Thursday, July 27, 2017

2017 Football Preseason Preview: East Tennessee State

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

For the seventh game of the season, the Cats return home to face the Buccaneers of East Tennessee State University for their third home game of the season.

Last year, Western and the Bucs revived a series that started in 1932 and abruptly ended in 2003 when the Buccaneers eliminated football. Adding to the revival and new found rivalry between the two teams, the Bucs upset the Cats last season at the Bristol Motor Speedway.


When: Saturday, October 14 at 3:30 pm

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

Radio: Catamount Sports Network

TV / video:  ESPN3/SoCon Digital Network

The Series: This series stretches back to 1932, with the Cats holding a slim 23-22-1 lead.

The last game played vs. ETSU:  Sept. 17, 2016 - Catamount Football Drops 34-31 Decision to ETSU - BRISTOL, Tenn. - Junior tailback Detrez Newsome scored a career-best four touchdowns on Saturday afternoon, but it wasn't enough as Western Carolina dropped its 2016 Southern Conference football opener, 34-31, to East Tennessee State in front of an ETSU single-game record crowd of 13,863 at the Bristol Motor Speedway. Newsome tallied two TDs on the ground to accompany a pair of receiving scores in the loss. The Raeford, N.C., native moved into a tie for ninth-place in school history with his 22nd career rushing score, matching David Mayfield (22, 1984-86). Newsome finished with a combined 172 all-purpose yards including 32 yards rushing, 86 receiving yards on four catches, and 54 yards on kickoff returns.

Head Coach: Carl Torbush was named head coach of the East Tennessee State University football program on June 21, 2013, and tasked with resurrecting a program that will kick off a new era of play in the fall of 2015. Torbush, whose career includes head coaching stops at North Carolina and Louisiana Tech, has built a strong reputation as an outstanding defensive strategist after having served as a defensive coordinator at six FBS programs, including Alabama, Mississippi, Mississippi State, Kansas, Texas A&M and UNC. The most notable coaching stop on Torbush's resume was at North Carolina, where he served as defensive coordinator from 1988-97 before being promoted to head coach for three seasons (1998-2000).

Last Season's Record (ETSU):  2016 - 5-6 overall,  4-2 home,  1-4 away,  2-6 SoCon

Offensive Formation: Spread

Defensive Formation: 3-4

Starters returning/lost: 19 / 3

Offensive starters - Returning/Lost: 10 /  1

Defensive starters - Returning/Lost: 9 /  2

Specialist - Returning/Lost: 7  /  0

In preseason honors, year, red-shirt junior linebacker Dylan Weigel earned second team honors, while senior offensive lineman Alex Rios and junior kicker JJ Jerman joined Weigel on the second team list.  ETSU was picked to finish in 8th place by both the coaches and media polls. The Bucs were picked to finish ninth last season, but finished in seventh place. They pulled a couple of big upsets, beating Western Carolina and finishing the season with a major upset over playoff-bound Samford.

Top Returners:  QB Austin Herink has started all 22 games for the Bucs, RB Jajuan Stinson has 5 career 100 yard rushing games

2016 ETSU Statistics
Rushing Offense: 1776 yards
Yards per game: 134
Yards per rush: 3.5 yards
Rushing 1st downs: 96
TDs rushing: 11
Passing Offense: 1787 yards or 163 yards per game
Avg. per pass: 6 yards
Passing 1st downs: 78
Passing Comp-Att-Int: 171-296-8
TDs Passing: 9
Total Offense: 3261 yards or 297 yards per game
Fumbles-Lost: 8 - 2
3d Down Conversions: 63 of 163 (39%)
4th Down Conversions: 7 of 10 (70%)
Field goal attempts: 12 - 16
PAT-Attempts: 18 of 19 (95%)
On-side kicks: 0-0
Red Zone Scores: 28 of 31 (90%)
Red Zone Touchdowns: 17 of 31 (55%)
Punts - Yards: 71 - 2565 - Avg per punt: 36

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