Friday, September 3, 2021

Game #1 - Eastern Kentucky Colonels

In the Catamounts' opening game of the 2021 season, the Eastern Kentucky Colonels travel to Cullowhee for the opening football game for both teams.  It's Kerwin Bell's debut as the WCU head football coach, and it's a "White Out Whitmire" Saturday in EJ Whitmire Stadium.  Don't forget the fireworks on the field and in the sky, after the game.

Western faces the Colonels for just the seventh time overall. The two teams last played in Richmond, KY in 2020, with the Cats coming home with a 17-49 loss at the hands of the Colonels

Game #1 - Eastern Kentucky Colonels
When: Saturday, September 4 
Time:   6:00 pm EST  
Where: EJ Whitmire Stadium, Cullowhee, NC
Radio: Catamount Sports Network
TV/video:  Nexstar / ESPN+
 WCBD (Charleston), WGHP (Greensboro/High Point), WJHL (Johnson City), WMYT (Charlotte), WWCW (Lynchburg/Roanoke), WYCW (Greenville/Spartanburg/Asheville), WBTW (Myrtle Beach)
Live StatsWCU Live Stats
EKU Conference:  ASUN / AQ7
Nickname: Colonels
Colors: Maroon and White
Enrollment:  14,980
Message BoardMaroon 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. 

EKU Head CoachWalt 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.

Wells record at EKU (Years) / Career :  3-6 (1 year)  /   same  
Wells record vs. WCU:  1-0
Kerwin Bell's record vs. EKU: 0-0

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

The Colonels finished the 2020 season at 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.

EKU joined the ASun conference on July 1 and will play in the ASUN-WAC Challenge (AQ7). Since neither of the two conferences has enough eligible members for an auto bid, the ASUN and WAC agreed on a one-year football scheduling alliance for the 2021 fall football season.  The Colonels were selected as #5 in the first AQ7 poll.  OL Payton Collins, DL Quinten Floyd, LB Matthew Jackson, DB Joseph Sayles were selected as preseason all-conference. 

Six Eastern Kentucky University football student-athletes were voted to the 2021 ASUN Preseason All-Conference Team, the league announced on Tuesday. The six Colonels named Preseason All-ASUN were Jacquez Jones (wide receiver), Payton Collins (offensive line), Jyran Mitchell (all-purpose), Quinten Floyd (defensive line), Matthew Jackson (linebacker) and Joseph Sayles (defensive back). EKU was picked to finish fifth in the Preseason ASUN/WAC AQ7 Coaches Poll. Defending national champion Sam Houston State is the preseason favorite after taking all seven first-place votes in the poll. EKU’s roster has changed significantly since last year’s season-ending win over Western Carolina on Nov. 21.  

The Colonels announced nine transfer additions in June, but also lost several players through the portal, including senior running back Alonzo Booth, the Colonels leading rusher. Parker McKinney is set to enter his fourth season but is still considered a redshirt sophomore. The quarterback missed the final three games of the season after completing almost 64 percent of his pass attempts for 1,358 yards and 12 touchdowns with only five interceptions.

3-star WR Jacquez Jones, who signed with Tennessee before transferring to Eastern Kentucky in 2020, has entered the transfer portal after grabbing 40 rec for 578 yards and 4 TD in his one season with the Colonels.

2020 Eastern Kentucky Statistics  (9 games):
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
Fumbles-Lost: 10-6
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%)

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