Friday, November 12, 2021

Game #10 - ETSU Bucs


For the tenth game of the season, the #14 nationally ranked ETSU Bucs travel to Cullowhee to face the Catamounts in the 2021 edition of the "Blue Ridge Border Battle".

Five seasons ago, Western and the Bucs revived the series that started back in 1932, but abruptly ended in 2003 when the Bucs eliminated football. The Cats own a 2-3 record against the Bucs since their return to the Southern Conference.

Game #10 - ETSU Bucs

When: Saturday, November 13
Time:  2:00 pm (EST) 
Where: EJ Whitmire Stadium, Cullowhee, NC
Radio: Catamount Sports Network
-announcers-announcers  Gary Ayers,  (play-by-play); Greg McLamb, (color)
- stations:  105.7 FM / 540 AM WRGC (Sylva); 104.9 FM / 1050 AM WFSC (Franklin); 102.9 FM / 1310 AM WISE (Asheville); 970 AM WYSE (Canton); 95.3 FM WWCU (Cullowhee)
-announcers:  Kyle Rush (play-by-play); Phil Cox (color)
Live StatsWCU Live Stats
Game Notes:   Western Carolina   -    ETSU  
Fan Message BoardBuccaneer Nation

The Series: This series stretches back to 1932, with the Cats holding a slim 25-24-1 lead. Since the return of football at ETSU, the Cats are 2-3 going into the 2021 fall contest. Adding to the newfound rivalry between the two mountain teams, the Bucs pulled off a 2 point, 3 overtime win, 43-45 in the initial Blue Ridge Border Battle trophy contest held in Johnson City in 2018. The Cats are 13-10 in games played in Cullowhee overall.  The Cats have won the last two in Cullowhee, while the Bucs picked up the last two in Johnson City.  

The Trophy: The two campuses are separated by just 112 total miles and share a common border through the Blue Ridge Mountains. In 2018 the mountain-rivalry was dubbed as the “Blue Ridge Border Battle”, consisting of a trophy that includes a two-tiered wooden pedestal adorned on opposite sides by the two school’s respective logos and the moniker of the football rivalry series. Atop the trophy is a rock that was taken from the Appalachian Trail on the North Carolina – Tennessee border in the heart of the Great Smoky and Blue Ridge mountains. This will be the fourth battle for the Blue Ridge Trophy. The Bucs claimed the inaugural meeting for the new trophy with a thrilling triple-overtime victory, 45-43, winning the trophy at William B. Greene, Jr. Stadium in 2018. WCU captured the overtime win in 2019 before ETSU secured the trophy again in the spring of 2021.

Games played by the Bucs this season before the WCU contest: (9 games) The Bucs opened their season with a 23-3 win at Vanderbilt, before returning home to face Division II's UVA-Wise and a 45-14 victory.  A 36-6 win over  Deleware State was next as the  Bucs then opened their conference schedule with an overtime win at Samford.  The Bucs then picked off win against both Wofford and the Citadel in Johnson City. ETSU then traveled to  Chattanooga and their first loss of the season, then beat Furman, 17-14 in Paladin Stadium.  

The last game played vs. ETSU:  March 27, 2021 - Catamount Football Falls at ETSU in Blue Ridge Border Battle - Johnson City, Tenn. – Using a strong opening drive and converting a special team's takeaway into points, Western Carolina jumped out to a 10-point, 17-7 first-quarter lead in the annual gridiron grudge match at ETSU. However, the Buccaneers used a smothering defensive effort in the second half and an efficient, physical run attack to ground out a 24-17 victory over the Catamounts in the third-annual Blue Ridge Border Battle at Greene Stadium.

Head Coach: Randy Sanders - Sanders was named ETSU football head coach on Dec. 17, 2017, becoming the 18th head coach in program history. Sanders, a Morristown, Tenn. native, has spent the last 29 years coaching on the Football Bowl Subdivision level, which includes stints as offensive coordinator at Tennessee, Kentucky, and most recently Florida State. Sanders was the offensive coordinator when Tennessee won the 1998 BCS National Title and the quarterbacks coach at Florida State when the Seminoles claimed the 2013 National Championship.

Randy Sander's record vs. WCU:  2 - 1
Kerwin Bell's record vs. ETSU:  0 - 0

This Season's Record (ETSU):  8-1 overall, 5-1 home, 3-1 away, 5-1 SoCon (only loss to Chattanooga)
Last Season's Record (ETSU):  2020-21 spring record -  4-2 overall,  2-1 home,  2-1 away,  4-2 SoCon.  

Offensive Formation: Spread Option
Defensive Formation: 3-4

The Bucs concluded the spring season ranked No. 21 in the STATS Perform FCS Top 25 poll. Then, following the spring season, ETSU captured 15 All-SoCon Coaches Awards (12 players) and seven All-SoCon media honors (six players). In addition to the all-conference honors, Jared Folks and Tre’mond Shorts earned individual accolades with Folks capturing the SoCon Defensive Player of the Year and Shorts garnering the Jacobs Blocking Award. Shorts was named to the Coaches and Media First Team, while Folks earned a spot on the Coaches First Team and Media Second Team. Joining them are Quay Holmes and Tyree Robinson  

For the fall preseason, the Bucs are ranked #23 nationally and were picked to finish third in the SoCon media poll and fourth in the coaches poll. The Bucs earned 10 preseason All-SoCon accolades, first-team honorees for the Bucs are Nate Adkins, Jared Folks, Quay Holmes, Tyler Keltner, Tyree Robinson, and Tre’mond Shorts. On the second team are Holmes (specialist), Alijah Huzzie, Donovan Manuel. and Tavon Matthews.

The Bucs come to Cullowhee ranked #14 nationally, with a 5-1 conference record, their only defeat this season has been to the Chattanooga Mocs.  The Bucs come into the game ranking third in the SoCon in scoring offense, scoring 32.9 points per game and rank second in scoring defense, giving up an average of 18.6 points.  ETSU ranks third, just behind the cats in total offense at 432.6 yards per game. The Bucs are averaging 224 yards per game in the ground and holding their opponents to 129 yards per game. 

ETSU's Quay Holmes leads the conference in rushing yards putting up an average of 121 yards per game. 

2021 ETSU Statistics (9 games)
Scoring:  32.9
Touchdowns scored:  36
Rushing Offense: 2017 yards
Yards per game:  224
Yards per rush:  5.4 yards
Rushing 1st downs: 106
TDs rushing: 22
Passing Offense: 1867 yards or 207 yards per game
Avg. per pass: 7.9 yards
Passing 1st downs: 81
TDs passing: 13
Passing Comp-Att-Int: 145-235-4
Total Offense: 3884 yards or 431 yards per game
Fumbles-Lost: 7 - 5
3d Down Conversions: 54 of 228 (46%)
4th Down Conversions: 4 of  9 (44%)
Field goal attempts  7 - 10
PAT-Attempts: 15 of 19
On-side kicks: 0 - 0
Red Zone Scores: 35 of 40 (88%)
Red Zone Touchdowns: 25 of 40 (63%)
Punts - Yards: 30 - 1216 - Avg per punt: 40.5

No comments: