Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Game #6 - at #12 Mercer Bears

For the 2022 season's sixth game, the Catamounts return to the road and travel to face a nationally ranked team. After facing nationally ranked Samford just two short weeks ago, the Cats will travel to Macon, GA to face the #12 nationally ranked Mercer Bears.

The Bears finished the 2021 season in second place and were picked to finish the 2022 season in third place by the coaches in preseason voting.  

Game #6 - The Mercer Bears

When: Saturday, October 8, 2021
Time:  4:00 pm
Where: 5 Star Stadium, Macon, GA
Radio: Catamount Sports Network
   -Play-by-Play:  Gary Ayers • Daniel Hooker  Producer: Jeff Bryson
   -Play-by-Play: Frank Malloy (PxP), Phil Cox (Color), Megan Birdsong (Sideline)
Live StatsMercer Live Stats
Game Notes:  Western Carolina    -     Mercer      -    SoCon Weekly Notes
Fan Message BoardMU Bear Down

The Series: In only the 9th meeting between the two teams, the Cats own a 2-6 overall record against the Bears, having dropped the last six (6) games played in the series. The Cats are 1-3 against the Bears in games played in Macon.  

Last Season's Game vs. Mercer (October. 9, 2021) - Benjamin Scores Twice, Comeback Falls Short on Homecoming - Western Carolina rallied from a two-touchdown, first-half deficit on Saturday afternoon, clawing back even early in the fourth quarter on a Richard McCollum field goal. However, Mercer capitalized on a pair of fourth-quarter miscues by the Catamounts to spoil WCU's annual Homecoming game with a 34-24 victory in Southern Conference action in front of 11,123 at E.J. Whitmire Stadium / Bob Waters Field.

Last Season's Record (2021 Mercer): 7-3 overall, 4-1 home, 3-2 away, 6-2 SoCon
This Season's Record (2022 Mercer): 4-1 overall, 2-0 home, 2-1 away, 2-0 SoCon 

Head Coach: Drew Cronic was named the 20th head football coach in Mercer University history on December 10, 2019. He spent the previous two seasons as the head coach at Division II Lenoir-Rhyne University in Hickory, N.C. A native of Sharpsburg, Ga., Cronic is considered one of the more innovative offensive minds across all levels of college football.

Cronic's Collegiate Record: 59-15 
Cronic's Mercer Record:  16 - 10 

Kerwin Bell's record vs. Mercer:  0 - 1
Drew Cronic's record vs. WCU:  2 - 0

Mercer Offensive Formation:  Multiple (Spread Wing)
Defensive Formation:  Multiple
Mercer Starters Returning/Lost :
Offense:  8  /  3
Defense: 7  /  4
Total:  15  /  7

Mercer was picked third in the preseason coaches poll and tied for second in the preseason media poll after going 7-3 overall and 6-2 in the SoCon last season, finishing a game back of ETSU. The Bears return eight starters on the offensive side of the ball, seven on defense, and three on special teams and have seen punt returner Devron Harper and defensive back Lance Wise earn preseason All-America honors.

While the Bears enter the game nationally ranked at #13, the Bears have lost only one game, to FBS opponent Auburn, 16-42.  However, is the crew from Macon overrated?  Let's take a look... While  Mercer has victories over 4 FCS teams, including two conference wins, they did win all 4 games in convincing style.  However, the Bears have yet to win a game over any team with a winning record.  

Mercer convincingly beat Morehead State 63-13 in Macon to open the season (Morehead State is currently 2-3 on the season).  The Bears then took care of SoCon member, The Citadel, 17-0 (the Bulldogs are currently 1-3 overall), next Mercer traveled to Boiling Springs and took care of Gardner-Webb, 45-14 (the Running Bulldogs are currently 1-4, with a lone win over D2 Limestone). Lastly, the Bears traveled to Sparkle City and easily handled the Terriers, 42-7 (as you know, Wofford is currently winless this season standing at 0-5).   So, in my opinion, it's the Bears that have something to prove, in facing their first team with a winning record.   While the below stats look impressive, just remember, they were made against teams that will probably end the reason with very poor overall records.  

The Cats have an opportunity in the next two weeks to gain some serious respect not only in the SoCon but in the entire FCS as well.  Let's hope they don't blow it.

2022 Mercer Statistics (5 games):
Rushing Offense: 1059 yards
Yards per game: 193.8
Yards per rush: 5.48 yards
Rushing 1st downs: 43
TDs rushing: 9
Passing Offense: 1204 yards or 240,8 yards per game
Avg. per pass: 9.3 yards
Passing 1st downs: 55
Passing: Comp-Att-Int: 129-85-0
TDs Passing: 14
Total Offense: 2178 yards or 435.6 yards per game
Fumbles-Lost: 12-6
3d Down Conversions: 30 of 63 (47.6%)
4th Down Conversions: 5 of 6 (83%)
Field goal attempts: 3 of 4
On-side kicks: 0-0
Red Zone Scores: 14 of 16  
Red Zone Touchdowns: 11 of 16  
PAT:  24 of 25 
Touchdowns scored:  25

Monday, October 3, 2022

2022 SoCon Football Power Rankings - (after week #5)

Welcome to Purple & Gold's 2022 SoCon Football Power Rankings after week #5 of play.

Each Monday throughout the season, we'll release that week's Power Rankings.

As we approach midway in the season, here are this week's power rankings.  After 5 weeks of play, here's how we see it shaping up.  (last week's ranking in parenthesis):

1. (2) Mercer (4-1, 2-0 SoCon)
Next:  Western Carolina

2. (1) Chattanooga  (4-1, 2-0 SoCon)
Next: Bye week  

3. (3) Samford (4-1, 2-0 SoCon)
Next: Wofford

4. (5) Western Carolina  (3-2, 1-1 SoCon)
Next:  at Mercer

5. (4) Furman (3-2, 1-1 SoCon)
Next: at The Citadel

6. (6) The Citadel  (1-3, 1-1 SoCon)
Next:  Furman

7. (7) VMI (1-3, 0-1 SoCon)
Next:  ETSU

8. (8) ETSU  (2-3, 0-3 SoCon)
Next: at VMI

9. (9) Wofford  (0-5, 0-2 SoCon)
Next: at Samford


Saturday, October 1, 2022

WCU Player of the Game (VMI)

Purple & Gold's "Catamount Player of the Game" for the VMI game is junior quarterback  Carlos Davis

Today's player of the game against the Virginia Military Institute is junior quarterback Carlos Davis. Davis threw four touchdown passes to four different receivers and was 30-of-44 passing for 336 yards with two interceptions.  Davis added 13 yards on the ground.  

Davis connected with nine different receivers with Raphael Williams finishing with a team-best 103 yards on six catches, Jalynn Williams caught a career-best 10 passes for 94 yards to lead WCU. 

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Game #5 - VMI Keydets

For the 2022 season's fifth game, the Catamounts return home to face the Virginia Military Institute Keydets in EJ Whitmire Stadium.

The Bulldogs finished the 2021 season tied with Furman and Western Carolina in fourth place with a 4-4 conference record. The Keydets were picked to finish seventh in the 2022 coaches poll. WCU will be wearing a special logo emblem on the back of its football helmets to celebrate the relationship with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) .

Game #5 - VMI Keydets

When: Saturday, October 1, 2022
Time: 3:30 pm EST
Where: E.J. Whitmire Stadium / Bob Waters Field
Radio: Catamount Sports Network
   -Play-by-Play:  Gary Ayers • Daniel Hooker  Producer: Jeff Bryson
TV/video: ESPN3
  -Play-by-Play:  Kevin Gehl  •  John Mount Shoop 
Live StatsWCU Live Stats
Fan Message BoardKeydet Sportstalk
Game Notes:    Western Carolina    -     VMI      -    SoCon Notes

The Series: Western currently leads the series with VMI, by a 24-4 margin. The Cats and Keydets first played on the gridiron in 1978, and the Cats owned a sixteen-game winning streak over the Keydets until this spring of 2021 when the Keydets broke that streak on road to a SoCon Championship.  The Cats do hold a 13-1 record of games played in Cullowhee and are 7-1 over VMI since their return to the Southern Conference.  

The last game played vs. VMI November 20, 2021 -  Lexington, Va.  - Catamounts Cap 2021 Season with Road Win at VMI, 52-24 Senior quarterback Rogan Wells threw for 399 yards and four touchdowns spread to four different receivers, including a three-yard pass to classmate Daquan Patten who added a 78-yard punt return for a score as Western Carolina closed the 2021 season with an emphatic 52-24 road win over the defending Southern Conference champion VMI Keydets on Saturday afternoon at Foster Stadium.

Head Coach: Scott WachenheimEntering his eighth season as VMI’s head football coach, Scott Wachenheim has taken VMI Football back to championship level play and guided the program toward football prominence on the FCS level. In the spring football season of 2021, Wachenheim led the Keydets to a 6-2 season mark and the Southern Conference football championship after going 6-1 in league play – securing the Institute’s first title since 1977 and first outright league championship since 1974.

Scott Wachenheim's record vs. Western Carolina:  1 - 6
Kerwin Bell's record vs. VMI:  1 - 0   (Western Carolina head football coach KERWIN BELL is closing in on the century mark for career victories, entering this weekend at 99-51)

Last Season's Record 2021 (VMI):   6-5 overall, 4-1 home, 2-4 away,  4-4 SoCon
This Season's Record  2022 (VMI):   1-2 overall,  1-1 home, 0-1 away, 0-0 SoCon

Offensive Formation: Air Raid
Defensive Formation: 3-4
Starters returning/lost:    17   /   9
Offensive starters - Returning/Lost:  6   /  5
Defensive starters - Returning/Lost:   7   /   4
Specialist - Returning/Lost:    3    /    0
Letterwinners Returning:  80  /  27

VMI was picked to finish seventh in the 2022 Coaches' preseason poll, and the Keydets had a total of 10 players to receive preseason honors. Stone Snyder, a two-time All-American and SoCon Defensive Player of the Year at linebacker continued to rack up the accolades with first-team defensive honors.  The Keydets dominated the specialists' categories, as Jerry Rice (K), Jack Culbreath (P), and Robert Soderholm (LS) garnered first-team recognition.

Over the past two seasons, the Keydets have recorded a combined 12-7 record, and are 10-6 against SoCon competition during that period. The back-to-back winning seasons for VMI in 2020 and 2021 is the first time since the 1961 and ’62 era.

The Keydets bring a 1-2 record into the weekend after opening the season with a 44-10 at FBS foe Wake Forest before a 24-14 win at home against Bucknell. Prior to their bye week, the Keydets dropped a home game to Cornell by a final score of 22-28.  Quarterback Seth Morgan, who was hurt early in the 2021 season against the Big Red, has tossed for 3,786 yards and 25 scores while rushing for eight more in 21 career games.  All-conference tight end Chance Knox has a team-high 12 receptions for 90 yards, with Hunter Rice (131 yards, touchdown) and Rashad Raymond (108 yards, touchdown) leading the rushing attack.

On the defensive side of the ball, first-team all-league selection Stone Snyder, an All-American and two-time SoCon Defensive Player of the Year, has posted 247 career tackles - including 17 in two contests this season.   

The Keydets are averaging 18.7 points per game, placing them in 7th place in the conference for scoring offense. 

2022 VMI Statistics  (3 games)
Rushing Offense: 259 yards
Yards per game: 86.3
Yards per rush: 2.6 yards
Rushing 1st downs: 17
TDs rushing: 4
Passing Offense: 645 yards or 215 yards per game
Avg. per pass: 6.6 yards
Passing 1st downs: 26
Passing Comp-Att-Int: 58-97-3
TDs Passing: 3
Total Offense: 904 yards or 301.3 yards per game
Fumbles-Lost: 5 - 4
3d Down Conversions: 13 of 44 (30%)
4th Down Conversions: 2 of 6 (30%)
Field goal attempts 2 - 3
PAT-Attempts: 6 of 7
On-side kicks: 1 - 1
Red Zone Scores: 5 of 6  (83%)
Red Zone Touchdowns: 5 of 6 (83%)
Punts - Yards: 19 - 740 - Avg per punt: 38.0

Western Carolina Athletics will honor football student-athlete alum Brad Hoover and the No. 41 that he wore during his standout four-year Catamount career. The special recognition is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022.

As a part of the special ceremony, Hoover's number 41 will be enshrined alongside three additional honored numbers from WCU's football past and displayed at Bob Waters Field / E.J. Whitmire Stadium. Hoover's No. 41 will join the No. 54 of Art Byrd (1946-49), the No. 23 of Jerry Gaines (1970-75), and the No. 14 of four-time All-Southern Conference selection kicker Kirk Roach (1984-87).

Monday, September 26, 2022

2022 SoCon Football Power Rankings - (after week #4)

Welcome to Purple & Gold's 2022 SoCon Football Power Rankings after week #4 of play.

Each Monday throughout the season, we'll release that week's Power Rankings.

We know it's early in the season, but, here are this week's power rankings.  After 4 weeks of  play, here's how we see it shaping up....  (last week's ranking in parenthesis):

1. (1) Chattanooga  (3-1, 1-0 SoCon)
Next: at ETSU

2. (2) Mercer (3-1, 1-0 SoCon)
Next:  at Wofford

3. (5) Samford (3-1, 1-0 SoCon)
Next: at Furman

4. (4) Furman (1-1, 1-0 SoCon)
Next: Samford

5. (3) Western Carolina  (2-2, 0-1 SoCon)
Next:  VMI

6. (7) The Citadel  (1-2, 1-1 SoCon)
Next:  at Appy State

7. (6) VMI (1-2, 0-0 SoCon)
Next:  at Western Carolina

8. (8) ETSU  (2-2, 0-2 SoCon)
Next: Chattanooga

9. (9) Wofford  (0-4, 0-1 SoCon)
Next:  Mercer


Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Game #4 - Samford Bulldogs

For the 2022 season's fourth game, the Catamounts open conference play on the road, as they travel to Homewood, AL to face the Samford Bulldogs. 

The Bulldogs finished the 2021 season in seventh place and were picked sixth in the SoCon coaches poll for 2022.  

Game #4 - Samford Bulldogs

When: Saturday, September 24, 2021
Time: 3:00 pm (ET)
Where: Seibert Stadium, Birmingham, AL
Radio: Catamount Sports Network
   -Play-by-Play Gary Ayers • Color Daniel Hooker • Producer: Jeff Bryson
TV/video:  ESPN+
Live Stats: Samford Live Stats
   -Play-by-Play Curt Bloom • Color Damian Mitchell  •  Sideline Blake Gardner
Game Notes:  Western Carolina   -   Samford    -   SoCon Notes
Bulldog Message Board: The Dog Pound 

The Series: The Cats are 3-16 overall against the Bulldogs since winning the first outing back in 1969. Samford owned an eleven-game winning streak against Western until 2015 when the Cats broke that streak in Cullowhee with a 56-36 win over the Dogs. The Cats have not won in Homewood since the Bulldogs joined the SoCon.

Last game played vs. Samford: Sep. 18, 2021 - Samford Escapes Cullowhee in SoCon-Opener at WCU, 42-37 - Trailing 21-3 early in the second quarter, Western Carolina stormed back with 28-straight points to seize a 10-point, 31-21, lead late in the third stanza in Saturday's Family Weekend matchup with Samford. However, the Bulldogs rallied with three-consecutive scores in building an 11-point edge and then held off a late Catamount comeback attempt to escape E.J. Whitmire Stadium / Bob Waters Field with a 42-37 win in the first Southern Conference game of the season.

Chris Hatcher's record vs. Western Carolina: 8-2
Kerwin Bell's record vs. Samford: 0-1

Head Coach: Chris Hatcher. Chris Hatcher was named Samford’s 36th head football coach on Dec. 11, 2014. Entering his eighth season at Samford in 2022, Hatcher boasts a career record of 161-93 in 22 years as a college head coach, having previously coached at Murray State, Georgia Southern, and Valdosta State. 

Hatcher's Record at Samford (Years): 40-36 (8th season)
Career Record (Years): 161-93 (23rd season)

Last Season's Record - 2020-21 (Samford): 4-7 overall, 2-3 home, 2-4 away, 3-5 SoCon
This Season's Record - 2022 (Samford):  2-1 overall, 1-0 home, 1-1 away, 0-0 SoCon

Offensive Formation: Multiple
Defensive Formation: 4-3
Letterwinners Returning/Lost: 48/28
Offensive Starters Returning/Lost: 8/3
Defensive Starters Returning/Lost: 7/4
Special Teams Starters Returning/Lost: 2/3

Three members of the Samford football team were named to the 2022 Preseason All-Southern Conference teams. Nathan East was named to the first team at linebacker, while offensive lineman Gavin Orr and punter Bradley Porcellato were selected to the second team. In the SoCon preseason polls, the Bulldogs were selected to finish in 5th place by the coaches, and in seventh place by the media.

Since the departure of Liam Welch, juco transfer Michael Hiers seems to have nailed down the starting QB position.  Currently, Hatcher's Air Raid comes in at sixth place in the conference standings, scoring an average of 20 points per game. 

The Bulldogs were the worst defense in the FCS last fall, completing the 2021 campaign ranked 123rd out of 123 FCS teams ranked in total defense, surrendering a whopping 505.4 YPG last season.  This year through 3 games, the Bulldogs remain in last place in the conference standings, giving up an average of 422 ypg.  

Currently, the Bulldogs have wins over Kennesaw State (ASun), and  Tenn Tech (OVC), while losing to  (then #2) Georgia. 

After last year's disappointing season, with Hatcher on the hot seat, he shuffled his staff and added seven assistant coaches, Chris Boone (Defensive Coordinator/Safeties), Brandon Cooper (Linebackers), Mike Krysl (Special Teams Coordinator/Tight Ends), Terrance Malone (Outside Linebackers), Darien Moody (Defensive Line), Lewis Freeman (Director of Football Operations) and Connor Koch (Director of Player Personnel) joined the full-time staff. Holdover, Ricky Turner was promoted to assistant head coach/offensive coordinator, and Shawn Bostick was elevated to associate head coach/offensive line.  I don't see enough improvement in the defense to accomplish what Hatcher needs to remain in Birmingham.  

2022 Samford Statistics (3 games)
Rushing Offense: 317 yards
Yards per game: 106
Yards per rush: 3.6 yards
Rushing 1st downs: 22
TDs rushing: 0
Passing Offense: 725 yards or 243 yards per game
Passing 1st downs: 145
Passing Att-Comp-Int: 480-318-15
TDs Passing: 28
Total Offense: 1042 yards or 347 yards per game
Fumbles-Lost: 6-4
3d Down Conversions: 15 of  41 (37%)
4th Down Conversions: 1 of 2 (50%)
Field goal attempts: 2 - 4
PAT-Attempts: 6 of 7
Red Zone Scores:  6 of 7
Red Zone Touchdowns: 4 of 7
On-Side Kicks: 0 - 0
Penalties-Yards: 13 - 111

Monday, September 19, 2022

2022 SoCon Football Power Rankings - (after week #3)

Welcome to Purple & Gold's 2022 SoCon Football Power Rankings after week #3 of play.

Each Monday throughout the season, we'll release that week's Power Rankings.

We know it's still early in the season, but, here are this week's power rankings.  After 3 weeks of  play, here's how we see it shaping up....  (last week's ranking in parenthesis):

1. (1) Chattanooga  (3-0, 1-0 SoCon)
Next: at Illinois

2. (2) Mercer (2-1, 1-0 SoCon)
Next:  at Gardner-Webb

3. (4) Western Carolina  (2-1, 0-0 SoCon)
Next:  at Samford

4. (7) Furman (2-1, 1-0 SoCon)
Next: at Charleston Southern

5. (3) Samford (2-1, 0-0 SoCon)
Next: Western Carolina

6. (5) VMI (1-2, 0-0 SoCon)
Next:  Bye

7. (6) The Citadel  (1-2, 1-1 SoCon)
Next:  Bye

8. (8) ETSU  (1-2, 0-2 SoCon)
Next: at Robert Morris

9. (9) Wofford  (0-3, 0-1 SoCon)
Next:  at Kennesaw State


Thursday, September 15, 2022

Game #3 - Presbyterian Blue Hose

For the 2022 season's third game, the Catamounts return to the friendly confines of EJ Whitmire Stadium for the first time this season to face the Presbyterian Blue Hose in a "White Out" game in Whitmire. 

The Blue Hose finished the 2021 season in eleventh place in the Pioneer Football league

Game #3 - Presbyterian Blue Hose

When: Saturday, September 17, 2022
Where: EJ Whitmire Stadium
Radio: Catamount Sports Network
  -Play-by-Play Gary Ayers • Producer: Jeff Bryson
TV/video: ESPN+
  -Play-by-Play Kyle Rush and John Mount Shoop 
Time: 3:30 pm
Live Stats: WCU Live Stats
Conference:  Pioneer Football League
Message BoardPresbyterian Blue Hose

Roster: WCU 2-Deep Roster -
Game Notes:   Western Carolina   -    Presbyterian 

The Series: The Cats own a 10-9 record over the Blue Hose, and have won 9 of the last ten meetings between the two teams.  

The Last Game:  Oct. 3, 2015 - Strong fourth quarter pushes Cats past PC  -   Sophomore tailback Detrez Newsome rushed for a career-high 189 yards and two touchdowns as Western Carolina pushed past Presbyterian, 33-21, in non-conference action on Saturday afternoon at a rain-soaked E.J. Whitmire Stadium / Bob Waters Field.

Head CoachSteve EnglehartEnglehart enters his first season as head coach of the Blue Hose. Englehart's hiring came after a national search conducted by the Parker Executive Search firm, working with a search committee including Presbyterian College faculty, staff, coaches, and members of the College's Board of Trustees. 

Steve Engleharts' Record at PC: 1-1  (the first season)
Steve Englehart's record vs. Kerwin Bell: 1-2
Kerwin Bell's record vs. Steve Englehart: 2-1

Last Season's Record - (PC 2021): 2-9 overall, 2-4 home, 0-5 away, 0-8 PFL

PC Offense - Returning/loss:  5 / 6
PC Defense- Returning/loss:  5 / 6
Special Teams - Returning/loss:  1 /  2

First-year head coach Steve Englehart will have his hands full this season directing the Pioneer Leagues' only conference winless team, the Blue Hose.  PC was also picked to finish 11th in the Pioneer Leagues coaches' preseason poll for 2022.  

With the 2021 PC quarterback starter (redshirt sophomore) Ren Hefley not on this season's roster, last season's backup (sophomore) Jake Davis will battle sophomore Warner Bush for the starting position. All three quarterbacks listed at the top of the Blue Hose pack are enacting their collegiate debut seasons, along with two defensive backs and one offensive lineman, wide receiver, edge rusher, and return specialist at the top of PC's depth chart. Redshirt-junior transfer QB Nate Hayden has gotten the start on both games prior to the trip to Cullowhee. 

The Blue Hose come to Cullowhee with a 1-1 record, losing to Austin Peay on the road (0-63), and beating NCCAA's  Virginia University of Lynchburg at home (21-13).  Coach Englehart and co. represent a sizable overhaul in the PC depth chart to begin the season, starting 13 underclassmen on both sides of the ball, including seven true freshmen.

"The Catamounts open the home portion of their schedule on Saturday, Sept. 17, hosting Presbyterian at Bob Waters Field / E.J. Whitmire Stadium in Cullowhee. The home opener includes a "White Out Whitmire," the 2022 Freshmen Run, WCU honoring its members of the Southern Conference's 100th Anniversary team, and the first performances of the "Pride of the Mountains" Marching Band. Fans are encouraged to wear their white WCU gear to the game as the Catamounts will match with their white Nike uniforms and will sport the vintage "The Cats" logo on their helmets. The first 5,000 fans through the gates will also receive a free "White Out" T-shirt. The Carolina Soul Band will be performing during tailgating just south of the Stadium Lot beginning at 1:30. The free concert is courtesy of Ingles." 

2022 Presbyterian Stats (2 games)      
Rushing Offense: 237 yards
Yards per game: 118.5
Yards per rush: 3.3 yards
Rushing 1st downs: 85
TDs rushing: 0
Passing Offense: 425 yards or 212.5 yards per game
Passing 1st downs: 18
Passing Att-Comp-Int: 61-34-2
TDs Passing: 3
Total Offense: 662 yards or 331 yards per game
Fumbles-Lost: 4 - 3
3d Down Conversions: 13 of 30 (43%)
4th Down Conversions: 1 of 4 (25%)
Field goal attempts 0 - 0
PAT-Attempts: 0-0
Red Zone Scores: 2 of 4
Red Zone Touchdowns: 2 of 4
On-Side Kicks: 9 of 48
Penalties-Yards: 13 - 131 - Avg. per gm 65
Punts-Yards: 11 - 254549 - Avg. per gm 22.6

Courtesy WCU Athletics Media Relations

Monday, September 12, 2022

2022 SoCon Football Power Rankings - (after week #2)

Welcome to Purple & Gold's 2022 SoCon Football Power Rankings after week #2 of play.

Each Monday throughout the season, we'll release that week's Power Rankings.

We know it's early in the season, but, here are this week's power rankings.  After 2 weeks of  play, here's how we see it shaping up....  (last week's ranking in parenthesis):

1. (1.) Chattanooga  (2-0, 1-0 SoCon)
Next: North Alabama

2. (2.) Mercer (1-1, 0-0 SoCon)
Next:  The Citadel 

3. (4.) Samford (1-1, 0-0 SoCon)
Next:  at Tennessee Tech

4. (5.) Western Carolina  (1-1, 0-0 SoCon)
Next:  Presbyterian

5. (7.) VMI (1-1, 0-0 SoCon)
Next:  Cornell

6. (8.) The Citadel  (1-1, 1-0 SoCon)
Next:  at Mercer

7. (6.) Furman (1-1, 0-0 SoCon)
Next: at ETSU

8. (3.) ETSU  (1-1, 0-1 SoCon)
Next: at Furman

9. (9.) Wofford  (0-2, 0-1 SoCon)
Next:  at Virginia Tech


Sunday, September 11, 2022

Never Forget 9-11-01

Remember and honor those lost 21 years ago in an attack that forever changed our country.  May we Never Forget


WCU Player of the Game (GT)

Purple & Gold's "Catamount Player of the Game" for the Georgia Tech game is  sophomore safety, Andreas Keaton

This week, we look to the defensive side of the ball for our player of the game, 
Andreas Keaton. 

Keaton led the Catamount defense effort with seven tackles including three solo stops with one for loss, adding a pass breakup. 

Thursday, September 8, 2022

Game #2 - Georgia Tech

For the 2022 season's second game, the Catamounts remain on the road and travel to Atlanta, Georgia to face the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, for the sixth time overall. 

The Yellow Jackets finished the 2021 season in sixth place in the Coastal Division of the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Game #2 - Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

When: Saturday, September 10, 2022
Time: 7:00 pm
Where: Bobby Dodd Stadium, Atlanta, GA
Radio: Catamount Sports Network
  -Play-by-Play  Gary Ayers    Color: Daniel Hooker    Producer: Jeff Bryson
TV/videoACC NetworkExtra / ESPN+
   -Play-by-Play - John Schriffen • Analyst - Rene Ingoglia • Sideline Reporter  - Jalyn Johnson
Live Stats: GT Live Stats
Conference:  Atlantic Coast Conference
Message BoardGT Swarm
Game NotesWestern Carolina  -  Georgia Tech   -   SoCon Notes

The Series: The Yellow Jackets have won all five previous meetings between the two teams, all played at Bobby Dodd Stadium.   

Head Coach
: Geoff Collins is in his fourth season at Georgia Tech. A metro-Atlanta native, Collins was named the 20th head coach in Georgia Tech football history on Dec. 7, 2018, after recording 15 wins in two seasons as head coach at Temple. Prior to becoming head coach at Temple, Collins was one of the nation’s most respected defensive coordinators, serving in the role at Florida, Mississippi State, FIU, and his alma mater, Western Carolina. He is the only coach to ever be nominated for the Broyles Award, given to college football’s top assistant coach, at three different schools.

Geoff Collins' Record at GT: 9-25 overall (3 seasons), and  24-35 overall

Geoff Collins' record vs. Western Carolina: 0-0
Kerwin Bell's record vs. Georgia Tech: 0-0

Last Season's Record - (GT 2021): 3-9 overall, 2-5 home, 1-4 away, 2-6 ACC

GT OFFENSE:  Spread Pro-Style
GT DEFENSE:  4-2-5
GT Offense - Returning/loss:  6 / 5
GT Defense- Returning/loss:  4 / 7

Collins enters his fourth year with an unhappy fan base and pressure to show progress on the field. The Yellow Jackets have almost as many personnel questions now as they did when Collins got the job (due to turnover in the coaching staff and players) and he is banking on the new assistants to make an immediate impact.

A total of 17 transfers joined Georgia Tech football this offseason, with the group of incoming transfers ranked No. 4 in the Atlantic Conference and No. 20 nationally in 247Sports 2022 transfer rankings.

On defense, the unit lost eight of its top 11 tacklers either to graduation or transfer and needs several players who gained experience last season to step up, particularly in the secondary and the pass-rushing positions.

The Yellow Jackets were a big underdog in its 2022 season opener against No. 4 Clemson, however, Tech gave the Tigers all they could handle for two-and-a-half quarters before falling, 41-10, in Monday night’s Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. 

Tech (0-1, 0-1 ACC) trailed just 14-10 midway through the third quarter, then Clemson scored on five of its final six possessions to hand GT a loss that wasn’t quite as lopsided as the final score would make it appear. After a slow start, the Yellow Jackets’ offense hit its stride and racked up 146 yards over three series spanning the end of the first half and the beginning of the second, capped by a nine-play, 57-yard drive that culminated with a 13-yard touchdown pass from Jeff Sims to E.J. Jenkins that made it 14-10 with 9:47 to go in the third quarter. 

Georgia Tech So. QB Jeff Sims completed 23-of-36 passes for 164 yards and one touchdown. He also ran 13 times for 41 yards.  Georgia Tech linebacker Charlie Thomas was disqualified for targeting in the Clemson game and will sit out the first half of the WCU game.

2022 Georgia Tech (1 game)
Rushing Offense: 101 yards
Yards per game: 1019
Yards per rush: 2.4 yards
Rushing 1st downs: 5
TDs rushing: 0
Passing Offense: 164 yards or 164 yards per game
Passing 1st downs: 8
Passing Att-Comp-Int: 23-36-1
TDs Passing: 1
Total Offense: 237 yards or 237 yards per game
Fumbles-Lost: 2 - 0
3d Down Conversions: 2 of 16 (13%)
4th Down Conversions: 2 of  3 (66%)
Field goal attempts:  1 - 2
PAT-Attempts: 1 of  1
Red Zone Scores: 1 of  1
Red Zone Touchdowns: 1 of  1
On-Side Kicks: 0 - 0
Penalties-Yards: 10 - 86 - Avg. per gm 86
Punts-Yards: 2 - 284 - Avg. per gm 35
Sacks: 3 for 19 yards