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Catamount Football Opens 2016 Season Saturday at East Carolina

Preseason SoCon Offensive Player of the Year - and team captain - Detrez Newsome (21) leads the Catamounts to East Carolina on Saturday night.
Sept. 2, 2016

Western Carolina at East Carolina - Game Day Central

Related Link: ECU Game Day Information

Cullowhee, N.C. - Western Carolina opens its 2016 football season on Saturday (Sept. 3) evening as the Catamounts visit directional, in-state rival, East Carolina at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. Kickoff from Greenville is scheduled for just after 6:00 pm.

Saturday's season-opening game will be broadcast online on ESPN3 and via the WatchESPN app with Matt Stewart and longtime football coach, Watson Brown, on the call. Saturday's meeting represents the 31st all-time between the two directional rivals, but the first since 1981 -- halting a 35-year hiatus.

Fans can also follow the live play-by-play on the Catamount Sports Network on eight, over-the-air affiliates including 540 AM WRGC, Sylva; ESPN Radio 1310 / 970 AM WISE, Asheville/Canton; 1270 AM WCGC, Belmont; 1050 AM & 104.9 WFCS, Franklin; ESPN Radio 97.3 FM, Asheville; and WWCU-FM, Power 90dot5 locally in Cullowhee. The broadcast can also be heard online through the official athletics website, via Stretch Internet.

Weather associated with Tropical Storm Hermine could affect Saturday's game, though the latest forecasts are calling for the bulk of the rain associated with the system to fall on Friday and overnight into Saturday morning. Though Pitt County remains under a Tropical Storm Warning, forecasters are predicting unseasonably mild temperatures and gusty winds with just a few stray showers on game day.

East Carolina has delayed the opening of its tailgating parking lots until 2:00 pm on Saturday instead of the originally scheduled Noon opening. For more information on any status change of Saturday's game, visit, or check WCU's social media outlets @Catamounts or on Facebook.

Western Carolina at East Carolina - Game Notes



Western Carolina vs. East Carolina -- The Series:
- In-state, directional rivals Western Carolina and East Carolina halt a 35-year hiatus with the 2016 season-opener at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium ... WCU trails ECU, 13-17, in the all-time series ... Of the 30 previous meetings, 16 have been played in Greenville (WCU trails, 4-12) ... WCU has dropped seven-straight meetings in the head-to-head series, each coming in Greenville;
- The all-time series between the Catamounts and Pirates began back in 1936 in Greenville -- a 7-6 Western Carolina victory in the first of back-to-back wins ... the teams met regularly until the outbreak of World War II with the Catamounts claiming four of the first six meetings overall ... Following the 1941 meeting, the series lay dormant until 1946 ... All told, WCU won eight of the first 10 series meetings from 1936 to 1949 ... The two schools met regularly until 1963 before a second break between games, renewing the series in 1975 with six games over a seven-year period, all won by East Carolina;
- Though both schools have been members of the Southern Conference, the two never crossed paths as the Pirates, which entered the SoCon in 1964, left the league in 1976 -- the same year WCU accepted an invitation to join its current league;
- WCU's last victory over East Carolina came back in 1962 by a score of 20-16 ... Ironically enough, the series resumes in 2016 ... WCU's last road victory over the Pirates came the year prior in 1961 as the Catamounts edged ECU, 7-6, in Greenville.

Familiar Faces in the Western Carolina vs. East Carolina Match-Up:
- Western Carolina running backs coach Jason Nichols is a 1998 ECU graduate ... He finished his four-year playing career as the Pirates' all-time leader in career receptions with 152 -- a mark that continues to rank fourth in ECU's record books ... Nichols ranks just outside the top 10 in the Pirates' ledgers for career receiving yards with 1,557 ... While a player in Greenville, N.C., Nichols was a part of back-to-back Liberty Bowl appearances with ECU;
- Current East Carolina Director of Athletics Jeff Compher was previously AD at Western Carolina from 2000 through 2004 ... Associate AD for Media Relations Jody Jones was also on the athletics staff in Cullowhee in the late 1990s through 2000.