Feb. 8, 2013
Cullowhee, N.C. - Five home dates and three match-ups against Bowl Championship Subdivision (BCS) teams highlight the Catamounts' 2013 football schedule released today by Western Carolina and second-year head coach Mark Speir.
All start times and any additional game day information will be released at a later date.
The 2013 season opens prior to the Labor Day holiday and runs through mid-November with the opening round of the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) playoffs slated for Nov. 30. The expanded, 12-game schedule features four nonconference opponents including Mars Hill, Middle Tennessee, Virginia Tech and Auburn, in addition to the eight-game Southern Conference slate.
Combined, four of WCU's 2013 opponents played in post-season a year ago including three in the FCS playoffs.
"We're excited about the very challenging 2013 schedule," said Speir. "I think it's a great opportunity to play not only the always demanding Southern Conference slate, but also three Bowl Championship (BCS) caliber teams. Our players always look forward to playing against the bowl-level teams in some of the best stadiums in the country."
He added, "I was thrilled about the atmosphere created by our students, alumni and community at Whitmire Stadium in 2012. I look forward to building upon that with our five home dates in Cullowhee this fall."
Western Carolina opens the 2013 season with the first of back-to-back games against Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) teams when it travels to Murfreesboro, Tenn., to face Middle Tennessee, rekindling the series after a 32-year hiatus. The pre-Labor day, Thursday night meeting is the first between the two since 1981 - and will be the first game for MTSU under the Conference USA banner.
The Catamounts and Blue Raiders have met four times previously on the gridiron, all coming between 1973 and 1981 during a transitional time for WCU. The series is tied between the two at 2-2 with both Catamount victories coming on the road.
The following week, WCU travels to Blacksburg, Va., for the first-ever meeting with Virginia Tech at Lane Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 7. The Catamounts will be shooting for their first-ever win over a current member of the Atlantic Coast Conference, entering the game at 0-26 all-time against the ACC. The Hokies finished 7-6 a season ago, winning the Russell Athletic Bowl over Rutgers in Orlando, Fla.
WCU opens the home portion of its 2013 schedule with consecutive home dates beginning with its 2013 SoCon opener on Saturday, Sept. 14. The Catamounts host The Citadel Bulldogs at E.J. Whitmire Stadium / Bob Waters Field in Cullowhee before facing mountain-foe, Mars Hill, on Saturday, Sept. 21. Speir earned his first-ever victory as a head coach with last season's 42-14 win over the Lions as WCU claimed its 14th-straight victory in the all-time series.
The Catamounts play three-straight road games beginning Sept. 28 through Oct. 12 with two in SoCon play and two trips to the state of Alabama. WCU travels to Birmingham to face Samford on Sat., Sept. 28 followed a week later with a visit to Chattanooga, Tenn., to face the Mocs on the first Saturday of October.
On Oct. 12, WCU plays its third BCS opponent of the season, squaring off against the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium. It is the third all-time meeting between the two, and first since 2002.
Consecutive home dates round out the month of October as the Catamounts host perennial playoff contender, Wofford (Oct. 19) before welcoming the Elon Phoenix to Cullowhee for Homecoming on Saturday, Oct. 26. WCU will induct its 24th class into its Athletics Hall of Fame on Oct. 19, the same day the Catamounts battle the Terriers. Homecoming weekend (Oct. 25-27) will also include WCU's All-Sport Reunion.
After its bye week on Nov. 2, Western Carolina concludes the regular season with two of its final three games away from home. On Nov. 9, the Catamounts visit Georgia Southern - a FCS national semifinalist for the past two seasons - in Statesboro, Ga., looking for their first-ever victory over GSU at Paulson Stadium.
On the weekend of Nov. 16, the Catamounts wrap-up the home portion of their regular season by hosting Furman at Whitmire Stadium / Waters Field. In addition, WCU will honor its senior members of the football team, cheerleading squad, dance team and "Pride of the Mountains" Marching Band.
WCU wraps up its 2013 regular season with the 78th edition of the gridiron grudge match, the "Battle for the Old Mountain Jug" against archrival, Appalachian State. This year's game will be played in Boone, N.C., at Kidd Brewer Stadium. The traveling trophy in the oldest rivalry for both squads - the "Old Mountain Jug" will be up for grabs for the 38th time.
The first round of the NCAA FCS Playoffs is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 30.
Western Carolina's football team is amidst off-season strength and conditioning workouts with new strength coach, Evan Barr. WCU will hold a special National Signing Day reception on Monday, Feb. 11, in the Ramsey Center Hospitality Room beginning at 4:00 pm.
Speir and the coaching staff anticipate breaking winter gym and opening spring drills in Cullowhee on March 13 with the NCAA-mandated 15 practices to be spread over five weeks. Practice will culminate with a spring event scheduled for Saturday, April 20 in Cullowhee.
2013 Catamount Football Schedule
Thurs., Aug. 29 - at Middle Tennessee State (Murfreesboro, Tenn.)
Sat., Sept. 7 - at Virginia Tech (Blacksburg, Va.)
Sat., Sept. 14 - THE CITADEL * (Cullowhee)
Sat., Sept. 21 - MARS HILL (Cullowhee)
Sat., Sept. 28 - at Samford * (Birmingham, Ala.)
Sat., Oct. 5 - at Chattanooga * (Chattanooga, Tenn.)
Sat., Oct. 12 - at Auburn (Auburn, Ala.)
Sat., Oct. 19 - WOFFORD * (Cullowhee)
Sat., Oct. 26 - ELON * (Cullowhee)
Sat., Nov. 2 - OPEN
Sat., Nov. 9 - at Georgia Southern * (Statesboro, Ga.)
Sat., Nov. 16 - FURMAN * (Cullowhee)
Sat., Nov. 23 - at Appalachian State * (Boone, N.C.)
Sat., Nov. 30 - NCAA FCS Playoffs 1st Round (TBA)