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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