Aug 14, 2013
Cullowhee, N.C. - Western Carolina's offense chewed up just over 600 yards including 379 through the air and 233 on the ground on Wednesday afternoon as the Catamounts held their second scrimmage of the preseason. WCU's offensive unit scored nine touchdowns and added a pair of field goals while the defense tallied stops on 12 of the 25 total series, including taking away a pair of fumbles in the squad's 16th practice session of 2013.
Redshirt junior Eddie Sullivan and sophomore Troy Mitchell saw the bulk of the action at quarterback, rotating series with varying personnel. Sullivan held the statistical edge in the scrimmage, completing 18-of-28 passes for 235 yards and three touchdowns while Mitchell finished 10-for-16 for 102 yards and two TDs, neither tossing an interception. Mitchell added 54 yards on 10 rushes and a two-yard touchdown while Sullivan rushed five times for 20 yards.
Redshirt freshman Jonah Duggan orchestrated a 65-yard scoring drive during his lone series in the backfield, completing all three pass attempts for 42 yards and a touchdown. The Charlotte, N.C., native also rushed one time for an eight-yard gain.
A combined 13 different players caught passes during Wednesday's scrimmage with redshirt freshman Seth Curtis leading the way in both receptions and yards. The Murphy, N.C., product hauled in six passes for 77 yards including a 20-yard TD reception. Curtis' classmate, Gary Richardson, tallied a pair of touchdowns, reaching the end zone on the receiving end of scoring strikes of five and three yards, respectively.
Redshirt junior Jeff Moore caught three passes for 49 yards while senior Jamil James ranked second in receiving yards with 61 coming on two catches of 24 and 37 yards. Junior Karnorris Benson, who led the Catamounts in receiving in their first scrimmage, caught two passes for 25 yards on Wednesday.
On the ground, five different running backs carried the ball with freshman Garry Lewis toting the pigskin a team-high 14 times for a team-leading 61 yards. Sophomore Darius Ramsey rushed 11 times for 59 yards with junior Shaun Warren scoring two touchdowns among his seven carries, totaling 19 yards. Warren also added a third score on the afternoon with a receiving TD, the offense's first points of the scrimmage.
Western Carolina's defensive unit managed stops on each of the first three possessions, recording its first takeaway of the scrimmage on the second series. Warren was stripped as he reached the line by freshman Daniel Nash with classmate Tahjai Watt falling on the loose football for his first of two fumble recoveries.
On the fourth series from scrimmage, the offensive unit found pay-dirt, moving 75 yards in 14 plays with Sullivan at the reins. The drive was spurred by a 24-yard reception by James and a 21-yard reception by Curtis. The drive was capped on a third-and-10 play as Sullivan found Warren open to the right side for a 14-yard pitch-and-catch.
Following two successful series by the offense to move out of the shadow of their own goal posts off the two-yard line, the defense was able to regain some footing on the seventh drive of the day. WCU's offense drove into the red zone and to the goal line, but was stuffed at the one-yard line on a third-down play by senior Brian Johnson, forcing what would be a successful field goal attempt.
The Catamount offense again reached the end zone in the ninth series of the day as Duggan found Richardson from five yards out, capping a drive that was highlighted by Jeff Moore's two catches totaling 37 yards.
WCU's defense stiffened over the next three series, however, forcing a three-and-out as a part of three-consecutive stops.
Western Carolina's offense then used the big play to record scores on the 13th and 14th series of the afternoon. Sullivan hooked up with tight end Michael Helms Jr., for a 40-yard scoring strike with the converted tight end running through defenders into the purple and gold end zone. On the ensuing possession, Mitchell found Garrett Brown down the left sideline for a 30-yard scoring strike.
Among the final 11 series, the defense recorded five stops, allowing five touchdowns and a field goal through the remainder of the scrimmage, though three of the TDs and the field goal all came on drives starting inside the 10-yard line.
Defensively, a combined 13 different players recorded four-or-more tackles during the scrimmage for the Purple & Gold. Redshirt senior defensive lineman Andre Shishkin had a busy afternoon, credited with a team-leading eight stops, a pass break-up on a deflection, a quarterback hurry and forcing a fumble. Trevor Taylor was second with seven stops.
Defensive back Trey Morgan finished with five tackles and a pair of pass break-ups while seniors Courtland Carson and De'Von Richardson also finished with five stops apiece, one more than classmates Ben Watkins and Andre Whitmire with four apiece. Also turning in strong scrimmage performances were linebacker Jeff Lucas with five tackles and K.P. Hicks who finished with five stops including a tackle for loss.
During special teams drills, preseason All-Southern Conference selection Clark Sechrest punted a combined five times for an average of 42.6 yards per punt while redshirt freshman Blake Metcalf tallied three kicks for an average of 46.7 yards. Sechrest additionally connected on both field goals, splitting the uprights on attempts of 18 and 23 yards while finishing 2-for-2 on PATs. Metcalf hit all three of his point after attempts.
Junior kicker Richard Sigmon led the way by going a perfect 4-for-4 on PATs.
WCU will hold its 17th practice of the preseason on Thursday afternoon with a scheduled two-hour session in helmets and shoulder pads slated for 2:30 pm. The team will again scrimmage on Saturday with the session slated to begin at 10:00 am.
Garry Lewis - 14 carries, 61 yds
Darius Ramsey - 11 carries, 59 yds
Troy Mitchell - 10 carries, 54 yards, TD
Shaun Warren - 7 carries, 19 yds, TD
Eddie Sullivan - 5 carries, 20 yds
Brandon Grady - 3 carries, 9 yds
David Giron - 3 carries, 3 yds
Jonah Duggan - 1 carry, 8 yds
Seth Curtis - 6 catches, 77 yds, TD
Shaun Warren - 5 catches, 24 yds, TD
Jeff Moore - 3 catches, 49 yds
Gary Richardson - 3 catches, 21 yds, 2 TDs
Jamil James - 2 catches, 61 yds
Garrett Brown - 2 catches, 29 yds, TD
Karnorris Benson - 2 catches, 25 yds
Willie Police - 2 catches, 12 yds
John Sullivan - 2 catches, 3 yds
Michael Helms Jr. - 1 catch, 40 yds, TD
Darius Ramsey - 1 catch, 22 yds
Steffon Hill - 1 catch, 16 yds
Garry Lewis - 1 catch, 4 yds
Andre Shishkin - 8 tackles, FF, 1 PBU, 1 QBH
Trevor Taylor - 7 tackles
Trey Morgan - 5 tackles, 2 PBU
Courtland Carson - 5 tackles with 1 TFL
K.P. Hicks - 5 tackles with 1 TFL
De'Von Richardson - 5 tackles with Sack
John McBeth - 5 tackles with Sack, QBH
Tyson Dickson - 5 tackles
Jeff Lucas - 5 tackles
Daniel Nash - 4 tackles, FF, 1 PBU
Andre Whitmire - 4 tackles with 1 TFL
Christon Gill - 4 tackles
Ben Watkins - 4 tackles
Tahjai Watt - 3 tackles, 2 FR, 1 QBH