Western Carolina 43, VMI 35
Saturday, November 2, 2019
With the Win …
- Western Carolina extended its current winning streak over VMI to 17-straight games dating back to 1991 … It was also WCU’s eighth-straight road victory in the head-to-head series with VMI in Lexington;
- Halted WCU’s five-game seasonal winless drought and ended a 15-game losing skid against NCAA Division I competition … It was WCU’s first win over a D-I opponent since fending off VMI in Cullowhee last September (52-50, Sept. 22, 2018);
- Snapped WCU’s nine-game road losing skid while also putting the clamps on a 12-game Southern Conference drought which had been the second-longest skid in the NCAA FCS;
- Gave WCU head coach Mark Speir his 31st victory at the helm in Cullowhee, tying him with former mentor Steve Hodgin who recorded 31 victories at WCU (1990-96) … Speir moved into a tie for fourth on WCU’s all-time career wins chart with Hodgin.
- Redshirt junior RB Donnavan Spencer rushed for 137 yards, just missing his career-high of 139 (vs. ETSU in 2017) … It was the third, 100-yard rushing performance of his WCU career and first this season … Spencer also finished with a career-best 110 receiving yards, four yards more than his previous career-high of 106 established at North Carolina in 2018 … All told, Spencer recorded a career-best 247 yards of total offense in the road win with three touchdowns – two on the ground and one through the air;
- With three TD passes, QB Tyrie Adams has a WCU school-record 62 in his career which ranks him sixth in Southern Conference history, just two shy of fifth-place (Jacob Huesman, UTC – 64, 2012-15) … In his career, Adams is now responsible for 80 career touchdowns, sole possession of seventh in SoCon history, one back of former App State QB Richie Williams (81, 2002-05);
- With a season-high 322 yards through the air, Adams tallied his second 300-yard passing game this season – and his first since the season-opening home loss to Mercer … Adams ranks fifth in SoCon history with 23 career games with 250-or-more total yards and is fourth with 16 career games of 300-plus yards of total offense, breaking the tie with former UTC quarterback Jacob Huesman (15, 2012-15);
- Adams’ 78-yard pass play to Spencer on WCU’s first offensive play represented the longest play from scrimmage for WCU this season – while also marking the longest pass play for both Adams and Spencer in their careers;
- Converted QB turned WR D.J. Thorpe hauled in his first career touchdown pass at VMI, catching a 13-yard strike from Adams midway through the first quarter ... Thorpe finished with two receptions for 24 yards in the game -- he has 23 receptions on the year, third on the team in 2019;
- Three Catamounts posted double-digit tackles in the road win at VMI, led by Michael Murphy with 11 – the fourth, double-digit tackle performance of his career … Linebackers Ty Harris and Trevor Childers both recorded 10 tackles in the victory representing the sixth and fifth times, respectively, that the two had posted double-figure stops;
- WCU’s defense came up with a season-best five takeaways on Saturday including four fumbles – three on defense and one on special teams – adding an interception by John Brannon, his third of the season to tie him for second in the SoCon statistics;
- Redshirt freshman placekicker Julian Pletz connected on a career single-game high of three field goals with two kicks of 40+ yards including a career-long 44-yarder … the three field goals by Pletz were the most by a Catamount kicker in a game since Will Horton connected on four field goals in the 2018 regular-season finale at North Carolina... Pletz finished with a career-best 13 points (3 field goals, 4 PATs).
- WCU’s team captains for Saturday’s afternoon’s game were: redshirt senior WR #2 Nate Mullen; sophomore DB #13 Ronald Kent, Jr; redshirt sophomore QB #15 Will Jones; and redshirt senior DB #22 JerMichael White;
- Western Carolina won the coin toss and deferred to the second half … VMI received the opening kickoff from WCU to open the game.