Aug 30, 2013
Middle Tennessee 45, Western Carolina 24
Murfreesboro, Tenn. - Thursday, August 29, 2013
With the Loss...
- Western Carolina suffered its 11th-straight loss dating back to last season, and was relegated to its 27th consecutive loss to a NCAA Division I, Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) opponent;
- Thursday's defeat also marked WCU's first-ever loss to the Blue Raiders in Murfreesboro, Tenn. ... the Catamounts were previously 2-0 against MTSU on the road in the series ... the all-time series now stands at three win for Middle Tennessee (3-2) and two wins for WCU (2-3) ... Thursday night's game was the first between WCU and MTSU since 1981, ending a 32-year hiatus.
- For a second-straight season against a Conference USA opponent, WCU managed to put 24 points on the board, doing so last year in a 52-24 road loss to Marshall ... the 24 points are the most by a Catamount team against a FBS opponent since scoring 26 against Georgia Tech in a road loss back in 1994 (19 years) ... Since going NCAA Division I in 1984, WCU has scored 20-or-more points against a FBS team just seven times;
- After not officially naming a starting quarterback prior to Thursday night's season opener, redshirt junior Eddie Sullivan earned the opening snap in the WCU offensive backfield at Middle Tennessee ... Sophomore Troy Mitchell saw his first action in the Catamounts' second series of the game, orchestrating a nice drive before the Blue Raiders halted the 46-yard march on a fourth and short yardage;
- Middle Tennessee's Kyle Griswould returned a punt 57 yards for a second quarter touchdown ... It was the first punt return for a TD by MTSU since 2004 ... It was the first time since 2008 at Florida State that WCU had surrendered a punt return for a score;
- Midway through the second quarter, redshirt junior Ace Clark made his second career fumble recovery, returning it 18 yards ... It was WCU's first takeaway of the 2013 season and set up the Catamounts' first score of the season on a 21-yard Richard Sigmon field goal - a line-drive boot that was partially blocked but still found its way through the uprights;
- WCU fell to 14-24 in season openers since joining the Southern Conference in 1976 ... the Catamounts have lost four of their last five season openers with the lone exception in 2012 with the win over Mars Hill to open the year;
- Western Carolina was only missing a couple of key players for various reasons on Thursday night: quarterback Jawan Simmons and running back Darius Ramsey missed the game due to injury ... Senior defensive lineman Andre Shishkin was serving a one-game suspension for a violation of team rules.
Career Numbers Update:
- Western Carolina played 20, first-year players including 13 true freshmen and seven redshirt freshmen in Thursday night's season opener at Middle Tennessee ... Three true freshmen were among the starting lineup including one on offense (Terryon Robinson) and two on defense (Bryson Jordan, Trey Morgan);
- WCU quarterback Troy Mitchell matched his career-best for passing touchdowns, doing so in the first half ... His 161 yards passing were his fourth-most ever;
- Junior WR Jeff Moore led all receivers with a career-high six catches for 49 yards in the season-opener at Middle Tennessee;
- Junior WR Karnorris Benson recorded the first career 100-yard game of his WCU career, tallying a career-best 113 yards on four catches with a touchdown ... It was WCU's first 100-yard receiver in four games dating back to the Elon game on Oct. 20, 2012;
- Junior Shaun Warren collected his seventh rushing touchdown of his career on Thursday evening, matching his seasonal total from a year ago.
- Western Carolina's team captains for Thursday evening's game were: redshirt junior defensive back #28 Ace Clark; senior punter #38 Clark Sechrest; senior offensive lineman #52 Quevalas Murray; and senior offensive lineman #72 Vince Williams ... Western Carolina won the opening coin toss and deferred to the second half ... Middle Tennessee received the opening kickoff.