Cullowhee, N.C. - Western Carolina hits the road this Saturday looking to halt a seven-game slide away from the friendly confines of E.J. Whitmire Stadium / Bob Waters Field as the Catamounts (1-1) visit the Gardner-Webb Runnin' Bulldogs (0-2) at Spangler Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:00 pm.
The Catamounts and Runnin' Bulldogs play the second game of a four-year series between the two in-state rivals. WCU erupted in the second half offensively to break-open a 17-14 halftime score in claiming last year's series meeting in Cullowhee, 44-14, to take a slim, 4-3, series lead. The series is tied, 1-1, in games played in Boiling Springs with WCU last winning in 2010, 28-14, after an overtime loss in 2004 (26-20).
Quarterback Tyrie Adams amassed a school-record 510 yards of total offense (427 yards passing, 83 yards rushing) in last year's home victory over Gardner-Webb. The Catamounts finished with 690 total yards in the win, and are one week removed from shattering a 48-year old school record for yardage in a single game after posting 778 total yards last Saturday against Davidson.
Two of the top players in the country will be on display on Saturday as both WCU tailback Detrez Newsome and Gardner-Webb quarterback Tyrell Maxwell both graced the season's first Walter Payton Award Watch List. Newsome, a three-time post-season All-America selection a year ago and a two-time honoree in the 2017 preseason, is coming off a school-record 288 rushing yards that earned him Southern Conference Player of the Week plaudits. He'll be matched up against a stingy Runnin' Bulldog defense that is only allowing 91 rushing yards per game through its first two outings.
Maxwell, the top offensive player in the Big South Conference both in the 2016 postseason and 2017 preseason voting, has struggled early this season as GWU has yet to find the end zone two games in. The senior signal caller has completed just 36-percent of his passes (8-of-22) with two interceptions and 56 total yards. On the ground, he is the Runnin' Bulldogs leading rusher, but has just 79 total yards or 39.5 yards per game.
Fans can catch the broadcast of Saturday's game live across Western North Carolina and the Upstate of South Carolina on My40 WMYA-TV with Jason Patterson (play-by-play) and Tom Van Hoy (color) on the call. The game will have a simulcast online stream through the Big South Network, online at BigSouthNetwork.com/watch.
Saturday's game will also be broadcast on the Catamount Sports Network with air time of the Pepsi Tailgate Show at 5:00 pm. Fans can listen to all of the action locally on WWCU-FM Power 90dot5 in Cullowhee; 540 AM WRGC in Sylva; 104.9 FM & 1050 AM WFSC in Franklin; WISE Sports Radio 1310 / 970 AM and 97.3 FM in Asheville/Canton; and with live streaming audio available online at CatamountSports.com.
A limited number of tickets for Saturday's game in the Western Carolina section can be purchased through the WCU Athletics Ticket Office by calling (800) 34-GOWCU or (828) 227-2401.
Western Carolina head football coach Mark Speir sat down for a video conversation, recapping the first two weeks of the regular season including last Saturday's record-setting victory over the Davidson Wildcats before turning his attention to this week's challenge at Gardner-Webb.