Oct. 5, 2012
Cullowhee, N.C. - Western Carolina welcomes home its alumni and friends for its annual Homecoming on Saturday afternoon, hosting the eighth-ranked Georgia Southern Eagles in Southern Conference at E.J. Whitmire Stadium / Bob Waters Field. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 pm.
WCU (1-4, 0-3 SoCon) is coming off a road loss at Furman last Saturday. The last time the Catamounts were suited up on the turf at Whitmire Stadium, they carried an 11-point lead into the fourth quarter in a promising yet disappointing four-point loss to Samford. Georgia Southern (3-1, 2-1 SoCon) comes into the game winners of back-to-back home games including last weekend's 35-17 win over then No. 25 Samford. The Eagles have lost their only road game of the season, 23-21, at The Citadel back on Sept. 8.
Saturday's game will be broadcast by the Catamount Sports Network with air time of 2:30 pm across nine stations and online at CatamountSports.com. Fans can listen to the game locally on WWCU-FM, Power 90dot5 in Cullowhee; 540 AM WRGC in Sylva; 1050 AM WFSC in Franklin; 920 AM WPTL in Canton; on ESPN Radio 1310 and 970 AM in Asheville/Canton; 1600 AM WTZQ in Hendersonville; 1150 AM WAVO in Charlotte/Rock Hill, S.C.; and 1270 AM WCGC in Belmont/Gaston County.
In addition to Homecoming in Cullowhee, WCU athletics is also holding it's first-ever "Catamount Legacy All Sports Reunion" where it is inviting back all former student-athletes, managers and athletic trainers for a special weekend of reunion events.
Western Carolina trails in the all-time series with Georgia Southern, 2-20, with both victories coming in Cullowhee back in 1941 and 1994. The Catamounts have dropped 17-straight games in the head-to-head series dating back to the '94 victory - a 35-31 win in Cullowhee.
During the current drought against GSU, there have been numerous close calls. Most recently - during the 2008 meeting - the Catamounts took a commanding 28-point, 31-3, lead in the fourth quarter following a 31-yard interception return for a touchdown by defensive lineman, Gene Singletary. However, the Eagles matched the biggest comeback for a victory in FCS football history, knotting the game 32 seconds to play and then winning in overtime, 38-31.
Another close call to halting the streak came during the 1998 season in Cullowhee - when now GSU head coach, Jeff Monken, was an assistant with the Eagles. Georgia Southern came up the mountain undefeated on the season and marched out to a 14-0 first quarter lead. However, the Catamounts answered with two TDs of their own in the second quarter to tie the game at intermission.
One of GSU's all-time greats, running back Adrian Peterson, put the Eagles back in front with a one-yard plunge in the third quarter, but Darius Hooks scored midway through the fourth as the two teams were deadlocked until the final two minutes of regulation. The Eagles got the go-ahead score followed by an interception to thwart any WCU comeback chance. GSU went on to be a national runner-up under then head coach - and WCU alum - Paul Johnson.
In addition to the drought against GSU, Western Carolina enters Saturday also looking to snap a 17-game SoCon losing skid that dates back to early October of 2010.
One additional storyline for Saturday is the "homecoming" of sorts for two former WCU student-athletes now coaching at Georgia Southern. Eagle defensive line coach and special teams coordinator, John Scott (1995-98) is a 2000 graduate of WCU - as is his wife, the former Stephanie McKoy. Scott continues to rank 10th in WCU school history with 31 career tackles for loss. Also GSU wide receivers coach, Lamont Seward (2000-03) is on staff in Statesboro. Seward, a 2003 graduate, hauled in 190 receptions during his four-year career in Cullowhee, a mark that continues to rank third in school history and 10th in the SoCon ledgers.
Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 pm.
Things to know before you go: - Gates at E.J. Whitmire Stadium / Bob Waters Field open 90 minutes prior to kickoff for all home games ... On Saturday afternoon, fans can enter the stadium for pre-game beginning at 2:00 pm ... Tailgating with alcoholic beverages is permitted three and a half hours prior to kickoff, beginning at Noon;
- Game day ticket sales and Will Call for Saturday's game will take place at the Northwest Ticket Booth (Gate 1, main stadium entrance) beginning at 10:00 am;
- Fans can avoid the lines on game day by printing Will Call tickets online at CatamountSports.com;
- Western Carolina has a no re-admittance policy to the stadium ... Also, umbrellas, coolers and alcoholic beverages are not allowed inside the stadium;
- Gate 2, which in years past has served as the main student entrance, WILL NOT be open for entry throughout the 2012 season ... Students and fans need to use Gate 3 at the top of the stairs or Gate 4 along Forest Hills Drive to gain access to the East Side stadium.