Sunday, July 31, 2016

2016 Catamount Football Preseason Previews


Throughout this preseason, Purple & Gold previewed all of Western's 2016 football opponents. 

We've enjoyed getting to know Western's opponents a little better and we hope you've enjoyed reading about them.

In case you missed any of the previews, here's a listing -









Game #1 - East Carolina   





Game #2  -  Gardner-Webb 






Game #3 -  East Tennessee State





 Game #4  - The Citadel







     Game #5 -  Wofford 






 Game #6 -  Mercer





Game #7 - Samford 





Game #8 - VMI





Game #9 - Chattanooga






 Game #10 - Furman





Game #11 - South Carolina 






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Thursday, July 28, 2016

2016 Consolidated SoCon Football Schedule




The 2016 SoCon Football Schedule. The season kicks off with four Thursday night games, and a rare Friday night game, on September first and second.

Not a lot of non-Div I games this year in the schedule, which is good for the conference RPI, we just need to win those OOC FCS games, and a few FBS games.

Good Luck to all the SoCon teams in their out of conference schedules.






Thursday, September 1
Mars Hill at Samford  -  Birmingham, Ala. TBA  ESPN3
Wofford at Tennessee Tech  -  Cookeville, Tenn. 7:00 p.m. OVCDN
The Citadel at Mercer   - Macon, Ga. 7:00 p.m. Fox Sportss Go/ESPN3
Shorter University at Chattanooga   - Chattanooga, Tenn. 7:00 p.m.


Friday, September 2
Furman at Michigan State East - Lansing, Mich. 7:00 p.m. BTN

Saturday, September 3 
Western Carolina at East Carolina -  Greenville, N.C. 6:00 p.m.  ESPN3
VMI at Akron - Akron, Ohio 6:30 p.m.  ESPN3
ETSU at Kennesaw State - Kennesaw, Ga. 7:00 p.m.  BSDN

Saturday, September 10
Presbyterian at Chattanooga -  Chattanooga, Tenn. 2:00 p.m.  SDN
Mercer at Georgia Tech -  Atlanta, Ga. 3:00 p.m.   ESPN3
Wofford at Ole Miss -  Oxford, Miss. 4:00 p.m.   SEC Network
Furman at The Citadel  -  Charleston, S.C. 6:00 p.m. ESPN3
Gardner-Webb at Western Carolina   - Cullowhee, N.C. 6:00 p.m.   SDN
VMI at Morehead State - Morehead, Ky. 6:00 p.m.   OVCDN
Samford at Central Arkansas   - Conway, Ark. 7:00 p.m.  TBA

Saturday, September 17
Western Carolina at ETSU -  Bristol, Tenn.  1:30 pm
Tennessee Tech at Mercer  -  Macon, Ga. TBA    ESPN3
Johnson C. Smith University at Wofford  - Spartanburg, S.C. 3:00 p.m.  ESPN3
The Citadel at Gardner-Webb Boiling Springs, N.C. 6:00 p.m.   BSDN
Chattanooga at Furman  -  Greenville, S.C. 7:00 p.m.   ESPN3

Saturday, September 24  
Furman at Coastal Carolina -  Conway, S.C.  TBA
ETSU at Wofford  - Spartanburg, S.C. 1:30 p.m.  ESPN3
Samford at Chattanooga -  Chattanooga, Tenn. 2:00 p.m.    SDN
VMI at Bucknell -  Lewisburg, Pa. 3:00 p.m.    PLN

Saturday, October 1
Chattanooga at ETSU -  Johnson City, Tenn. TBA   SDN
Wofford at Samford  - Birmingham, Ala. TBA     ESPN3
Mercer at VMI  -  Lexington, Va. 1:30 p.m   . ESPN3
Kennesaw State at Furman  -  Greenville, S.C. 3:00 p.m.   ESPN3
The Citadel at Western Carolina  - Cullowhee, N.C. 3:30 p.m.  ESPN3

Saturday, October 8
Furman at Samford Greenville, S.C. TBA  ESPN3
ETSU at VMI  -  Lexington, Va. 1:30 p.m.  ESPN3
North Greenville College at The Citadel  -  Charleston, S.C. 2:00 p.m.  ESPN3
Mercer at  Chattanooga  -  Chattanooga, Tenn. 4:00 p.m.   S DN
Wofford at Western Carolina  -  Cullowhee, N.C. 6:00 p.m.   ASN

Saturday, October 15 
Western Carolina at Mercer  - Macon, Ga. TBA    ESPN3
VMI at Samford  -  Birmingham, Ala. TBA    ESPN3
Furman at ETSU  -  Johnson City, Tenn. TBA    SDN
Chattanooga at The Citadel -  Charleston, S.C. 6:00 p.m.  FSSE/Fox Sports Go/ESPN3

Thursday, October 20
West Virginia Wesleyan at ETSU -  Johnson City, Tenn. TBA   SDN

Saturday, October 22
Western Carolina at Samford  -  Birmingham, Ala. TBA   ESPN3
The Citadel at Wofford - Spartanburg, S.C. 1:30 p.m.   ESPN3
VMI at Chattanooga   - Chattanooga, Tenn. 2:00 p.m.   SDN
Mercer at Austin Peay -  Clarksville, Tenn. 4:00 p.m.     OVCDN

Saturday, October 29
Samford at Mississippi State -  Starkville, Miss. TBA
Mercer at Wofford -  Spartanburg, S.C. 1:30 p.m.   ESPN3
Furman at VMI  - Lexington, Va. 1:30 p.m.   ESPN3
ETSU at The Citadel  -  Charleston, S.C. 2:00 p.m.   ESPN3
Chattanooga at Western Carolina  -  Cullowhee, N.C. 3:30 p.m.   SDN

Saturday, November 5
ETSU at Mercer  - Macon, Ga. TBA    FSSE/Fox Sports Go/ESPN3
Wofford at Furman - Greenville, S.C. 1:30 p.m.   ESPN3
Samford at The Citadel  -  Charleston, S.C. 2:00 p.m.   ESPN3
VMI at Western Carolina  -  Cullowhee, N.C. 2:00 p.m.   ESPN3

Saturday, November 12
Mercer at Samford  - Birmingham, Ala. TBA   ESPN3
Cumberland College at ETSU  -  Johnson City, Tenn. TBA  SDN
The Citadel at VMI  -  Lexington, Va.  1:30 p.m.   ESPN3
Wofford at Chattanooga  - Chattanooga, Tenn . 2:00 p.m.   SDN
Western Carolina at Furman  -  Greenville, S.C. 3:00 p.m. WMYA-TV/ESPN3

Saturday, Nov 19
Western Carolina at South Carolina  - Columbia, S.C. TBA
Samford at ETSU -  Johnson City, Tenn. TBA     SDN
The Citadel at North Carolina   - Chapel Hill, N.C.   TBA
Chattanooga at Alabama  -  Tuscaloosa, Ala.   TBA
Furman at Mercer   - Macon, Ga  TBA   FSSE/Foc Sports Go/ESPN3
VMI at Wofford   - Spartanburg, S.C. 2:00 p.m.   ESPN3



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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

2016 Football Preseason Preview: South Carolina



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

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


The Cats last played South Carolina in 1989.





South Carolina



When: Saturday, November 19th - Time TBA

Where: Williams-Brice Stadium, Columbia, SC

Radio: Catamount Sports Network

TV / video: TBA

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



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

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

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

Offensive starters - Returning/Lost: 4 / 7

Defensive starters - Returning/Lost: 6 / 5

Specialist - Returning/Lost: 2 / 0

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

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

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

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




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Monday, July 25, 2016

SoCon Football Media Day - July 27

Courtesy WCU Athletics Media Relations             

2016 Football Preseason Preview: Furman




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

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


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




Furman





When: Saturday, November 12th -  Time 4:00 pm ET

Where: Paladian Stadium, Greenville, SC

Radio: Catamount Sports Network

TV / video: ESPN3

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


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

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

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

Offensive starters - Returning/Lost: 6 / 5

Defensive starters - Returning/Lost:  7  / 4

Specialist - Returning/Lost:  2  / 1

Offensive Formation: Multiple

Defensive Formation: Multiple

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


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

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




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Saturday, July 23, 2016

2016 Football Preseason Preview: VMI





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

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

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





VMI



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

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

Radio: Catamount Sports Network

TV / video: SoCon Digital Network

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

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


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

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


Offensive starters - Returning/Lost: 7 / 4

Defensive starters - Returning/Lost: 8 / 3

Specialist - Returning/Lost:  1 / 1

Offensive Formation:  Spread

Defensive Formation:  3-4

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

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



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Friday, July 22, 2016

2016 Football Preseason Preview: Chattanooga


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

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

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



Chattanooga






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

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

Radio: Catamount Sports Network

TV / video: SoCon Digital Network 

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

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

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

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

Offensive starters - Returning/Lost: 8 / 3

Defensive starters - Returning/Lost: 6 / 5

Specialist - Returning/Lost: 4 / 2

Offensive Formation: Multiple

Defensive Formation: Multiple

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

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



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Thursday, July 21, 2016

2016 Football Preseason Preview: Samford





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

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

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


Samford





When: Saturday, October 22nd - Time  7:00 pm  ET

Where: Seibert Stadium, Birmingham, AL

Radio: Catamount Sports Network

TV / video:  ESPN3

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

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

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

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

Offensive starters - Returning/Lost: 8 / 3

Defensive starters - Returning/Lost: 8 / 3

Specialist - Returning/Lost: 4 / 3

Offensive Formation: Multiple

Defensive Formation:  4-3

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

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

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Monday, July 18, 2016

2016 Football Preseason Preview: Mercer




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

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






Mercer




When:  Saturday, October 15th  - Time TBA

Where:  Five Star Stadium. Macon, GA

Radio:  Catamount Sports Network 

TV / video:  ESPN3

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


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



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

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

Offensive starters - Returning/Lost: 10 / 1

Defensive starters - Returning/Lost: 10 / 1

Specialist - Returning/Lost: 6  /  2

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

Defensive Formation: 3-4

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


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Saturday, July 16, 2016

2016 Football Preseason Preview: Wofford



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

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

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









Wofford




When: Saturday, October 8 at 6:00 pm

Where: E. J. Whitmire Stadium, Cullowhee

Radio: Catamount Sports Network

TV / video:  SoCon Digital Network

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


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


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

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

Offensive starters - Returning/Lost: 8 / 3

Defensive starters - Returning/Lost: 9 / 2

Specialist - Returning/Lost: 3 / 0

Offensive Formation: Triple Option (Wingbone)

Defensive Formation: Multiple 50

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

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

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




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Friday, July 15, 2016

2016 Football Preseason Preview: The Citadel





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

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

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








The Citadel   


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

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

Radio: Catamount Sports Network

TV / video: SoCon Digital Network

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

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


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

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

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

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

Specialist - Returning/Lost:  7 / 0

Offensive Formation: Triple Option

Defensive Formation: 4-2-5

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


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

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




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