Friday, July 10, 2015

2015 Football Preseason Preview: Presbyterian

Throughout this preseason, Purple & Gold will preview all of Western's 2015 football opponents. Today we look at the Presbyterian Blue Hose.

For the fourth game of the season, the Catamounts return to Cullowhee for what is hopefully a little payback versus Presbyterian for the 19-14 upset victory in Clinton last season. This is also WCU Family Weekend in Cullowhee.

On the strength of last season's upset, the Cats and Blue Hose are now tied in the overall series at 9-9.  The Blue Hose last defeated the Catamounts in Cullowhee in 1969 when they downed the Cats by a score of 28-17, which was the only blemish on new head football coach Bob Waters' first season at the helm in Cullowhee. The Cats finished the '69 season with a 9-1 record.


When: Saturday, October 3d at  3:30 pm

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

Radio: Catamount Sports Network

TV / video: SoCon Digital Network

Head Coach:  Harold Nichols -
Nichols completed his sixth season at the helm of the Blue Hose in 2014, ending the season as the Big South Conference Co-Coach of the Year. A 1989 alumnus of Presbyterian, Nichols came back to the Blue Hose on January 14, 2009, from Bucknell. Last season, Nichols led PC to a 6-5 record, the program’s first winning season since 2007 and its first-ever in the Big South. He guided the Blue Hose to ranked wins over No. 12 Furman and No. 22 Charleston Southern and the team's two road wins stand as the most since three in 2007.

Last year’s record: 6-5 overall, 3-2 in the Big South Conference  

Last Season's Game vs. PC (Oct. 4, 2014) 
: Turnovers Costly in WCU's 19-14 Road Loss at Presbyterian  "Presbyterian bookended its scores with two interception returns for touchdowns - the second coming inside the game's final two minutes - as the Blue Hose handed Western Carolina a heart-breaking 19-14 road loss in nonconference action on Saturday afternoon at Bailey Memorial Stadium."

Offensive starters - Returning/Lost:  7 / 4  -  On offense, the Hose lost center Dillon Salmans, tight end Kris Hurley, wide receiver Tobi Antigha,  and running back Demarcus Rouse to graduation.

Defensive starters - Returning/Lost:  9 / 2  -  On defense, the Hose lost the following starters: linebacker Isaiah Lynn, and defensive back Cory White

Specialist - Returning/Lost:  4 / 2  -  The Hose long snapper Cannon Jordan, kick returner Jeremiah McKie, punt returner Jeremiah McKie were lost to graduation

Offensive Formation:   Spread

Defensive Formation:  4-3

Presbyterian's 6-5 record in 2014 was their first winning season since 2007 and the first-ever in the Big South. Against FCS competition, PC finished with a 5-2 record and its only two losses came to FCS playoff teams Coastal Carolina and Liberty. Against FCS competition, PC allowed only 15.9 points per game and 310.0 total offense yards per game. The Blur Hose earned seven Big South Conference postseason honors with HC Harold Nichols leading the group as Co-Coach of the Year, Redshirt junior linebacker Donelle Williams and junior defensive back Ed Britt earned 1st team honors while senior wide receiver Tobi Antigha, senior offensive lineman Devinn Ritter and redshirt senior long snapper Cannon Jordan received 2d team accolades.

2014 Presbyterian Statistics:
Rushing Offense: 1915 yards
Yards per rush: 4.2 yards
TDs rushing: 14
Passing Offense: 1506 yards or 136.9 yards per game
Passing Comp-Att-Int: 148-256-11
Total Offense: 3421 yards or 311 yards
Fumbles-Lost: 17 - 11
Penalties-Yards: 58 - 534 yards
3d Down Conversions: 47 of 145 or 39%
4th Down Conversions: 7 of 18 or 58%
Field Goals - Attempts: 3 of  6
Red-Zone Scores: 17 of 22 (77%)
Red-Zone Touchdowns: 14 of 22 (64%)
Punts (No. Yards): 80 (3378 yds)
Avg, per punt: 42.2 yds

Who does the Blue Hose play prior to Western? The Blue Hose open their season with a couple of road games against two (somewhat) BCS teams, Miami (Ohio) and Charlotte.  PC then returns to Clinton for a couple of weekends, playing non-scholarship Campbell, then the SoCon;'s Chattanooga pays a visit to Bailey Stadium, just prior to PC's visit to Cullowhee.

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