In the Catamounts' opening game of the 2021 season, the Colonels of Eastern Kentucky will travel to Cullowhee for the opening game for both teams.
Game #1 - The Eastern Kentucky Colonels
Where: EJ Whitmire Stadium, Cullowhee, NC
Radio: Catamount Sports Network
TV/video: Nexstar / ESPN+
Live Stats: WCU Live Stats
EKU Conference: ASun
Colors: Maroon and White
Message Board: Maroon Nation
The Series: In only the 7th meeting between the two teams, the Cats own a 2-4 record overall against the Colonels. Western is 1-1 against the Colonels in games played in Cullowhee.
Last Game vs. EKU (November 21, 2020) - Catamounts Fall to EKU 49-17 in Opportunity Bowl - Richmond, Ky. – Western Carolina's defense forced four turnovers including a 54-yard scoop-and-score by Ricky Palao on a fumble recovery as the Catamounts rallied from an early deficit to lead 10-7 midway through the second quarter. However, Eastern Kentucky, which was playing its ninth game of the season, used big plays and a 28-point fourth quarter to pull away from WCU to win the inaugural Opportunity Bowl, 49-17.
Walt Wells - 2d Season. Wells was hired as the 15th head coach in program history on Dec. 9, 2019. Wells most recently served as a quality control assistant at the University of Kentucky during the 2018 and 2019 seasons. The 2018 Wildcat team beat Florida for the first time in 32 years, posted the program’s best Southeastern Conference (SEC) record in 41 years and beat No. 12-ranked Penn State in the VRBO Citrus Bowl. All totaled, the 10-3 record was Kentucky's best season in 41 years and only the third 10-win season in school history.
Last Season's Record (2020 - EKU): 3-6 overall, 2-2 home, 1-4 away, 0-0 OVC
EKU Offensive Formation: Multiple Spread
EKU Defensive Formation: 4-3
-Returning - Phillip Richards (HO, Jr.), Davion Ross (KR, So., 21.0 yds/return)
The Colonels finished the 2020 season 3-6, but were two plays away from going 5-4. On Oct. 3 against Houston Baptist, EKU scored a touchdown to pull within one with 4:04 left in the game. The game-tying extra-point was blocked and returned for two points in a 33-30 loss. On Oct. 17 at FBS Troy, Eastern took a 29-28 lead with 21 seconds left in the game. The Trojans drove 30 yards in three plays and made a game-winning 47-yard field goal as time expired.
The Colonels added nine transfers for the 2021 season that will provide needed depth on the offensive side of the ball. The transfers include a transfer from WKU and a player who went to Auburn and another who attended Purdue.
Rushing Offense: 1161 yards
Yards per game: 129
Yards per rush: 3.7 yards
Rushing 1st downs: 56
TDs rushing: 9
Passing Offense: 2227 yards or 247.4 yards per game
Avg. per pass: 8 yards
Passing 1st downs: 94
Passing Comp-Att-Int: 167-277-9
TDs Passing: 17
Total Offense: 3388 yards or 382.2 yards per game
3d Down Conversions: 35%
4th Down Conversions: 57%
Field goal attempts: 11 - 14
On-side kicks: 0-0
Red Zone Scores: 26-31 (84%)
Red Zone Touchdowns: 15-31 (88%)