Thursday, June 29, 2017

2017 Football Preseason Preview: Gardner-Webb

Throughout this preseason, Purple & Gold will preview all of Western's 2017 football opponents.

Today we look at the Gardner-Webb Runnin' Bulldogs.

In the third game of the season, the Catamounts will travel to Boiling Springs, NC to face its second NC-based non-conference opponent. the Running Bulldogs of Gardner-Webb.


When: Saturday, September 16 - Time 6:00 pm ET

Where: Spangler Stadium,  Boilings Springs, NC  (9,000)

Radio: Catamount Sports Network

TV/video: WMYA-TV, My40 / Big South Network

Games that will be played this season prior to the WCU contest: (2)  NC A&T (home);  at Wyoming (Laramie, Wyo.)

The Series: The series stretches back to 1932, and is currently tied at 4-3, with last season's win in Cullowhee. The Cats are 3-1 in Cullowhee against the Runnin' Bulldogs..

Last game played vs. GWU: (9-10-16)  CATAMOUNT FOOTBALL CRUISES PAST GARDNER-WEBB, 44-14 - Redshirt freshman QB Tyrie Adams guided the Catamounts to 690 yards of total offense including career-highs of 427 yards through the air and 83 yards on the ground as Western Carolina pulled away from visiting Gardner-Webb for a 44-14 victory on "White Out" night at E.J. Whitmire Stadium / Bob Waters Field. Leading at halftime, 17-14, following a Logan Howard 38-yard field goal, Western Carolina outscored Gardner-Webb 31-0 in the second half to pull away and cruise to the home-opening victory.

Head Coach: Gardner-Webb head coach Carroll McCray (Class of ‘83) enters his fifth season in charge of his alma mater’s football program in 2017, with sights set on continuing to construct a foundation that supports a bright future for the program going forward. McCray is in the midst of a rebuilding effort that he embarked upon in 2013, adjusting the culture quickly in his first season and instilling pride into the program for which he once played. McCray’s teams have proven to be giant slayers during his time in Boiling Springs, knocking off four teams ranked in the top-15 since 2013. In its previous eight seasons at the Division I level, Gardner-Webb had won just twice against top-25 opponents. GWU will face at least three teams ranked in the FCS Top 25 in 2016, with two of those games in Boiling Springs (Citadel, Coastal Carolina).

Last Year's Record: 5-6 overall (home 3-3, road 2-3),  3-2 Big South Conference

Offensive starters - Returning/Lost:  7  / 4

Defensive starters - Returning/Lost:  9  /  2

Specialist - Returning/Lost:  3  / 2

Offensive Formation: Spread

Defensive Formation: 3-4

Key losses: RB - Khalil Lewis. Center - Caleb Smith, TE - Mike Estes,  LG - David Sutton, LS - James Needham, LS

Top returnees:  QB - Tyrell Maxwell, RB - Khalil Lewis,  Adonus Lee

Gardner-Webb quarterback Tyrell Maxwell is listed as the Preseason Big South Offensive Player of the Year by the 2017 Lindy's College Football National Preview Magazine heading into his senior campaign.  The Runnin' Bulldogs return a somewhat veteran team this season, only losing 6 starters total to graduation. Their offense will be asked to get the job done without last year’s No. 1 running back, Khalil Lewis, who was dismissed from the program this offseason because of multiple violations of team rules.

2016 Bulldog Statistics:
Rushing Offense: 2743 yards
Yards per game: 229
Yards per rush: 5.2 yards
TDs rushing: 24
Passing Offense: 1679 yards or 153 yards per game
Passing Comp-Att-Int: 134-241-4
Total Offense: 4198 yards or 257 yards per game
Passing 1st downs: 64
Rushing 1st downs: 130
Fumbles-Lost: 17 - 6
Penalties-Yards: 47 - 453 yards
3d Down Conversions: 63 of 155 - 41%
4th Down Conversions: 7 of 12 - 58%
Red-Zone Scores: 31 of 35 (89%)
Red-Zone Touchdowns: 22 of 35 (48%)
Punts: 60 - Avg. per punt: 41 yds
Sacks: 21
PAT-Attempts: 34 of 34 - 100%
Field Goals-Attempts: 10 of 11


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