Tuesday, September 30, 2014

WCU 2-Deep Roster vs. Presbyterian


Roster Courtesy WCU Athletic Media Relations

Purple & Gold's SoCon Football Power Rankings



Welcome to this week's Purple & Gold SoCon Power Rankings for the week beginning 9-29-14. The power ranking are published weekly on Tuesday.

SoCon's Week 6 has three conference matchups and 2 teams playing out of conference games against Big South opponents.  Last week, The Citadel helped improve the SoCon record vs. the Big South with their victory over Gardner-Webb, and two wins this Saturday would even up the record at 4-4.

The Citadel will kick off the day at Wofford, which is probably the premier conference matchup of the weekend.  Then Western Carolina visits the state of South Carolina for the second consecutive week for the first of the day's two contest with a Big South teams, Presbyterian.  Later in the day, Mercer remains on the road as they make their first trip to Samford, then VMI hits the road to Chattanooga for what will be their third conference game of the season, and possibly their toughest opponent.  To round out the day, the Big South's nationally ranked #3 team, Coastal Carolina visits the offensively struggling Paladins in Greenville, SC.


1. (2)  Chattanooga 
Last Game: UTC 38 - Samford 24
Record: 2-2 (1-0 SoCon)  - Up next - VMI (1-4)
The Mocs are coming off a big win over one of their defending co-champions, Samford.  Chattanooga should have little problem with the Keydets, unless they look past VMI to Tennessee.   

2. (1)  Samford 
Last Game: Samford 24 - UTC 38
Record: 2-2 (1-1 SoCon) - Up next - Mercer (4-2)
The Bulldogs are coming off a disappointing loss to Samford, in a game many felt may determine the conference championship.  It was a big game, but not that big.  This weeks game against Mercer at home, should start the healing process caused by the UTC loss. 

3. (3)  Western Carolina 
Last Game: WCU 35 - Furman  17
Record: 3-1 (1-0 SoCon)  - Up next - at Presbyterian  (2-2)
The Cats are celebrating one of their biggest wins in recent history, breaking several negative streaks, on the order of a 22 game DI road loss streak, and a 15 game road loss streak to SoCon opponents.  If the Cats take it one game at time, and the offense continues to produce, they should increase their record to 4-1 after Saturday's game..

4. (6)  The Citadel 
Last Game: The Citadel 37 - GWU 14
Record: 1-3 (0-0 SoCon)  - Up next - at Woffford (2-2)
                            The Bulldogs rebound from a 2 point loss to crosstown rival Charleston Southern and  easily handled the Runnin' Bulldogs of GWU. This week's matchup against the Terriers should be a big indicator as to the direction of two of the SoCon's usual top tier teams.  A loss by either, will really hurt that team.  
5. (4)  Wofford 
Last Game: Wofford 49 - UVA Wise 15
Record: 2-2 (0-0 SoCon) - Up next - The Citadel (1-3) 
                     The Terriers cruised to victory over the out-manned UVA-Wise team as expected, but did that victory prepare Wofford of the rising Bulldogs of The Citadel?  

6. (5)  Furman 
Last Game: Furman 17 - WCU 35
Record: 2-3 (1-1 SoCon)  - Up next - Coastal Carolina (5-0)
The Paladins remain at home for the second consecutive week, and will have an even greater challenge that Western Carolina presented this past weekend.  The Paladins will meet the #3 ranked Coastal Carolina in Greenville, but the home field advantage will mean little.    
7. (8)  Mercer 
Last Game: Mercer 27 - VMI 24
Record: 4-1 (1-1 SoCon) - Up next - at Samford (2-2) 
                             The Bears won their first Southern Conference game last weekend against VMI, but the competition will be much stiffer this week, as the Bears will travel to Birmingham to meet the Samford Bulldogs.   
8. (7)  Virginia Military Institute 
Last Game: VMI 24 - Mercer 27
Record: 1-4 (0-2 SoCon) - Up next - at Chattanooga (2-2) 
                         The Keydets competition gets even tougher this week, as they travel to meet the Mocs in Chattanooga.  


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Monday, September 29, 2014

Football - Presbyterian College Blue Hose


On October 4th, the Catamounts travel back to the Palmetto state for the second straight week, this time, traveling to Big South Conference member, Presbyterian College.  This game will mark the 18th all-time meeting between Western Carolina and Presbyterian.

The Cats currently lead the series 9-8 and are in the midst of a nine-game winning streak in the overall series. The Blue Hose have not defeated the Catamounts since 1969 when they downed the Cats 28-17 in Cullowhee.  The series between WCU and PC began in 1950 and the Blue Hose won all eight of the first eight contests, before WCU began its current nine-game winning streak in 1970.

The two team last played in 2008 in the most recent home and home series and both games were won by the Catamounts.

Currently sitting at 2-2 overall, PC will be coming off a bye week on game day, after a 42-0 thrashing at the hands of NC State in their last game.  The Blue Hose have a home game, narrow 3-point win over the Furman Paladins, and a blowout victory against NAIA's Bluefield College, 69-14.  The Blue Hose were on the receiving end of another one of those blowouts, in their opening game loss, to the Northern Illinois Huskies, 53-3.  The Blue Hose present a some-what balanced attack, averaging 207 yards on the ground, and 106 yards in the air, passing.

When: October 4th, 2014 at 2:00 pm (EST)

Where: Bailey Memorial Stadium, Clinton, SC

Radio:  Catamount Sports Network

TV/Video:  Big South Network 

Their coach: Harold Nichols - Nichols is entering his 5th season as PC's head coach.

Last year’s record: 3-8 overall, 1-4 Big South

The last game vs. Presbyterian: September 21, 2008 - Red-shirt sophomore Marquel Pittman hauled in an acrobatic four-yard scoring strike with just over three minutes showing on the Bailey Memorial Stadium clock Saturday afternoon. But it wasn't until Presbyterian's Cam Miller hooked a 23-yard field goal wide left that the Catamounts were able to celebrate their first road win since late October, 2005, downing the Blue Hose, 23-21.

Offensive starters - Returning/Lost: 8 - 3

Defensive starters - Returning/Lost: 9 - 2

2014 Statistics:
Scoring: 20.5 points per game
Rushing Offense: 207 yards per game
Passing Offense: 106 yards per game
Total Offense: 312.2 yards per game
Fumbles-Lost: 8 - 5
Penalties-Yards: 19 - 182.5 yards per game
3rd Down Conversions: 16 - 51 (31%)
4th Down Conversions: 3 - 5 (60%)
Field Goals - Attempts: 2 - 3
Red-Zone Scores: 8 - 10 (80%)
Red-Zone Touchdowns: 6 - 10, (60%)

Losses/Weaknesses:
Key Losses - RB Demarcus Rouse, RB LaQua Mayers, WR Jeremiah McKie, YR Tobi Antigha,

Strengths: Tobi Antigha earned a spot on the 2014 CFPA Wide Receiver Watch List
Returning Leaders: RB Blake Roberts, QB Heys McMath, QB Kaleb Griffin

Presbyterian is a young team that lost only 9 seniors from the 2013 team. The 2014 Blue Hose team has 38 either true or redshirt freshmen, 25 either true or redshirt sophomores, 23 juniors or redshirt juniors, & 12 seniors.



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Sunday, September 28, 2014

Saturday's SoCon Football Round-up (9-27-14)

The Catamounts surprised many across the Southern Conference with a dominating performance over the defending SoCon champion Furman Paladins in a game the Cats led from the opening kickoff return drive.

The victory ended a 22-game winless drought on the road for Western Carolina, and also ended the Catamount's 15-game SoCon road losing streak. The Cats scored in every quarter, scoring against what was professed to be best defense in the Southern Conference.

Quarterback Troy Mitchell was 12 of 19 for 182 yards, while adding 70 yards rushing on 16 carries. Darius Ramsey ran 17 times for 113 yards  and Detrez Newsome added two touchdown runs for the Catamounts. The Cats rushed for a total of 233 yards, and passed for 182 yards for a combined total of 415 yards in the game.  Purple & Gold's pick was a remarkable 35-17, the final score was WCU 35 - Furman 17.

In a game between two of the newest SoCon members, Mercer and VMI, a late interception by the Bears thwarted a potential tying / winning drive as the Bears notched a narrow victory over the Keydets in the first ever meeting between the two teams. With 1:32 remaining and VMI driving into Mercer territory, quarterback Al Cobb threw a fade down the left sideline. but Mercer's Zach Jackson leapt in front of the ball for the game saving interception. From there, the Bears were able to run out the clock and preserve the margin for their first-ever SoCon victory.  Purple & Gold's pick was Keydets win - 35 - 28, the final score was Mercer 27 and VMI 24.

In non-conference action, Wofford entertained UVA-Wise.  The overmatched Cavaliers were down 28-8 at the half and despite scoring a second half opening touchdown to come within 28-15, UVA Wise was unable to stop the Terriers from rolling off 3 additional touchdowns to overwhelm the Cavaliers.  Purple & Gold's pick was the Terriers win - 49-10, the final score was Terriers 49 - Cavaliers 15.

In the second non-conference game of the evening, The Citadel Bulldogs upheld the honor of the Southern Conference by knocking off Big South member Gardner-Webb in convincing fashion in Charleston. The Bulldogs ran for three touchdowns and Eric Goins kicked three field goals in the win, while The Citadel defense completely shut down Gardner-Webb's running game, which finished with negative yardage. This was the Bulldogs first win of the season, after 3 disappointing losses to undefeated teams. In a game that was much more high scoring than expected, Purple & Gold picked the Citadel to win 17-14, the actual final score was The Citadel 37 - Gardner-Webb 14.

The most anticipated game of the day was played in Chattanooga, as the Samford Bulldogs invaded the Chattanooga Mocs home field for what many was predicting , and quite possibly a little prematurely, the Southern Conference championship game. The Bulldogs entered the game with a 1-0 conference record, and a win would have placed them firmly in the conference lead at 2-0. However, the preseason favorite Mocs had other ideas, as they moved out to a commanding 17-3 first quarter lead over the Dogs, then increased that to 24-3 lead at the half.  Despite a Samford 14 point 3d quarter, bringing the Bulldogs to within 11 points of the Mocs at 28-17, Chattanooga scored twice in the fourth to put the game safely out of reach for the Bulldogs.  Purple & Gold picked Samford to win 21-17, however the final score was Chattanooga 38 - Samford  24.


For this week, Purple & Gold was 3-2, overall  6-4.


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P & G's selection of the WCU Player of the Game


Purple & Gold's WCU Player of the Game for the Catamount victory over Furman is "the entire Catamount Football Team".

While many players are deserving of an individual award this week, such as sophomore wide receiver Spearman Robinson who hauled in five passes for 120 yards and a pair of scores, or junior quarterback Troy Mitchell who connected on 12-of-19 passes for 182 yards and a pair of scores, or freshman tailback Detrez Newsome who added two rushing scores, while junior tailback Darius Ramsey carried the ball 17 times for 113 yards and a TD.

Defensively, senior Christon Gill recorded a team-best seven tackles including four solo stops and half a tackle for loss, while lineman Kelvin Ume and linebacker Daniel Riddle posted six stops apiece. Catamount linebackers broke up nine passes including three by Jaleel Lorquet and two apiece by Sertonuse Harris, Fred Payne and Trey Morgan, with Morgan and Payne - both pick off interceptions.

With all the individuals deserving of individual performances awards in this game, this was a Catamount team effort that ended a 22-game winless drought on the road for Western Carolina.  A team effort that ended a SoCon road loss streak that stretched back to 2010 with WCU's last road win at The Citadel on Oct. 13, 2010.

This was a team victory that ended the Catamount's 15-game SoCon road losing streak, an effort that gives Western its best start in football, since 2002 when the Catamounts opened the season 3-1.

Purple & Gold congratulates every single player on the Catamount football team for their selection as WCU Player of the Game AND for this season defining win over the Furman Paladins.


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Video: Furman Postgame Highlights



Video Courtesy WCU Athletic Media Relations

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Game Day - Beat Furman




Where to watch today's WCU at Furman game

Below is a listing of the broadcast stations that will carry the Western Carolina at Furman football game.

Station NameChannelAffiliationLocation
WMYV48MyTvNC: Greensboro-High Point - Winston-Salem
WLFLCWNC: Raleigh-Durham-Fayetteville
WCCBNC: Charlotte
WMYA40MyTvNC: Asheville / SC: Greenville-Spartanburg
WMMP36 MyTvSC: Charleston
WACH-2 GetTVSC: Columbia
WWMBCW-PlusSC: Myrtle Beach
WTVC-2This TVTN: Chattanooga
WNABCWTN: Nashville
WTVZ33MyTvVA: Norfolk - Portsmouth - Newport News
WRLH-2MyTv/ThisTVVA: Richmond - Petersburg
WSET-2RetroTVVA: Roanoke - Lynchburg
WMUB38MHzGA: Macon
WJTCIndyFL: Mobile - Pensacola
WABM68MyTvAL: Birmingham - Tuscaloosa
WJLA-3Live WellDC: Washington, D.C.


Courtesy WCU Sports Media Relations

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Week #5 - Purple & Gold Football Picks



Is it already week five?  This week, we have almost a full slate of conference games. so this should shake the standings up a little.  The premiere game is without a doubt Samford at Chattanooga, the teams picked first and second in preseason by the coaches.

Should the Samford Bulldogs win, they would be 2-0 in conference play, after that convincing win over the Keydets of VMI last week. This game will open conference play for the Mocs, and a victory would solidify in the minds of most that they are the class of the SoCon this season.

Two other games should attract lots of interest as well, as Western Carolina opens conference play at Furman.  The Paladins already have a conference victory as well, with their win over Mercer and a victory over the Catamounts would put them at 2-0 and firmly in first place in the conference race. The Cats need a win over the defending conference champions to be taken seriously in the conference race or just to prove they have turned the corner and can win on the road.

The other big game is a battle of the bulldogs, Gardner-Webb at The Citadel.  Gardner-Webb comes to Charleston at 2-2, having just beat Wofford, but their two wins have been at their home field, and both losses were on the road.  The Citadel is winless at this point, but their three losses have come at the hands of three undefeated teams.  The SoCon certainly needs the Bulldogs to step up and knock off G-W, as the SoCon is currently 1-4 against Big South teams this season.

Rounding out the rest of Saturday's games, Wofford hosts UVA-Wise while Mercer travels to Lexington for their first road conference game against the Keydets of VMI.  This game should tell us a lot about both teams. Is Mercer for real, can the Keydets get their first conference win?


Saturday, September 27, 2014

Samford at Chattanooga - Samford wins 21-17

Western Carolina at Furman - WCU wins  35-14

Gardner-Webb at The Citadel -  the Citadel wins 17-14

Mercer at VMI -  the Keydets win -  35 - 28

UVA-Wise at Wofford -  the Terriers win - 49-10


Last week: 3-2  (Overall:  3-2)

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2 Days 'till Game Day at Furman



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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Purple & Gold's SoCon Football Power Rankings



Welcome to this week's Purple & Gold's Power Rankings.  

The power poll will be published weekly on Tuesday evening. This week (week 5), conference play starts in earnest, with the premier game - Samford at Chattanooga, while the Catamounts at Furman come in as close second.  

This is a vital game for both the Cats and Paladins for very different reasons.  The Paladins have not only lost their starting quarterback, but their last two games as well due to an anemic offense. Has the Cats turned the corner and are they ready to break out in the SoCon? This game will give us some answers.  
  

1. Samford
Record: 2-1 (1-0 SoCon) Up next - at Chattanooga 
The Bulldogs are coming off a big win over returning member VMI to the tune of 63-21, at this point both their offense and defense are firing on all cylinders.  

2. Chattanooga
Record: 1-2 (0-0 SoCon) Up next - Samford  
The Mocs are coming off a bye week, after a nice 42-6 road win over Austin Peay.  Until the AP game, the offense has been sluggish and unpredictable, but seems to be on the upswing now.  

3. Western Carolina
Record: 2-1 (0-0 SoCon) Up next at Furman  
The Cats are coming off a bye week as well, giving them an extra week to work on that defense and fine tune that explosive offense. 
4. Wofford
Record: 1-2 (0-0 SoCon) Up next - UVA-Wise  
The Terriers take a rest this week after a hard fought loss to Gardner-Webb last Saturday.  

5. Furman
Record: 2-2 (1-0 SoCon)  Up next - Western Carolina 
The Paladins return home for the first time since their early win over Gardner-Webb in week #1. The Paladins look to improve their offensive production after only scoring one touchdown in each of the last two losses.  

6. The Citadel
Record: 0-3 (0-0 SoConUp next - Gardner-Webb  
The Bulldogs are a somewhat surprising 0-3 coming into their first home game since an opening day loss to Coastal Carolina.  The Dogs look to rebound from a 2 point loss to cross town rival Charleston Southern.  
7. Virginia Military Institute
Record: 1-3 (0-1 SoConUp next - Mercer  
The Keydets return to the site of their lone victory this season, Lexington, Va. They are taking on up and coming Mercer, and the Keydets are hoping their home field advantage lifts the team to a much needed win.

8. Mercer
Record: 3-1 (0-1 SoConUp next - at VMI  
The Bears take their first Southern Conference road trip to meet returning member VMI.  The surging Bears are looking to prove the close loss to Furman was not a fluke.   

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WCU 2-Deep Roster vs. Furman




Courtesy WCU Athletic Media Relations

4 days 'till Game Day at Furman


Monday, September 22, 2014

Catamount All Sports Reunion




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The Furman Paladins

This Saturday afternoon in Greenville, SC, Furman will take the field against the Catamounts for their just their second home game of the season, after three tough road games for the Paladins.

Furman brings a 2-2 record into the game, with opening wins against Gardner-Webb and Mercer before losing at both Presbyterian and SC State in close games.  The Paladins are averaging only 13 points per game, 106 yards on the ground and 197 yards in the air per game. At this point in the season, the Paladins are holding down last place in scoring offense, but are in first place in scoring defense.

The Cats trail Furman 10-29-2 all-time in the series, and have lost 15 of the last 16 meetings -dropping eight straight, with the last Catamount win in 2004 over the then #2 ranked nationally Paladins.

The defending conference champions Furman have not lived up to preseason expectations, with Furman ranked second in both preseason polls and opening the season at #18 in a national FCS poll. After the initial wins over Gardner-Webb and Mercer, Furman moved up to #12 in the national polls, then after the narrow loss to Presbyterian in game three, the Paladins dropped to #21 nationally. The loss of junior quarterback Reese Hannon in game one, has have a huge effect on the Paladin offensive side of the ball.

When: Saturday, September 27, 2014 at 3:00 pm

Where: Paladin Stadium, Greenville, SC

Radio:  Catamount Sports Network

TV/Video: American Sports Network (ASN) can be viewed on WMYA/Ch. 40

Their coach: Bruce Fowler - Fowler is entering his 4th season as head coach at Furman. In 2013, the Paladins were picked 7th in the preseason poll, but overcame adversity to at season's end, share the conference championship with Samford and Chattanooga.

Last season's game vs. Furman: The Paladins won, 32-20 in Cullowhee. Furman placekicker, Ray Early, kicked six field goals in the game, setting a Furman school record and matched the E.J. Whitmire Stadium / Bob Waters Field record held by former Catamount Josh Jones who kicked six field goals against Samford in 1999. The Cats produced one more first down in the game (19-18), as well as, total more yards in offense (434-412) than Furman. The Cats however fumbled 4 times, losing the ball twice.

Lettermen Returning: 42 / Offense - 21; Defense - 21

Offensive starters Returning/Lost: 6 / 5

Defensive starters Returning/Lost: 8 / 3

Basic Offense: Multiple

Basic Defense: Multiple

2014 Statistics:
Rushing Offense: 106.0 yards per game
Passing Offense: 197.4 yards per game
Total Offense: 303 yards per game
Scoring Offense: 13 per game
Fumbles-Lost:  5 - 4
Penalties-Yards: 42.3 avg per game
3rd Down Conversions: 17 of 47  (36%)
4th Down Conversions: 1 - 3  (33%)
Field Goals - Attempts:  6 of 9
Red-Zone Scores: 6 of 9  (67%)
Red-Zone Touchdowns: 2 of 9  (22%)

Losses/Weaknesses: 9 starters lost
Key Losses - Starters on Offense: Ryan Culbreath (WR), Dakota Dozier (OT), Cameron Mason (TE), Eric Thoni (C) Starters on Defense: Jairus Hollman, Austin Williams (CB), Greg Worthy (SS) - Specialists: Ray Early (PK & P)

Strengths: In the SoCon Media Day, the Paladins were selected in a tie with Samford for an end of season finish in second place. A total of seven Paladins were selected for the All Conference teams, defensive end Gary Wilkins, linebackers Marcus McMorris and Carl Rider, and cornerback Reggie Thomas. Offensively, the Paladins had three first team selections, including lineman Charles Emert, running back Hank McCloud, and wide receiver Andrej Suttles. Garnering second team accolades were quarterback Reese Hannon, offensive lineman Joe Turner, defensive lineman Ira McCune, and safety Trey Robinson.

Returning Leaders: Starters on Offense: Ernie Cain (FB), Charlet Emert (OT), Reese Hannon (QB), Hank McCloud (RB), Tank Philips (OG), Andrej Suttles (WR), Joe Turner (OG) - Starters on Defense: Jordan Hawkins (DT), John Mackey (NT), Cory Magwood (LB), Ira McCune (DE), Marcus McMorris (FS), Carl Rider (LB), Reggie Thomas (CB), Gary Wilkins (LB) - 44 Lettermen Returning

Prediction:   Western 27  -  Furman  17


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Sunday, September 21, 2014

Saturday's SoCon Football Round-up (9-20-14)

In the game most Catamount fans were interested in, South Carolina State led the entire game, and secured a 10 point win over the Paladins.  The Bulldogs were able to grind out 232 yards on the ground, while adding 90 yards in the air against the much heralded Furman defense.  The 21st nationally ranked Paladins once again fielded an anemic offense that was limited to just 61 yards rushing and 268 total yards. Paladin freshman quarterback Dillon Woodruff was 17 of 31 in pass attempts for 200 yards. The win gave the Bulldogs (2-2) a little revenge after losing to the Paladins in the first round of the FCS playoffs last season.  My pick was, SC State by 10, the final score was Furman 7 -  SC State 17

A couple of fumbles turned out to be the difference in Charleston Southern's two point win over the Citadel in their first visit to Buccaneer Stadium for the Bulldogs. CSU took a 17-3 lead into the third quarter on the strength of Darius Hammond's 74 yard punt return for a score. The Bulldogs were able to get within two points as Isiaha Smith ran into the endzone on a one-yard touchdown run followed by a successful two-point conversion. The Citadel blew a final chance to take the lead and win the game in the final minutes, as they fumbled near midfield with 1:26 to play, which enabled the Bucs to run down the clock for the win.  My pick was the Citadel 17-14, the final score was CSU 20 - The Citadel 18.

Gardner-Webb quarterback Lucas Beatty threw for 233 yards and three touchdowns and capped that performance with a rushing TD, as the Bulldogs pulled out a comeback win over Wofford.. With the score even at 36, late in the 4th quarter, Beatty orchestrated a 10-play, 59-yard game-winning drive, that ended with a 5-yard reception by Kenny Cook for the winning TD.  My pick was Terriers, 14-7, the final score was Wofford 36 - GWU 43

The Mercer football team set a program record with 42 first-half points, scoring on each of its first five possessions to run away with a 42-21 victory over their third cupcake of the season, NAIA's Ave Maria. The Bear's John Russ finished 11-of-16 for 181 yards and three touchdowns through the air to go along with 18 yards and a TD,   My pick was Bears roll over helpless Ava Maria, the final score was Ave Maria 21 - Mercer  42

In the only conference game of the day, VMI visited Samford for the first time as conference mates and came away a big loser. Samford quarterback Michael Eubank scored four of the Bulldog's eight rushing touchdowns, while running back Denzel Williams added 178 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries. The Bulldogs went into halftime with a 49-0 lead, 'nuff said.  Beatdowns like this against conference mates, have a way of coming back home to haunt you.  My pick was Samford by 17, the final score was VMI 21 - Samford 63.

For the week, I was 3-2.  I actually thought we'd win both games against the Big South, but close only counts in horseshoes and handgrenades.  


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Saturday, September 20, 2014

This week's Purple & Gold football picks

Saturday, Sept. 20th 


VMI at Samford - Samford welcomes the Keydets back to the SoCon, dogs by 17 points

The Citadel at Charleston Southern  - The Bulldogs celebrate their first win in the CSU stadium, 17-14

Wofford at Gardner-Webb  - The Terriers picks up their first FCS win of the season, 14-7

Ave Maria at Mercer - Bears roll over helpless Ava Maria in another cupcake win.  

Furman at SC State - FU's woes continue, SC State by 10 points


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