Cullowhee, N.C. - Western Carolina looks to get back on track Saturday as it hosts the Wofford College Terriers in its 2014 Southern Conference home opener at E.J. Whitmire Stadium / Bob Waters Field before a live ESPN3 audience. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 pm with both teams looking to stay unbeaten in league play.
Darren Goldwater, a familiar voice to Southern Conference fans, has the play-by-play call with former Univ. of South Carolina standout, Corey Miller, providing the color analysis on the ESPN3 coverage.
Saturday's game will be broadcast on the Catamount Sports Network with air time of the Pepsi Tailgate Show at 2:30 pm. Fans can listen to all of the action locally on WWCU-FM Power 90dot5 in Cullowhee; 540 AM WRCG in Sylva; 1050 AM WFSC in Franklin; ESPN Radio 1310 and 970 in Asheville/Canton; and in Gaston County on 1270 AM WCGC.
Catamount Sports.com is also a hub for game coverage on Saturday afternoon with a couple ways to catch the game. Live streaming audio from the Catamount Sports Network through Stretch Internet is available free of charge with free GameTracker provided through CBS interactive.
Please note that with the ESPN3 stream, there will be no Southern Conference Digital Network feed of Saturday's football game.
Western Carolina (3-2, 1-0 SoCon), which has lost two games this season by a combined nine points - five point loss at USF (36-31) and four points at Presbyterian (19-14) - looks to remain unbeaten both in Southern Conference play (1-0) and at home (2-0). The Catamounts look to halt an eight-game slide against the Terriers - a feat they nearly accomplished a season ago as then 12th-ranked Wofford held off the upset-minded Catamounts, 21-17, in Cullowhee with a last-second goal line stand.
Standing in the way is the triple-option wingbone offensive attack of the Terriers which has ground out an average of 400 yards on the ground in each of the meetings since 2005 - WCU's last victory in the series. The '05 meeting had big significance because the 24-0 Catamount win represents Wofford's only shutout loss to a SoCon team since joining the league in 1997, and the first of just two shutout defeats during that same timeframe.
Who WCU will start at quarterback remains undetermined through Friday's walk-thru session at Whitmire Stadium / Waters Field. Junior Troy Mitchell, who suffered an injury to his throwing (right) shoulder in the third quarter at Presbyterian, remains listed as a game-time decision after the hour-long workout on Friday evening.
Mitchell underwent an MRI on Monday and was reevaluated on Wednesday, at which point he was cleared to start throwing as of Thursday if there wasn't any pain. Mitchell did throw during Thursday's two-hour practice session and again at Friday's walk-thru.
If Mitchell is unable to play on Saturday, WCU head coach Mark Speir and offensive coordinator Brad Glenn will make the decision between Asheville, N.C., senior Garrett Brown, and true freshman Wes Holcombe from Rabun Gap, Ga.
WCU has an arsenal of offensive weapons. Junior tailback Darius Ramsey ranks fifth in the SoCon in rushing (77.4 yds/gm) while sophomore receiver Terryon Robinson leads the league with an average of 5.2 receptions per game. Robinson is followed closely by teammates Willie Police (5th, 4.4 rec/gm) and Spearman Robinson (8th, 4.0 rec/gm) with the latter also ranking third in receiving yards per outing at 60.8.
The Catamounts have scored this season, too, with Spearman Robinson hauling in five receiving scores and tailbacks Ramsey (five TDS) and freshman Detrez Newsome (six TDs) combining for 11 rushing scores.
But many agree that the key will be on the defensive side of the football for the Catamounts against the Wofford offense. The Terriers are averaging 32.6 points per game - fourth in the league - while amassing 395 yards of total offense per game (3rd) including a league-leading 307.4 rushing yards per game.
The Catamounts will count on veteran linebackers senior Christon Gill and junior Sertonuse Harris. Gill ranks fourth in the SoCon with an average of 8.4 tackles per game, and recorded 12 stops earlier this season against the option attack of Brevard College.
A Western Carolina win would halt the eight-game slide to the Terriers in the all-time series, while also giving WCU a slim, 9-8, lead in the series in games played in Cullowhee - also ending a four-game drought. The Catamounts are looking for their best start to SoCon play since 2003 which would be just the ninth 2-0 start since joining the league in 1977.
Festivities in Cullowhee get underway on Saturday at high Noon as the Catamount volleyball team welcomes former league foe, East Tennessee State, back to the conference. Kickoff of the football game is at 3:30 pm.
Things to Know Before You Go:
Where to Park:
General Admission parking is available in the following parking lots on the WCU campus: Camp Lab, H.F. Robinson Building, and both the North and South Baseball Lots;
Catamount Club Reserved Parking Lots (parking pass required) include: Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center, Jordan-Phillips Field House, Football Stadium, and Creek Lots ... All patrons with parking passes should enter the FOREST HILLS ROAD (third stop light) entrance to campus, display parking credential to gain access to Catamount Road;
Where to Buy Tickets:
Purchase - and PRINT - tickets in advance through CatamountSports.com.
On Game Day:
WCU Athletic Ticket Office - (828) 227-2401 - will open beginning at 8:00 AM until kickoff time at 3:30 pm;
Gate 1 Ticket Sales at Gate 1 on the West Side of the stadium opens at 10:00 am;
Ticket sales at all other gates being at 1:00 pm - Gates 2, 3, and 4;
Smokey Mountain Youth Football Day:
Fans who purchased a voucher from a player, coach or cheerleader of the Smokey Mountain Youth Football League MUST redeem the voucher for a game ticket at one of the stadium gate ticket windows;
Players and cheerleaders of the Smokey Mountain Youth Football League will be admitted free with their jersey or uniform - but will still need to get a physical ticket to gain entry.
Remember to bring proper photo identification to pick up tickets at WCU's Will Call;
Main Will Call for picking up purchased tickets is at Gate 1;
Guests of WCU Chancellor Dr. David Belcher can pick up tickets at Will Call at Gate 4;
WCU Football Player's Guest will utilize Gate 6; as well as Dance/Cheer Guests: Gate 6;
Football Recruits: Hospitality, enter through door next to truck tunnel. After 1:50 p.m. go to Gate 6;
Once player pass tickets are picked up, the individual MUST enter the game;
All Other Recruits: Gate 6;
NC High School Coaches: Present Card to any Ticket Booth and receive up to TWO free admission tickets ... Pick up tickets from any ticket booth - not the player pass location.
Purple Reserved: Adult $25 Youth (Ages 3-12) $15 (All Gates);
Gold Reserved: Sections G, GG Seating Only. Adult $25 Youth (Ages 3-12) $10 (All Gates).
Game Day Promotions:
Gather to cheer on the Catamounts during the "Cat Walk" to the stadium at approximately 1:15 pm in the Stadium and Field House parking lots;
ESPN Radio 1310 / 970 AM out of Asheville will be broadcasting live from 1:30 pm until 3:30 pm at the stadium - stop by to say hello to the WISE Guys - Pat Ryan and Bill McClement;
Be sure to make your plans to stick around after the Western Carolina - Wofford football game for a Smokey Mountain Youth Football League showdown between Murphy and Jackson County;
The Catamount Club:
The Purple Zone (requires credential): Located on the Ramsey Center Patio - is open from 1:00 pm until 3:00 pm;
Paws Porch (requires ticket): Located on the Patio of the Jordan Phillips Fieldhouse: Doors open at 3:00 pm.