, we have 2 on Friday, 3 still to be played on Saturday, one game canceled and one game postponed, all due to Hurricane Florence.

Friday,  September 14, 2018
ETSU (1-1, 0-0 Southern) at VMI (0-2, 0-1 Southern)  2:30 pm
The Bucs travel Lexington to meet the Keydets the first of two conference games today. ETSU turns out to be a not so good guest, as the leave Lexington with a 35-17 win over the winless Keydets.

Western Carolina (1-0) at Gardner-Webb (1-1)  6 pm
The Cats travel to Boiling Springs for the second straight year, hoping to come away with the same final results.  Both teams need this win, but it's the Catamounts that come out on top, 38-24.

Saturday, 8-15-18
Mercer (1-1, 0-0 Southern) at Samford (1-1, 0-0 Southern) 3 pm
The Bears travel to Birmingham, hoping to capitalize on last week's win over Jacksonville, but the Bulldogs have a different idea in mind, their first conference win.  Dogs roll, 35-21 over Mercer.

Wofford (2-0) at Wyoming (1-2) 4 pm
The Terriers are hoping to pick up that FBS win, but it's just not in the cards. The Cowboys end their two-game losing streak with a 31-14 victory.

Chattanooga (2-0) at UT Martin (0-2) 4 pm
The Mocs continue their winning streak, this time it's the Skyhawk that fall victim to the Mocs.  Chattanooga takes a 28-14 win over UTM

Postponed -
Charleston Southern (0-1) at The Citadel (0-2)

Colgate (2-0) at Furman (0-2)


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Thursday, September 13, 2018

Cats play a rare Friday night game.....

Coming off a bye week, Western Carolina hits the road for the first time in 2018 as the Catamounts travel to Boiling Springs, NC to meet Gardner-Webb on Friday evening at Spangler Stadium. Kickoff for the rescheduled game is slated for 6:00 pm.

Friday's game will be broadcast on the Catamount Sports Network (CSN) with live streaming audio available online at and on the radio, at 94.1 FM / 1590 AM WBHN out of Bryson City/Cherokee, the sister station to CSN affiliate 105.7 / 540 AM WRGC of Sylva.

The game will be carried on ESPN+ (subscription required) with Fabian Fuentes and Blake McCandless on the call.

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Sunday, September 9, 2018

2018 SoCon Football Power Rankings - (after week #3)

Welcome to Purple & Gold's 2018 SoCon Football Power Rankings.

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

Here are this week's rankings after two weeks of play:

1.  (1)  Samford (1-1,  0-0 SoCon)
Next:  Mercer

2(2)  Wofford (2-0, 2-0 SoCon)
Next:  at Wyoming

3. (6)  Chattanooga (2-0, 0-0 SoCon)
Next:  at UT Martin

4.  (7) Western Carolina (1-0, 0-0 SoCon)
Next: at Gardner-Webb

5.  (5) Mercer (1-1, 0-0 SoCon)
Next:  at Samford

6.  (3) Furman (0-1, 0-0 SoCon)
Next:  at Elon

7.  (4) The Citadel (0-2, 0-2 SoCon)
Next:  Charleston Southern

8.  (8) ETSU  (1-1, 0-0 SoCon)
Next:  @ VMI

9. (9)  VMI  (0-2, 0-1 SoCon)
Next:  ETSU

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

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Game #2 - Gardner-Webb

**** Game moved to Friday, September 14, at 6 pm due to Hurricane Florence ****

In Western Carolina's second football game of the 2018 season and the first road game, the Catamounts travel to Boiling Spring, NC to play in Spangler Stadium vs. the Gardner-Webb Runnin' Bulldogs.

This will be the third game of what is a four-game series for the Cats against the Bulldogs, and the second straight game of that series to be played in Boiling Springs.  While the Cats have one game under their belts, the Runnin' Bulldogs have played two games, one against Limestone, and the second against the #5 NC A&T Aggies.


When: Saturday, September 15 - Time - 6:00 pm
Where: Spangler Stadium, Boilings Springs, NC (9,000)
Radio: Catamount Sports Network
TV/video: ESPN+
Live Stats:  statBroadcast
Game Notes:  WCU    -     GWU
The Series: The series stretches back to 1932, and the Cats lead with a 5-3 overall record.
Conference:  Big South
Message BoardGardner-Webb Fans' Message Board

Games that the Bulldogs play prior to the WCU contest:  Two games - Limestone (home) & NC A&T (road) - The runnin' dogs have a 52-17 win over Div. II Limestone in Boiling Springs, but lost to high powered and #5 ranked NC A&T, 45-6 in Greensboro, NC last Saturday.

Last game played vs. GWU: (9-16-17) Newsome Scores Twice, Adams Three TD Passes in 42-27 Win at Gardner-Webb -  Running back Detrez Newsome scored two touchdowns, rushing for 146 yards to go over 3,000 for his career as Western Carolina used a strong offensive effort and timely defense to down Gardner-Webb, 42-27, Saturday night at Spangler Stadium. The Catamounts (2-1), who came in as the FCS leader in total offense, averaging 630 yards per game, finished with 435 against the Runnin' Bulldogs (1-2). Western Carolina also snapped a seven-game road losing streak, recording its first victory away from home since the season finale of 2015.

Last Year's Record: 1-10 overall (home 1-4, road 0-6), 0-5 Big South Conference

Offensive starters - Returning/Lost: 8 / 3
Defensive starters - Returning/Lost: 7 / 4
Specialist - Returning/Lost:  2 / 3
Offensive Formation:  Spread
Defensive Formation:  3-4

Gardner-Webb returns 17 starters, having lost a total of 17 seniors from the 2017 season, including their all-conference quarterback, Tyrell Maxwell. The Runnin' Bulldogs return 3 QB possibilities, sophomore Jordan Smith, sophomore Jaylen Myers, and senior Brody Rollins. Rollin was the back up last season, but Jordan Smith has gotten the starting nod for the first two games of the season and Rolling has been moved to a starting WR position.

GWU brought in a 13-man recruiting class, with the highlight being a three-star defensive back Malachi Buckner (6-1, 195) from Georgia powerhouse Tucker (Ga.) High. An All-DeKalb County choice, Buckner garnered more than 10 Division I scholarship offers during the course of his senior season, including five from FBS programs.

2017 Bulldog Statistics:
Rushing Offense: 2143 yards
Yards per game: 194.8
Yards per rush: 4.7 yards
TDs rushing: 11
Passing Offense: 1341 yards or 121.9 yards per game
Passing Comp-Att-Int: 121-257-12
Total Offense: 3484 yards or 316.7 yards per game
Passing 1st downs: 72
Rushing 1st downs: 118
Fumbles-Lost: 8 - 5
Penalties-Yards: 45 - 406 yards
3d Down Conversions: 56 of 159 - 35%
4th Down Conversions: 12 of 19 - 63%
Red-Zone Scores: 14 of 22 (64%)
Red-Zone Touchdowns: 6 of 22 (27%)
Punts: 64 - Avg. per punt: 33.6 yds
Sacks: 13
PAT-Attempts: 21 of 21 - 100%
Field Goals-Attempts: 10 of 11

Game prediction:  Per the Massey Ratings, the Cats have a 71% probability of winning (31-24)

My prediction - Cats should be 2-0 after this game.

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