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Boiling Springs, N.C.Tyrie Adams accounted for 214 yards of total offense, tossing two touchdown passes including one to Connell Young who tallied a pair of scores as Western Carolina improved to 2-0 for the first-time since 2006 with a 28-10 road victory over Gardner-Webb Friday night in nonconference action at Spangler Stadium.

Young accounted for 171 all-purpose yards including a career-best 105 yards on the ground, bookending the Catamount scoring with touchdowns – a 33-yard receiving score and a 31-yard scoring romp in the fourth quarter. Adams also eclipsed the century mark with 106 on the ground as the Catamounts chewed up 325 rushing yards under windy conditions caused by the outer edges of Hurricane Florence.

Entering the game with a 75.7 career completion percentage against Gardner-Webb, Adams finished Friday’s breezy rescheduled affair 13-for-24 (54%) for 108 yards, but delivered two passing strikes including one to Young and a game-changing three-yard strike to Daquan Patten just before halftime. Patten’s first career receiving TD made it 21-10 at the break.

WCU redshirt freshman QB Will Jones also saw action, rushing for a career-best 22 yards and completing 3-of-4 passes for 42 yards in orchestrating a second quarter scoring drive, finding TE Owen Cosenke on a 15-yard TD strike.

Western Carolina used a pair of double-digit yard rushes by Adams and Young to spark a game-opening five-play scoring drive, capped by the 33-yard TD pass by the aforementioned duo to grab the 7-0 first quarter lead. However, midway through the frame, Gardner-Webb ground-out a 10-play scoring drive to knot the game at seven apiece. The Runnin’ Bulldog drive featured a pair of third down conversions including a 30-yard pass play on a third and 18 near midfield. Tailback Jayln Cagle finished the drive with an 11-yard touchdown rush.

The longest scoring drive of the night for the Catamounts spanned the end of the first quarter and two plays into the second. With Adams shaken-up after the fifth play of the 12-play drive following a 15-yard scamper, Jones took the reins and marched the field to the end zone, finding Cosenke over the middle for a 15-yard passing TD and a 14-7 lead.

After GWU cut the deficit to four, 14-10, on a 41-yard Tre’ Jackson field goal, the Catamounts tacked on a third TD to close the opening half with a 70-yard drive aided by a personal foul penalty. On fourth and goal from the three-yard line, the Catamounts opted not to attempt a field goal into the wind but left it in Adams’ hands who found Patten to his left just beyond the line of scrimmage and the shifty receiver slipped between two blockers and across the goal line for the score.

Following a scoreless third quarter, Western Carolina added an insurance score following the second of two JerMichael White interceptions as Young rumbled in from 31 yards out to provide the final tally.

In addition to White’s pair of interceptions, classmate Jacquez Williams sacked Gardner-Webb QB Jordan Smith twice as the WCU defense got to the redshirt freshman signal-caller five times in the win, spearheading the defensive effort that blanked the Runnin’ Bulldogs (1-2) in the second half. The Catamounts smothered the GWU offense after the break, limiting the home squad to 73 yards of total offense after the break including just 22 yards of total offense in the third quarter. All told, WCU limited the Runnin’ Bulldogs just 97 rushing yards on the night thanks to 31 yards in sack losses.

Senior Mitchell Chancey was credited with a team-high 10 tackles as the Catamounts finished the night with 11 tackles for 49 yards in losses as a unit. Making his season debut, sophomore linebacker Ty Harris had a career-best eight tackles including a sack while Michael Murphy finished with seven stops including five solo and a sack.

For Gardner-Webb, Cagle finished with 83 yards rushing yards and the first quarter touchdown while Smith threw for 149 yards on 13-of-30 passes with the two picks. Tre’ Jackson nailed a 41 yard field goal to complete GWU’s scoring.

Western Carolina (2-0) returns home next Saturday, Sept. 22 to face the VMI Keydets on Family Weekend in Cullowhee. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 pm in a game that will be broadcast on the Catamount Sports Network with a television broadcast locally on WMYA-TV, My40 out of Asheville and also on ESPN+ (subscription required). Fans can purchase tickets for the Southern Conference opener in advance online at CatamountSports.com.

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