Aug. 31, 2012
Western Carolina 42, Mars Hill 14
E.J. Whitmire Stadium / Bob Waters Field
Cullowhee, N.C. - Aug. 30, 2012
With the win...
- First-year head coach Mark Speir scored his first collegiate head coaching victory ... It also marks the third-consecutive WCU first-year head coach to win their debut game;
- Halts a nine-game losing skid and ends a five-game home winless streak, both dating back to last season ... WCU's last win prior to Thursday night was the home-opening victory over Mars Hill a season ago;
- Western Carolina improved to 14-23 in season openers since moving into E.J. Whitmire Stadium in 1974 ... the win over Mars Hill on Thursday night halted a string of three-straight losses in the season opener as the Catamounts fell to Vanderbilt, North Carolina State and Georgia Tech from 2009-11;
- The Catamounts are now 28-10 in home openers ... All toll WCU has won 18 of the last 21 home openers dating back to 1992;
- WCU claimed its 14th-straight victory over Mars Hill in the all-time, head-to-head series.
- Western Carolina's 42-14 victory over Mars Hill marked the largest margin of victory for the Catamounts since defeating Shorter College, 35-0, back in 2008 ... It was also the debut game for first-year head coach Dennis Wagner;
- Western Carolina posted four scoring drives of 10-plays of more during the win over Mars Hill on Thursday night;
- WCU freshman quarterback Troy Mitchell became the third true freshman to start at quarterback for Western Carolina since 1992 ... He joined Chad Greene and Brandon Pechloff as rookies to earn the starting nod at QB;
- Mitchell scored the first points of the season for Western Carolina with his first career rushing touchdown ... the dual-threat QB found the end zone with a five-yard scamper in the second quarter that gave WCU a 7-0 lead ... He added a second score on the ground in the fourth quarter with a seven yard rush;
- Senior tailback Michael Johnson matched his career-best with a pair of rushing touchdowns marking the third time in his WCU career that the Decatur, Ga., native had scored two TDs on the ground in a single game;
- Johnson was one of four different running backs to see action for WCU in the opener ... True freshman running back Darius Ramsey eclipsed the 100 yard mark in rushing with 120 yards in the game against Mars Hill;
- Redshirt sophomore defensive back Trevor Taylor scored WCU's first defensive touchdown on the year, corralling a bouncing fumble on the first play of scrimmage of the second half and returning the fumble recovery for six open the third quarter;
- Redshirt sophomore Ace Clark came away with WCU's first interception and the first pick of his WCU career - with an INT in the fourth quarter of Thursday night's win over Mars Hill;
- Sophomore Richard Sigmon was 2-for-3 in field goal attempts in his first action as the field goal kicker for Western Carolina ... He also ran in a two-point conversion, the first of his career ... He handled kickoffs for the Catamounts in 2011;
- Western Carolina forced four Mars Hill turnovers - three fumbles and one interception ... WCU's three fumble recoveries came from senior Rock Williams, junior Courtland Carson and redshirt junior De'Von Richardson.