Cullowhee, N.C. – Homecoming spirits are high as Western Carolina returns home to E.J. Whitmire Stadium / Bob Waters Field to open a two-game homestand, hosting The Citadel Bulldogs on Saturday, Nov. 3 in the annual Homecoming football game. Kickoff for the penultimate home game is scheduled for 3:30 pm in a game that will be broadcast on ESPN+ (subscription required).
Tickets for Saturday's Homecoming game are available in advance, online at CatamountSports.com or through the Athletics ticket office located on the first floor of the Ramsey Center and by phone at (800) 34-GOWCU or (828) 227-2401. On game day, the ticket booth at Gate 1 opens at 10:00 am. WCU students are reminded to reserve their tickets online through the student portal.
Western Carolina (3-5, 1-5 SoCon) looks to shake a five-game seasonal slide as it welcomes the triple-option attack of The Citadel (2-5, 2-4 SoCon) to Cullowhee. The Catamounts most recently fell in triple-overtime at No. 25 ETSU last Saturday in Johnson City. The Citadel also knows a thing or two about close calls having played numerous close games this season including three losses in league-play by just one possession. The Bulldogs’ four SoCon losses have been by a combined 23 points.
Homecoming game day activities include tailgating that gets underway at Noon with the “Cat Walk” slated for 1:15 pm ahead of the 3:30 pm kickoff.
Game 9: Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018 – Homecoming • 3:30 pm
Location: Cullowhee, N.C. (E.J. Whitmire Stadium / Bob Waters Field: 13,472)
The Citadel (2-5, 2-4 SoCon) at Western Carolina (3-5, 1-5 SoCon)
Online Stream: ESPN+ (subscription required)
PBP: Daniel Hooker; Analyst: Dan Gibson; Sideline: Summer McMahan
Radio: Catamount Sports Network
PBP: Gary Ayers; Analyst: Greg McLamb; Producer: Jeff Bryson
Cullowhee – WWCU-FM, Power 90dot5
Sylva – 105.7 FM / 540 AM WRGC
Franklin – 104.9 FM / 1050 AM WFSC
Asheville – WISE Sports Radio 102.9 FM / 1310 AM
Canton – WYSE Sports Radio 970 AM
- LOOKING TO BOUNCE BACK: After opening the season at 3-0 – its best start since 1976 – Western Carolina looks to bounce back from five-consecutive losses including last week’s heart-breaking road loss at No. 25 ETSU – WCU’s 45th-straight road loss to nationally-ranked FCS opposition ... the Catamounts have also endured road defeats at Furman, Samford, Mercer and the home loss to Chattanooga that have relegated the Catamounts to a 3-5 overall, 1-5 in the SoCon ... WCU’s current five-game losing skid is its longest since dropping six-straight back in the 2016 season, finishing that year at 2-9 overall;
- CATAMOUNTS RETURN HOME, OPEN TWO-GAME HOMESTAND: Western Carolina is coming off a stretch where four of its last five games were played on the road away from Cullowhee ... WCU opens a two-game homestand to conclude the home portion of its 2018 schedule, hosting the SoCon’s two option attacks in The Citadel and Wofford;
- DUELING BUT DIFFERENT OPTION ATTACKS: Saturday’s meeting between Western Carolina and The Citadel features two different versions of option offense ... the Bulldogs use the traditional, double-slot triple option attack while WCU uses the spread option with its
R-P-O,or run-pass options ... The Citadel is run-oriented with 71.9-percent of its offense coming on the ground and 28.1-percent through the air ... WCU is more balanced with 53.3-percent through the air and 46.7-percent in the run game;
- MORE ON THE GROUND GAME: Since 2011, The Citadel’s triple-option attack has rushed for 2,737 yards in seven meetings against the Catamounts, averaging 391.0 yards per game with 24 total touchdowns – averaging 3.4 rushing TDs per game ... WCU held the Bulldogs to just one rushing touchdown last year in Charleston, the fewest since limiting The Citadel to two ground scores in 2014;
- WESTERN CAROLINA ON HOMECOMING DAY: Since moving into Whitmire Stadium in 1974, Western Carolina is 20-23-1 in Homecoming games and has dropped two straight including a 2016 loss to Chattanooga (38-25) and last year’s 28-6 loss in the rain to Furman ... WCU halted a streak of three-straight losses in Homecoming games with its 2013 overtime win over Elon ... WCU’s longest Homecoming win streak is five-straight between 1998-2002 ... Saturday marks the EIGHTH time The Citadel has provided WCU’s Homecoming Day opponent ... WCU is 2-5 against the Bulldogs on its Homecoming, most recently meeting in 2014 – a 29-15 Catamount victory.
WESTERN CAROLINA vs. THE CITADEL – SERIES HISTORY:
- Western Carolina and The Citadel meet for the 43rd time on the football gridiron on Saturday in Cullowhee ... WCU trails The Citadel, 17-24-1, overall ... the Catamounts have a chance to even the all-time series in Cullowhee, though, trailing 10-11 ... WCU has dropped FIVE of the last SEVEN series meetings – and three of the last four played at home;
- Two of the top 14 largest crowds in E.J. Whitmire Stadium have witnessed WCU-The Citadel games ... In 2014, the 10th largest facility crowd (13,323) saw WCU win on Homecoming ... Also, the 13th-largest crowd in Whitmire Stadium history (12,818) witnessed the 1992 meeting between the Catamounts and Bulldogs ... In the latter game, WCU receiver Craig Aiken amassed a stadium-record 232 yards receiving in a 36-31 Homecoming Day loss to the Cadets ... Those are just two of five games in the all-time top 12 not against App State;
FAMILIAR FACES IN THE SERIES WITH THE CITADEL:
There are two common ties between WCU and The Citadel: Bulldog WR coach Brian Rucker played for WCU from 2000-03 and was an assistant coach 2006-07 ... For his career, Rucker caught 44 passes for 558 yards and two TDs at TE, averaging 12.68 yards per catch ... Also, The Citadel defensive coordinator Blake Harrell is a 2002 WCU graduate and former student assistant coach on staff in Cullowhee in 2000.
Last Year’s Meeting – Western Carolina 31, The Citadel 19:
- RB Detrez Newsome broke the third tie with an 81-yard touchdown romp to cap a one-play scoring drive that gave No. 24 Western Carolina a lead it would never relinquish as the Catamounts scored a 31-19 Southern Conference road victory over The Citadel Bulldogs last fall at Johnson Hagood Stadium ... QB Tyrie Adams threw for three touchdowns – two to Terryon Robinson – and Newsome rushed for 197 yards;
- WCU’s defense forced five turnovers in the road win including three interceptions against the run-oriented triple-option attack of the Bulldogs – two that thwarted would-be scoring drives for the home squad ... the Catamounts added a pair of fumble recoveries as WCU scored its first road win over the Bulldogs since 2010 ... DB Marvin Tillman came up with two interceptions to pace the strong defensive effort;
- Twice since 2014 against The Citadel, the WCU defense has created a turnover out of a would-be scoring play at the goal line – last year, Tra Hardy tracked down Bulldog back Cam Jackson at the goal line, punching the football
loosebefore Jackson crossed the goal line to create a fumble that Keion Crossen pounced on for the WCU takeaway – all of which was reversed from the original TD call on the field by instant replay ... the play was reminiscent of a similar play in 2014 when Isiaha Smith had the ball knocked loose by Trey Morgan before he crossed the goal line where Christon Gill recovered.
Quick Slants – Noting the Catamounts:
- Western Carolina landed its THIRD player on a STATS FCS watch list this week – freshman DB RONALD KENT JR. was added to the Jerry Rice Award Watch list for an award that goes to the top freshman in the NCAA Division I FCS ... Kent has a team-high 12 pass break-ups on the season and is the first Catamount to hit double-digit PBUs since former standout Trey Morgan had 10 back in 2016 – and just the third to have double-digits since 2002, matching former DB Ahmed Green (12, 2002) ... Kent joins QB Tyrie Adams who was listed on the initial Walter Payton Award (top offensive player) watch list and DB Marvin Tillman who graces the Buck Buchanan Award watch list;
- Western Carolina has scored 42 seasonal points off of opponent turnovers – 21 of which came at Samford on three, second-quarter interceptions;
- WCU has recorded 400+ yards of total offense in SEVEN of the EIGHT games this season – and has 500+ three times ... the Catamounts have recorded at least one rushing touchdown in all but TWO games (at FUR, vs. UTC) and have a passing TD in all but ONE (UTC);
- WCU sophomore TE Owen Cosenke is tied FOR THE MOST in the SoCon with EIGHT TD receptions ... Cosenke has TD catches in SIX of the team’s EIGHT games this year ... His eight TDs have come on just 19 seasonal receptions ... Cosenke has
catchesin EIGHT of the last NINE games;
- WCU ran a season-high 95 offensive plays at Mercer – the fourth-most by a SoCon team this season (VMI – 109 vs. WCU; VMI – 101 vs. Mercer; 97 – Samford vs. WCU) … the 95 plays were WCU’s most since running 96 in the 2014 season-opener at USF in Tampa, Fla. – and four off the school-record of 99
runagainst Marshall back in 1991;
- WCU tallied a season-high – and school-record – 35 first downs at Mercer, supplanting the previous benchmark of 34 set in the home win over Gardner-Webb in 2016;
- WCU and Mercer combined for 105 points, the second-most combined points in a SoCon match-up ... It’s the
second-timethis season that WCU and its conference foe have combined for 100+ points – 102 vs. VMI (W, 52-50);
- The Catamount defense was held without a sack at Mercer ... WCU’s defense recorded three quarterback sacks against No. 25 ETSU giving the unit 22 sacks on the season through eight games, surpassing the mark of 21 set last year in 12 games … WCU’s 22 sacks this year are its most since also recording 22 back in 2010 ... WCU ranks SECOND in the SoCon with 19 team sacks behind only ETSU which has 26 through seven games;
- Western Carolina’s defense boasts FOUR of the top 15 tacklers in the Southern Conference – senior Mitchell Chancey leads the team and the league with 90 total tackles, averaging 11.2 tackles per game – a mark that ranks him FOURTH nationally in the NCAA FCS Preseason All-America selection DB MARVIN TILLMAN ranks FIFTH with an 8.4 tackle per game average ... Sophomore LB Ty Harris ranks tied for sixth in the SoCon with 8.3 tackles per game while redshirt sophomore DB Michael Murphy is tied for 15th with a 7.8 tackle per game average;
- Chancey is riding a career-best streak of EIGHT-straight double-digit tackle games, having reached double-figures in every game this season to date ... Chancey is just 28 tackles shy of joining WCU’s top 10 single-season
chart(118, Eric Johnson in 1998);
- Senior DL Solomon Clark ranks FOURTH in the SoCon in sacks from his nose guard position, entering the weekend with five for a 0.63 average – tied for 49th nationally;
- Punter IAN BERRYMAN moved into a tie for sixth in WCU’s career record books with 199 career punts ... Of his 199 career
punts81 have been downed inside the opponents’ 20-yard line and 55 have traveled 50+ yards;
- BERRYMAN became the fourth different Catamount to toss a touchdown pass this season, doing so from his holder position on a fake field goal at Mercer ... Berryman evaded the Bears rush and threw a five-yard strike to TE Owen Cosenke for the score;
- PK WILL HORTON has matched his career-best with two made field goals in the last two games vs. Chattanooga and Mercer including nailing a career-long 47-yard FG against the Mocs ... Horton has an active string of 28-consecutive successful PATs – his career long is 32-straight.
THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO:
Where to Park:
- General Admission parking is available in the following parking lots on the WCU campus: H.F. Robinson Building (Lot 1A & 1B) and both the North and South Baseball Lots (8A & 8B) ... It is also recommended that fans consider taking Old Cullowhee Road to the old entrance to the WCU campus and utilize parking in the lots behind Hunter Library for game day ... Parking – especially for visiting fans – is also available down Little Savannah Road behind the Catamount Travel Center (Student Commuter Lot 73) and past the Cullowhee Post Office at the WCU Health & Human Science (HHS) parking lots (FREE SHUTTLE, see below);
- Catamount Club Reserved Parking Lots (parking pass required)
include:Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center (Lot13), Belk (Lot14), Jordan-Phillips Field House (Lot12), Football Stadium (Lot 10), Creek (Lot9C) Lot, and Camp Lab Festival Parking (Lot4A) ... All patrons with parking passes should enter the FOREST HILLS ROAD (third stop light, near Ramsey Center and baseball stadium) entrance to campus, display parking credential to gain access to Catamount Road.
Note: WCU Parking & Transportation will run a FREE "Tailgate Express” Cat Tran Shuttle, presented by Ingles, for each home football game this year. Vehicles will be directed to park across the street from campus at the Health & Human Services (HHS) Lots# 76A & 76B down Little Savannah Road where patrons will be picked up by the FREE shuttle and delivered to the Ramsey Center circle drive on Forest Hills Road for WEST side seating and to Gate 1 for EAST side seating. Shuttles will also be available after the game for return trips to these lots. Please note that this is not a shuttle around campus – just to and from the two drop-off locations.
The Catamount Club:
- The Purple Zone (requires RSVP): Located on the Ramsey Center Patio - is open from 1:00 pm until 3:00 pm;
- Paws Porch (requires a ticket, credential): Located on the patio of the Jordan Phillips Fieldhouse; doors open at 3:00 pm.
Where to Buy Tickets:
- Purchase - and PRINT - tickets in advance through CatamountSports.com;
On Game Day:
- WCU Athletic Ticket Office - (828) 227-2401 – phone lines open beginning at 9:00 AM until 1:30 pm ... There
isonly phone order and ticket information at the Ramsey Center ticket office on game day -- NO WALK-UP SALES;
- Gate 1 Ticket Sales on the West Side of the stadium open at 10:00 am for walk-up sales;
- Ticket sales at all other gates begin at Noon - Gates 2, 3, and 4;
- All stadium gates open to the public at 2:00 pm ... Gate 6 for Player Pass also opens at 2:00 pm.
- Remember to bring proper photo identification to pick up tickets at WCU's Will Call;
- Main Will Call for picking up purchased tickets or tickets being left for pick-up is at Gate 1; however, fans are able to receive Will Call at any entrance gate ticket booth;
- Guests of WCU Chancellor's Office and those who have not picked up their Family Weekend packets can pick up tickets/packets at Will Call at Gate 4;
- WCU Football Player's Guest will utilize Gate 6; as well as Dance/Cheer Guests: Gate 6 ... Those who are on the player pass list must show a photo ID in order to pick up their tickets – again, Player Pass will call will not open until 2:00 pm when the stadium gates are open … Once the player pass tickets are picked up, the individual MUST enter the stadium;
- Football Recruits: Hospitality, enter through
doornext to truck tunnel;
- All Other Recruits: Gate 6;
- High School Coaches: Present card to any ticket booth and receive up to TWO free admission tickets ... Pick up tickets from any ticket booth -- not the player pass location.
- Purple Reserved
: Adult$30 Youth (Ages 3-12) $20 (All Gates) -- Sections L, LL, K, KK, J, JJ;
- Gold Reserved
: Adult$30 Youth (Ages 3-12) $20 (All Gates) -- Sections D, DD, E, EE, F, FF, MM, II;
- General Admission
: Adult$20, Youth (Ages 3-12) $15 -- Sections G, GG seating only
Other Helpful Game Day Hints:
- BRING CASH -- though WCU's ticket booths and concessions
standsat Whitmire Stadium are capable of credit/debit card transactions, lines for the popular stadium fare can back up ... There will be extra CASH-ONLY lines for items such as drinks on game day;
- Arrive early to avoid long lines entering Whitmire Stadium ... Also, there are numerous gates that allow entry to the stadium -- familiarize yourself with the best gates to get you to your seats for all of the pregame festivities!
- Be sure to enjoy a variety of stadium fare at the Aramark concessions stands, proudly serving ice cold Pepsi products -- or other vendors such as Bojangles', Salsarita's, Speedy's Pizza, South of Philly, and Tubby's Caramel Corn & More.
Game Day Promotions:
- Gather with other Purple & Gold clad faithful to cheer on the Catamounts during the "Cat Walk" to the stadium at approximately 1:15 pm in the Stadium and Field House parking lots;
- The WCU Game Day Information Booth opens at 1:30 pm just outside of Gate 1;
- The Catamount Kids' Zone opens at 2:00 pm when gates open just inside the main entrance at Gate 1;
- Between the first and third quarters, the Catamount Club will unveil the winners in this year’s Catamount Club Greek Challenge fundraising efforts;
- At halftime, WCU will reveal its 2018 Homecoming King and Queen;
- Following the game, the "Pride of the Mountains" Marching Band will perform their show to the East Side stands.