Monday, September 30, 2019

2019 SoCon Football Power Rankings - Week #5

Welcome to Purple & Gold's 2019 SoCon Football Power Rankings.  This week's rankings are after five (5) weeks of play.

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

1. (1)  Furman (2-2,  2-0 SoCon)
Next: at Samford

2. (3) Samford (2-2, 2-0 SoCon)
Next:  Furman

3. (2) The Citadel (2-3, 0-1 SoCon)
Next:  VMI

4. (5)  Wofford (2-2, 1-1 SoCon)

Next:  at ETSU

5. (8)  Chattanooga (2-3, 1-0 SoCon)
Next:  at Mercer

6. (4) ETSU (2-3, 0-2 SoCon)
Next: aWofford

7. (6)  Mercer (2-3, 1-1 SoCon)
Next:  Chattanooga

8. (7)  VMI (2-3, 1-1 SoCon)
Next:  at The Citadel

9. (9)  Western Carolina (1-3, 0-2 SoCon)
Next: Gardner-Webb

Watch for Friday's SoCon picks.......


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Friday, September 27, 2019

This week's Purple & Gold football picks (9-28-19)

It's week #5 in the SoCon, and time to pick Saturday's games.

Five games this Saturday, four are conference games, with only Mercer going out-of-conference to play Campbell.

This week's fearless game predictions.....

-ETSU (2-2, 0-1 SoCon) at Furman (2-2, 1-0 SoCon)  at 1:00 pm - watch on Nexstar/ESPN+
In the SoCon Game of the Week, the Bucs come down the mountain to Travelers Rest, SC to meet the league-leading Paladins. Furman rolls at home with a 38-13 win over the Mountain Pirates.

-Wofford (1-2, 0-1 SoCon) at VMI  (2-2, 1-0 SoCon)  at 1:00  pm - watch on ESPN+
Terriers travel to Lexington in an unusual circumstance.  The Terriers are 0-1 going into the game, while VMI is 1-0 in conference play. Unfortunately for the Keydets, the current Terrier coaching staff is postponing any changes in the offensive playbook until sometime next century.  Terriers win, 35-17.

-The Citadel (2-2, 0-0) at Samford (2-2, 1-0)   at 3:00 pm  -  watch on ESPN+
The coastal Bulldogs visit Homewood on Saturday to play the Samford Bulldogs who are riding a two-game win streak. The coastal dogs are on their own 2 game streak and put up a fierce dog fight, but the home team comes out on top, winning 38-35.

-Western Carolina (1-2, 0-1) at Chattanooga (1-3, 0-0)  at 4:00 pm -  watch on ESPN+
The Cats travel to Chattanooga to face the Mocs in what is a pivotal game for both teams. The Catamount defense finally shows up, giving the Cats a close road win, 38-35.

-Campbell (2-1) at Mercer (2-2)  at 7:00 pm - watch on ESPN3
After two straight losses, the Bears welcome the Camels to Macon, hoping to end their two-game win streak. After two impressive wins to open the season, the Bears dropped their last two games, but get back on track with a 7 point win over Campbell, 28-21.


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Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Game Week #4 - UT Chattanooga

In the Catamounts' fourth game of the 2019 season, the Cats re-enter SoCon action when they travel to Chattanooga, TN to play the Univerity of Tennessee Chattanooga Mocs

Western faces the Mocs for the 46th time on the gridiron, first playing in 1973.

Game #4 - UT Chattanooga Mocs

When: Saturday, September 28th at 4:00 pm
Where: Finley Stadium, Chattanooga, TN
Radio: Catamount Sports Network
-Radio announcers: Gary Ayers (PBP), Danial Hooker (Color), Greg McLamb (sideline)
Records:  WCU: 1-2, 0-1 SoCon;   UTC :  1-2, 0-0 SoCon
TV/video: ESPN+
-TV/Video announcers: Chris Goforth (pxp) and Scott McMahen (analyst)
Game Notes:  WCU   -     UTC      -    SoCon Notes
Message Board:  Chattanooga Moc Nation Message Board
The Series: In the 46th meeting between the two teams, the Cats own a 17-28 record against the Mocs.  The last time the Cats made a visit to the city of Chattanooga, they came away with a 45-7 win.

The Mocs current record: 1-3 overall, 1-1 home,  0-2 away, 0-0 SoCon.

Last Game vs. Chattanooga (October 13, 2018) - Catamount Football dropped by Chattanooga 26-6. Cullowhee, N.C. – Western Carolina’s potent offensive attack was held in check by Chattanooga’s stingy defense on Saturday afternoon as the Catamounts were never able to find a rhythm in dropping their first home game of the year at E.J. Whitmire Stadium / Bob Waters Field, 26-6, to the Mocs in Southern Conference action.

Last Season's Record (2018 - UTC): 6-5 overall, 3-2 home, 3-3 away, 4-4 SoCon  (wins over Tenn. Tech, the Citadel, UT Martin, WCU, VMI) - While the Mocs started the season strong in 2018 with 4 straight wins, the Mocs closed out the season losing 5 of their last 7 games including 3 straight losses to end the season.

Head CoachRusty Wright is in his first year as head coach of the Mocs football program. He was officially introduced on Friday, Dec. 21, 2018. A 22-year veteran of the collegiate coaching ranks, Wright is a 1996 graduate of UTC with a degree in Sports Administration. He was a four-year letter winner for the Mocs football team and had two stints as an assistant coach at UTC. “I am extremely excited to announce Rusty Wright as the next head coach of Chattanooga Football,” stated UTC Director of Athletics Mark Wharton. “Once again, our program, University and community attracted an outstanding candidate pool.”

Games played by the Mocs before the WCU contest: 4 games -  UTC opened the season with a promising win over Eastern Illinois, 24-10.  Followed by 3 straight losses. The Mocs traveled to Jacksonville State and came home with a 21-41 loss. Up next was Tennessee, as the Mocs remained on the road, but run into a buzzsaw, losing 45-0.  #2 James Madison then traveled to Finley Stadium and came away with a 37-14 win over the Mocs.

Offensive Formation: Multiple
-2018 Offense: 21.5 ppg. (98th in FCS)
Defensive Formation: Multiple
- 2018 Defense: 21.0 ppg. (14th in FCS)
Starters Returning/Lost: 17  /
Offensive starters - Returning/Lost: 9 /  2
Defensive starters - Returning/Lost: 6 / 5
Special Teams - Returning/Lost: 2 / 3

The Mocs overall strength of schedule is rated as the second most difficult in the FCS and the Mocs were picked to finish fourth by the coaches and fifth by the media in the SoCon standings. Chattanooga placed six individuals on the 2019 Preseason Southern Conference Football Team. Junior receiver Bryce Nunnelly, senior linebacker Marshall Cooper, and junior defensive backs Brandon Dowdell and Jerrell Lawson made the first-team defense. Senior running back Tyrell Price and junior OL Cole Strange were both second-team offense selections.

The Mocs returned 17 starters from the 2018 season (9 on offense), but brand new head coach Rusty Wright is the 3d head coach in Chattanooga in the last 4 seasons. A new HC, combined with an entirely new staff (new offensive coordinator, defensive coordinator, new defensive line coach, new safeties coach, new tight end coach, new offensive line coach, new receivers coach, new running backs coach, new special teams coordinator, and linebacker coaches) could cause problems for both the defensive and offensive units. Chattanooga opened the season with a victory at home over Eastern Illinois, 24-10, then dropped two in a row, first to Jacksonville State then to Tennessee. Up next was James Madison

The good news for the Mocs on offense is all five starting linemen and a tight end are back, as is both starting RB Tyrell Price and quarterback Nick Tiano. Taiano is considered one of the top signal-callers returning in the SoCon. The Mocs offensive unit scored 21.5 ppg (9th in the SoCon & 98th in FCS), so lots of improvement is needed in offensive production, especially, the rushing yardage. The Mocs only produced 98 yards per game in 2018.

On defense, senior linebacker Marshall Cooper is the anchored, leading the team in tackles last season with 98, good enough to land him on the Southern Conference All-Second Team. The Mocs’ secondary returns experience in junior defensive backs Brandon Dowdell and Jerrell Lawson. In 2018, Dowdell three interceptions and 40 tackles while tallied 53 tackles, 4.5 of which were for a loss.

2019 Mocs Statistics (4 games) :
Rushing Offense: 485 yards on 144 attempts
Yards per game: 121.2
Yards per rush: 3.4 yards
Rushing 1st downs: 24
TDs rushing: 5
Passing Offense: 640 yards or 169 yards per game
Avg. per pass: 6 yards
Passing 1st downs: 28
Passing Comp-Att-Int: 52-107-7
TDs Passing: 2
Total Offense: 1125 yards or 281.2 yards per game
Fumbles-Lost: 3 - 2
3d Down Conversions: 24 - 61
4th Down Conversions: 2 - 7
Field goal attempts: 3 - 4
On-side kicks: 0-0
Red Zone Scores: 9 of 14
Red Zone Touchdowns: 6 - 14
PAT:   7 - 7

Game prediction: Per the Massey Ratings, the Cats have only a 21% probability of winning (19-31) over the Mocs.
The Mocs are on a three-game losing streak but against very tough competition.  Chattanooga opens SoCom play with a win over the Cats, 35 - 21.  Western is now 1-4 overall, 0-2 SoCon.  

2 Deep vs. Chattanooga

Monday, September 23, 2019

2019 SoCon Football Power Rankings - Week #4

Welcome to Purple & Gold's 2019 SoCon Football Power Rankings.  This week's rankings are after four (4) weeks of play.

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

1. (2)  Furman (2-2,  1-0 SoCon)
Next: ETSU

2, (1) The Citadel (2-2, 0-0 SoCon)
Next:  at Samford

3. (6) Samford (2-2, 1-0 SoCon)
Next:  The Citadel

4. (5) ETSU (2-2, 0-1 SoCon)
Next:  at Furman

5. (7)  Wofford (1-2, 0-1 SoCon)

Next:  at VMI

6. (4)  Mercer (2-2, 1-1 SoCon)
Next:  Campbell

7. (3)  VMI (2-2, 1-0 SoCon)
Next:  Wofford

8. (8)  Chattanooga (1-3, 0-0 SoCon)
Next:  Western Carolina

9. (9)  Western Carolina (1-2, 0-1 SoCon)
Next: at Western Carolina

Watch for Friday's SoCon picks.......


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Friday, September 20, 2019

This week's Purple & Gold football picks (9-21-19)

It's week #4 in the SoCon, and time to pick Saturday's games.

Only one conference game this week.

This week's fearless game predictions.....

-Mercer at Furman  at 1;00 pm - watch one ESPN+ 
The Bears travel to Paladin Stadium for the annual Lamb bowl. This year, the old Lamb team is just too much for the new Lamb team, as the Paladins win, 35-24.

Robert Morris at VMI  at 4:00 pm  - watch on ESPN+
The Colonials travel to Lexington meet the new Keydets.  VMI is looking for their 3d win of the season and gets it Saturday against RMU. Final score,  49-21 Keydets

James Madison at Chattanooga   at 4:00 pm - watch on ESPN+
The Dukes travel to Finley to meet the Mocs in a CAA vs. SoCon match-up.  JMU proves to be too much for Chattanooga, as the Dukes pull off a 28-10 win. 

Charleston Southern at The Citadel  at 6:00 pm  - watch on ESPN+
CSU travels across town to play the Bulldongs in what is becoming an annual event. However the tables are turned, and the Bulldgos now have the upper hand, and come away with a 38-14 victory over the winless Bucs.

Gardner-Webb at Wofford  at 6:00 pm - watch on ESPN+
The Runnin' Bulldogs are in Spartanburg to meet the winless Terriers, That should change as the former triple option teams sputters to 28-10 win.

Alabama A&M at Samford   at 7:00 pm - watch on ESPN3
The two Bulldog teams meet in Homewood to determine who is the Big Dog in Alabama.  This year, the Samford dogs take head billing as the pull out a 35-21 win over A&M.

Austin Peay at ETSU  at 7:30 pm - watch on ESPN+
The Governors travel to Johnson City to face the Bucs in what should be a close, competitive game. Unfortunately, the Bucs come up on the short side of a  21-28 score. 


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Monday, September 16, 2019

2019 SoCon Football Power Rankings - Week #3

Welcome to Purple & Gold's 2019 SoCon Football Power Rankings.

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

This week's rankings after three weeks of play:

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

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

3. VMI (2-1, 1-0 SoCon)
Next:  Robert Morris

4.  Mercer (2-1, 1-0 SoCon)
Next:  at Furman

5. ETSU (1-2, 0-1 SoCon)
Next:  Austin Peay

6. Samford (1-2, 1-0 SoCon)
Next:  Alabama A&M

7. Wofford (0-2, 0-1 SoCon)

Next:  Gardner-Webb

8. Chattanooga (1-2, 0-0 SoCon)
Next:  James Madison

9. Western Carolina (1-2, 0-1 SoCon)
Next: Bye

Watch for Friday's SoCon picks.......


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Friday, September 13, 2019

This week's Purple & Gold football picks (9-14-19)

It's week #3 in the SoCon, and time to pick Saturday's games.

Five of the seven games are out-of-conference, while two games are SoCo games, and it's good to be a home team this week.

This week's fearless game predictions.....

-Chattanooga (1-1, 0-0 SoCon) at Tennessee (0-2, 0-0 SEC) 12:00 noon - watch on SEC Network
The Mocs travel to Knoxville to meet a struggling Tennessee Volunteer team that is winless this season. While the Vols are winless, they do have SEC caliber athletes, that and a deep roster will ultimately result in a Tennessee win, 10-38.

-Furman (1-1, 0-0 SoCon) at Virginia Tech  (1-1, 0-0 ACC)   12:00 noon - watch on ACC Network
The Paladins travel to Blacksburg, VA to play Va Tech. Despite an anemic rushing game, Va Tech will wear down the Furman defense in their 21-42 win over the Paladins.

-The Citadel (0-2, 0-0 SoCon) at Georgia Tech (1-1, 0-0 ACC)  12:30 pm - watch on Fox Sports Southeast
TheCitadel travels to Atlanta for their third game of the season, confident in an upset of the Yellow Jackets that have transitioned out of the triple option. Despite the problems with the Jackets new offense, the Bulldogs are just outmanned and falter in the 2d half falling to the Jackets, 7-35.

-North Greenville (1-0) at Western Carolina (0-2, 0-1 SoCon) 3:30 pm - watch on ESPN+
The Division II Crusaders of North Greenville travels up the mountains to face the Catamounts for the first time, hoping to pull off a major upset in Cullowhee. The Western's starting QB on suspension, Will Jones will start in place of Tyrie Adams.  Unknown at this time is the status of the 3 other players suspended for the NC State game. The Cats overcome this adversity to pick up their first win in the last 10 tries, winning 35-17. 

-Samford (0-2, 0-0 SoCon) at Wofford (0-1, 0-0 SoCon)  6:00 pm - watch on Nexstar/ESPN3
In this week's Ingles SoCon Game of the Week, the Samford Bulldogs travel to Spartanburg, SC to face the Wofford Terriers in both teams opening conference game. In unusual circumstances, both teams are winless at this point in the season. Defending co-champion Wofford regroups, reorganizes and pulls out a squeaker but a 35-28 final score.

-Austin Peay (1-1, 0-0 (OVC) at Mercer (2-0, 1-0 SoCon)  7:00 pm - watch on ESPN+
The Governors travel to meet the Bears in Macon to open Mercer's home schedule. The red hot Bears fill their stadium to cheer on the home team in their 35-27 win.

-VMI (1-1, 0-0 SoCon) at ETSU (1-1, 0-0 SoCon)  7:30 pm - watch on ESPN+
In this week's second conference-opening series, the Keydets travel to Johnson City, TN to face the ETSU Bucs. The Keydets are primed to complete a conference upset, while the home-standing, defending co-champions battles to repeat as conference champion, holds on to win over the visitors by a 35-21 final score.

With 3 FBS games on the out-of-conference schedule this week, the SoCon will have another dismal 2-3 record in OOC play. 

In week #2 picks, our record was 7-0.


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Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Game Week 3 - North Greenville

In the Catamounts' third game of the 2019 season, the Cats return home to host the North Greenville University Crusaders in Cullowhee and Whitmire Stadium. 

Western faces the Crusaders for the first time on the gridiron.

Game #3 - North Greenville Crusaders

When: Saturday, September 14th at 3:30 pm
Where: E.J. Whitmire Stadium / Bob Waters Field, Cullowhee, NC
Records:  North Greenville (1-0) at Western Carolina (0-2)
Radio: Catamount Sports Network
 -Radio Announcers: Gary Ayers (PBP), Greg McLamb (color)
TV/video: ESPN+
 -TV Announcers: Daniel Hooker (PBP), Color: Rik Richards; Sideline: Summer McMahan
Game Notes:   WCU   -     NG   -    SoCon Notes
Live Stats:  WCU stats
The Series: This is the first meeting between the two schools on the gridiron.
Conference:  Gulf South Conference (GSC) - NCAA Div. II
Location:  Tigerville, SC
Undergraduates: 2,260

Starting QB for WCU: For the second consecutive game, redshirt sophomore Will Jones is expected to start at quarterback for the Catamounts as redshirt senior QB Tyrie Adams will remain on team suspension for a violation of team rules first set prior to the NC State game last Saturday in Raleigh.

Last Season's Record (2018 - NGU): 4-6 overall, 2-2 home, 2-4 away, 3-4 GCC  (wins over Tusculum, Delta State, West Alabama,  Shorter)   (2019 is the second season in the GSC)

Head Coach: Jeff Farrington, enters his sixth season as head coach of the North Greenville University football program. The Crusader mentor comes from the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Virginia where he was the Keydets’ defensive coordinator. Before his stint at VMI, Farrington spent a year at Mercer University in Georgia under Bobby Lamb helping to initiate the Bears’ Division I FCS program which begins play in the fall of 2013. Farrington was a defensive assistant coach for Lamb at Furman from 2002-2010 and was the Paladins’ defensive coordinator in 2010.

Basic Offense: Spread
-2018 Offense: 20.4 ppg. (126th in Div. II)
Basic Defense: Multiple
-2018 Defense: 26.6 ppg. (85th in Div. II)
Offensive Starters Returning/Lost:  8 / 3
Defensive Starters Returning/Lost:  6 / 5
Special Teams Starters Returning/Lost:  3 / 1

Duel-threat quarterback redshirt senior London Johnson (Charleston Southern transfer) leads the Crusaders, to a season-opening win with a 17-7 victory over Newberry College of the South Atlantic Conference. True freshman running back Dre' Williams showed his big-play ability on Thursday night and was awarded Freshman of the Week honors by the Gulf South Conference. Williams put up the first 100-yard rushing performance for the Crusaders since the 2017 season, running it to the tune of 113-yards and a touchdown.

North Greenville was picked to come in seventh in the pre-season rankings of the Gulf South Conference in their second year of membership. Aaron Watson (DB) entered the 2019 season as the first player named to a Gulf South Conference preseason All-Conference team.  Watson checked off several firsts for the program last season, garnering First-Team All-Conference and First-Team All-Region after turning in one of the best seasons by a GSC defensive back. Watson was also named a Don Hansen All-American.

The Crusaders lost 13 seniors off their 2018 team, including 4-year quarterback starter, Will Hunter, as well as, all-conference Wide Receiver Demajiay Rooks and all-conference defensive lineman, Seth Laughter. The Crusaders are implementing a new offense for the second time in as many seasons as Brad Robbins took over the offensive coordinating duties in the offseason.

Following the 2018 season, the front five lost three starters on the OL, including left tackle Caleb Harris, right tackle Cam Stepp, and guard Guage Murphy. While NGU lost their longtime QB, they did sign a former 4 star QB transfer during the early signing period in Logan Byrd, of Warner Robins, Georgia. Byrd, a 6-3, 230-pound signal-caller was ranked the number 15 pro-style quarterback coming out of high school in 2016 and originally signed with the University of North Carolina. Byrd threw for 3,902 yards and 27 touchdowns and rushed for another 930 yards and 15 scores while at Veterans High School. However, Byrd is not a shoo-in for the job, the decision will not be an easy one, as Byrd was taking second-team reps at times during the spring, as he learns from program veteran Donnie Baker. Baker has backed up Will Hunter for the previous three seasons and looks to take the next step.

NGU averaged just 82.6 yards per game last season on the ground, the lowest in more than 10-years of Crusader football. NGU rushed for 100-yards or more only four times and was 2-2 in those games.  The passing attack last season was the lifeblood of the offense. The Crusaders averaged almost 250-yards through the air and 17-touchdowns. One area that needs improvement is pass protection as NGU quarterbacks were sacked 31-times through 10-games.

NGU's defensive front has the potential to be one of the best in the Gulf South in 2019. Defensive backs are arguably the deepest and most experienced group on either side of the ball. Returning 11 guys that combined to play in more than 133-games, All American defensive back Aaron Watson returns to anchor the group, while Johnny Worthy heads into his junior year as one of the teams top tacklers. Adrian McGee, Jermia Bogan, and Azende Dixon round out the players who have played in at least 19 games over their careers.

2019 Crusaders Statistics (1 game):
Rushing Offense: 241 yards
Yards per game: 241
Yards per rush: 5.4 yards
Rushing 1st downs: 11
TDs rushing: 1
Passing Offense: 129 yards or 129 yards per game
Avg. per pass: 9.2 yards
Passing 1st downs: 6
Passing Comp-Att-Int: 8-14-0
TDs Passing: 1
Total Offense: 370 yards
Fumbles-Lost: 1-0
3d Down Conversions: 5 of 12
4th Down Conversions: 0 of 0
Red zone scores:  2 - 2
Res zone TDs:  1 - 2

Game prediction: Per the Massey Ratings, the Cats have a 90% probability of winning (42-21) over the Crusaders. I'm going to agree, the Cats win and WCU's record after game three:  1-2


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Monday, September 9, 2019

2019 SoCon Football Power Rankings - Week #2

Welcome to Purple & Gold's 2019 SoCon Football Power Rankings.

Each Monday throughout the season, we'll release that week's Power Rankings.  Two conference games are on tap this weekend, with the Samford at Wofford game as the Ingles SoCon Game of the Week

This week's rankings after two weeks of play:

1.  Furman (1-1,  0-0 SoCon)
Next: at Virginia Tech

2.  Mercer (2-0, 1-0 SoCon)
Next:  Austin Peay

3. Wofford (0-1, 0-0 SoCon)

Next:  Samford

4. The Citadel (0-2, 0-0 SoCon)
Next:  at Georgia Tech

5. ETSU (1-1, 0-0 SoCon)
Next:  VMI

6. Chattanooga (1-1, 0-0 SoCon)
Next:  at Tennessee

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

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

9. Western Carolina (0-1, 0-1 SoCon)
Next: North Greenville

Watch for Friday's SoCon picks.......


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Friday, September 6, 2019

This week's Purple & Gold football picks (9-7-19)

It's week #2 in the SoCon, and time to pick Saturday's games.

All seven games are set for Saturday, no conference games this week.

This week's fearless game predictions.....

Western Carolina (0-1, 0-1 SoCon) at NC State (1-0, 0-0 ACC) 12:30 pm - watch on Fox Sports South and the ACC Network Extra. Western travels to Raleigh, NC to meet the Wolfpack for the seventh time, hoping to pick up their first FBS win. The home-standing Wolfpack holds off the Cats by a final score of  35-49

Mars Hill (0-0, 0-0 SoCon) at VMI (0-1, 0-0 SoCon)  1:30 pm EDT - watch on ESPN3
The Lions travel to Lexington, VA to meet the Keydets in Alumni Memorial Field to kick off their season. The Keydets are looking for their first win of the young season, and win in a rout, 42-21.

The Citadel  (0-1, 0-0 SoCon) at Elon  (0-1, 0-0 CAA)   2:00 pm EDT - watch on FLO Sports
The Bulldogs travel to Elon, NC to meet former SoCon member Elon. Both teams are coming off disappointing season-opening losses, and are primed to pick off that first victory. The Phoenix get the nid and the win, 17-27 over the dogs.

Mercer (1-0, 1-0 SoCon) at Presbyterian (0-0, 0-0 BSC)  2:00 pm EDT - watch on ESPN+
The Bears add the twelfth game to their schedule as the Blue Hose add a make-up game for one canceled a week earlier, in this hastily scheduled contest. PC gets their home contest, but it comes at a high cost, in a 14-42 loss to the Bears.

Chattanooga (1-0, 0-0) at Jacksonville State (0-1)   7:00 pm EDT - Watch on ESPN+
The Mocs travel to Jacksonville, AL to meet the Gamecocks in what has become a rivalry game for both schools. Rebounding from a season-opening loss, JSU outmans the Mocs for a final score of 14-24.

Furman (1-0, 0-0) at Georgia State (0-1, 0-0 )   7:00 pm EDT - Watch on ESPN3
It's FCS vs. FBS, as the upset-minded Paladins travel to Atlanta, GA to meet the team that just last weekend upset the Tennessee Volunteers, the Ga State Panthers. Furman plays well but is unable to overcome the Panthers in the 4th quarter, dropping a close one to GSU, 28-35.

Shorter (0-0, 0-0) at ETSU (0-1, 0-0 )   7:30 pm EDT - Watch on ESPN+
The Division II Hawks open their season in Johnson City, as the Bucs are coming off a loss to former SoCon member App State. This is the opening home game for ETSU, and with hopes of a playoff appearance, the Bucs romp, with a final score of 49-14 over the Hawks.

Overall, it's not a good weekend for the SoCon, with a 3-4 record.


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Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Game Week 2 - North Carolina State

In the Catamounts' second game of the 2019 season, Western Carolina travels to the state capital meet ACC foe North Carolina State Wolfpack in Carter-Finley Stadium

Western faces the Wolfpack for the seventh time on the gridiron.

Game #2 - NC State Wolfpack

When: Saturday, September 7th at 12:30 pm
Where: Carter-Finley Stadium, Raleigh, NC
Surface:  Natural Grass / Capacity:  57,600
Radio: Catamount Sports Network
-Radio Announcers: Gary Ayers (PBP), Daniel Hooker (Color), Greg McLamb (sideline)
TV/video: Fox Sports South / ACC Network Extra
-TV Announcers: Tom Werme (play-by-play), James Bates (color) and Stormy Buonantony (sidelines)
Playing turf: real grass - (bermudagrass)
Beer Sales in Carter-Finley:  Yes - here's the facts
Game Notes:     WCU   -   NCSU 
The Series: In the 7th meeting between the two teams, the Cats own a 0-6 record against the Wolfpack.  All six games have been played in Raleigh, NC

Last Game vs. NC State (September 4, 2010) - NC State downs Catamounts in Season Opener, 48-7   Raleigh, N.C. -  Redshirt junior QB Zack Jaynes led the Catamounts on a 10-play, 87-yard opening scoring drive to give Western Carolina an early 7-0 advantage, but a North Carolina State aerial assault led by quarterback Russell Wilson overwhelmed the Catamounts, handing WCU a 48-7 setback at Carter-Finley Stadium on Saturday night in front of an announced crowd of 56,417. "It was a disappointing game for us tonight. I thought defensively we played very poorly, missed a lot of assignments. With a veteran group, especially at the safety position, we made way too many mistakes and we just couldn't get off the field," said WCU third-year head coach Dennis Wagner during post-game interviews. "On offense, you know you put together a great drive and we did some good things in the first quarter. But we got a little proud of ourselves and didn't perform as well as we needed to from that point on. "We still have a lot of work to do. There are still 10 games left and we will be a lot better next week, I guarantee you," Wagner concluded.

Last Season's Record (2018 - NC State): 9-4 overall, 6-1 home, 3-2 away, 5-3 ACC  (wins over James Madison, Georgia St., Marshall, Virginia, Boston College, Florida St,, Louisville, UNC)

Offensive Formation: Spread
-2018 Offense: 33.8 ppg. (31st in FBS)
Defensive Formation: Multiple
-2018 Defense: 24.9 ppg. (45th in FBS)
Starters Returning/Lost: 12  /  12
Offensive starters - Returning/Lost: 4 / 7
Defensive starters - Returning/Lost: 7 / 4
Letter winners lost: 21

After losing 13 players to the NFL Draft over the last two-year period, NC State is in a rebuilding year. Only four starters return on offense: TE Dylan Autenrieth, WR Emeka Emezie, OG Joshua Fedd-Jackson and OT Justin Witt. The Wolfpack must replace its the 2018 starting quarterback (Ryan Finley, 3,928 passing yards in 2018), their top two receivers (Jakobi Meyers and Kelvin Harmon combined for 173 catches for 2,233 yards), and their top running back (Reggie Gallaspy, Jr. rushed for 1,091 yds. and a school-record 18 TDs).

Matthew McKay, a sophomore, finished spring with the inside track for the starting QB job. However, he attempted only eight passes last season, but he ran 13 times for 36 yards and a touchdown in five games. Whoever the starting QB turns out to be, he will have plenty of capable receivers, like junior Emeka Emezie who caught 53 passes for 616 yards with five touchdowns last season and sophomore Thayer Thomas in the slot after a strong freshman campaign last year with 34 catches. The Wolfpack will have to fill three positions on the O-line

On defense, State returns eight defensive starters, of which, five are in the secondary. Senior end James Smith-Williams tied for the team lead with six sacks and will be relied on to lead the front four. In 2018, the Wolfpack ranked No. 108 in the country in pass defense. With their new group of pass rushers, the Pack struggled to pressure the quarterback, and the secondary couldn’t hold up in 2018.

The Wolfpack kicked off its 2019 season with a 34-6 win over visiting East Carolina in front of a sold-out crowd at Carter-Finley Stadium. QB Matthew McKay became only the third QB in school history to throw for over 300 yards in his first career start: Philip Rivers, 397 yards in 2000 and Harrison Beck, 321 yards in 2007. Six NC State players made their first collegiate start today: DT Val Martin, OT Emanuel McGirt, Jr., C Grant Gibson, QB Matthew McKay, RB Ricky Person, Jr., and P Trenton Gill. 17 NC State players made their NC State debuts, including 10 freshmen: Gill, Isaac Duffy, Ikem Ekwonu, Jalen Frazier, Tabari Hines, Bailey Hockman, Jordan Houston, Zonovan Knight, Keyon Lesane, Dylan McMahon, Taiyon Palmer, Cecil Powell, Liam Ryan, Jaylon Scott, Joe Shimko, Drake Thomas, and Payton Wilson.

2019 Wolfpack Statistics (one game vs. ECU):
Rushing Offense: 191
Yards per rush: 6.2 yards
Rushing 1st downs: 9
TDs rushing: 3
Passing Offense: 314 yards
Avg. per pass: 12.1 yards
Passing 1st downs: 12
Passing Comp-Att-Int: 26-39-0
Total Offense: 505 yards
Fumbles-Lost: 2-0
3d Down Conversions: 4 of 12
4th Down Conversions: 0 of 1
Red Zone Scores: 4 of 4
Field Goals: 2 of 2
PAT:  4 of 4

Fearless Game prediction: Per the Massey Ratings, the Cats have only a 0% probability of winning (13-54) over the Wolfpack. I'm going to agree that the Wolfpack will outlast the Cats and win. Cats drop game two and according to Massey, the Cats should be 0-2 and are on track with Massey's projections.


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Monday, September 2, 2019

2019 SoCon Football Power Rankings - Week #1

Welcome to Purple & Gold's 2019 SoCon Football Power Rankings.

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

This week's rankings after one week of play:

1.  Furman (1-0,  0-0 SoCon)
Next: at Georgia State

2.  Mercer (1-0, 1-0 SoCon)
Next:  bye week

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

4.  The Citadel (0-1, 0-0 SoCon)
Next:  at Elon

5. Wofford (0-1, 0-0 SoCon)

Next:  bye week

6. ETSU (0-1, 0-0 SoCon)
Next:  Shorter

7. Western Carolina (0-1, 0-1 SoCon)
Next: at NC State

8. VMI (0-1, 0-0 SoCon)
Next:  Mars Hill

9. Samford (0-2, 0-0 SoCon)
Next:  bye week

Watch for Friday's SoCon picks.......


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Catamount Football Weekly tonight at 7 pm (live)

Join us Monday night for Catamount Football Weekly featuring Head Coach Mark Speir on Facebook live at 7pm. We will recap the game against Mercer and preview this week's game against NC State.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Big Plays & Missed Opportunities