Related Link: Things to Know Before You Go
Related Link: E.J. Whitmire Stadium / Bob Waters Field Information
Cullowhee, N.C. - The mountain-rivalry between Western Carolina and East Tennessee State will be renewed on Saturday (Oct. 14) afternoon as the nationally-ranked Catamounts host the Buccaneers for the first time since 2002. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 pm on a day full of activities across the Cullowhee Valley.
Individual game tickets for Saturday, as well as special mini-plans for the remaining three home dates that also includes the Oct. 28 Homecoming date with Furman, are on sale now through the WCU Athletics Ticket Office on the first floor of the Ramsey Center or online at CatamountSports.com.
Fans can follow Saturday's game vs. ETSU on the Catamount Sports Network with air time of the Pepsi Pregame Show at 2:30 pm ahead of the 3:30 pm kickoff. The "Voice of the Catamounts," Gary Ayers will be joined by Greg McLamb, Jeff Bryson, and Dan Gibson on the call. Fans can listen to the CSN broadcast 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.
WCU's broadcast production can also be seen on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app with Daniel Hooker calling the play-by-play, Kyle Rush on color commentary, and Katie Miller patrolling the sidelines.
Western Carolina (4-2, 2-1 SoCon) enters the week ranked in both national polls for the first time since 2006. The Catamounts cracked the FCS Coaches Poll at No. 25 this week after sitting one spot outside the recognized ranks a week ago, while climbing to No. 21 in the STATS FCS media polling. WCU looks to rebound from an overtime road loss last Saturday at No. 5 Wofford as it opens the second half of its 2017 schedule -- directly in the middle, six games into the 12-game slate.
ETSU (3-3, 1-2 SoCon) comes to Cullowhee following an impressive defensive showing against Robert Morris last Saturday, downing the Colonials, 16-3, on Homecoming in Johnson City. The Bucs held RMU -- a member of the Northeast Conference (NEC) -- to just 211 total yards of offense that included limiting the squad from Moon Township, Pa., to just 28 yards rushing. ETSU has won two of its last three games on the year including an overtime victory over Mercer back on Sept. 23.
The Bucs look to shake a lengthy drought of their own, seeking their first road victory in Southern Conference play since 2002 -- ironically enough, a 27-7 road win at Western Carolina in ETSU's last visit to Cullowhee.
WCU holds a slight lead in the all-time series with ETSU, 23-22-1, following last year's road loss in a game held inside the "Last Great Colosseum," -- the World's Fastest Half Mile, the Bristol Motor Speedway. The Catamounts raced to the early, 21-3, lead before the Bucs cashed in a WCU turnover just before intermission and scored on each of their four second-half possessions to grind out a 34-31 victory. All told, the last six series meetings have been split evenly, 3-3.
Additional Story Lines in Saturday's Meeting with ETSU:
YET ANOTHER STREAK TO BUST: With WCU among the national rankings for the first time since 2006, the Catamounts look to halt a SEVEN-GAME drought AS a ranked team ... It is the second-straight week the Catamounts have a chance to halt the slide ... WCU's last win while ranked in the FCS polls came back in Oct., 1994, a 33-7 road win at VMI ... the Catamounts are 20-19-1 all-time when there's a number beside their name that includes a 13-6 mark in games played in Cullowhee;
AERIAL ATTACK: Two of the top three passing attacks in the Southern Conference will be on display Saturday in Cullowhee ... WCU ranks second in the SoCon with a 244.3 passing yard per game average -- just ahead of ETSU's passing attack that averages 243.2 yards per game ... The ranks are flipped individually as Buccaneer QB Austin Herink is second in the league in passing while WCU's Tyrie Adams ranks third -- despite that, WCU has two of the top five receivers (Terryon Robinson & Steffon Hill) while ETSU has balance with five players with double-digit receptions;
CATAMOUNTS LOOK TO KEEP PACE IN TIGHT SOCON RACE: WCU looks for a home win to stay in the race for the SoCon championship ... WCU is behind Wofford (5-0, 3-0) and enters the week tied with Samford (4-2, 2-1 SoCon) and Furman (3-2, 2-1 SoCon) in league play.
CATAMOUNT FOOTBALL TO CELEBRATE THE EASTERN BAND OF CHEROKEE INDIANS:
For a fourth-consecutive year, WCU will celebrate the culture and heritage of the people of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) with a special logo on their helmets -- though this year, the logo will be smaller and on the back where as in the first three years of the celebration, the team wore this logo on one side of its helmet, opposite the official logo;
The logo was originally designed by Jakeli Swimmer -- a former WCU track and field student-athlete from Cherokee, N.C. -- and approved by the Cherokee committee ... the logo includes three letters at the top which translates to "Tsalagi" -- a phonetic pronunciation for "Cherokee" ... the emblem in the middle of the circle represents the game of "stick ball," which was an integral part of Cherokee life ... It was a game, played by men and that resembles European lacrosse, that was used to settle disputes and disagreements, sustain culture, medicine, spirituality, government, and religion.
CATAMOUNTS AMONG LEAGUE, NATIONAL LEADERS:
Western Carolina has THREE of the top 10 rushers in the Southern Conference: Detrez Newsome (1st, 125.2 yds/ gm), Tyrie Adams (4th, 69.2 yds/gm), and Corey Holloway (8th-t, 54.0 yds/gm) ... WCU ranks third in the league in rushing -- behind the two run-oriented option teams;
Detrez Newsome LEADS the SoCon in rushing AND all-purpose yards (187.2 yds/gm) ... Newsome continues to LEAD the NCAA FCS in all-purpose yards ... Having played in five of WCU's six games, Newsome STILL ranks FOURTH nationally with 626 total rushing yards this year;
Terryon Robinson ranks SECOND in the SoCon in both receptions (5.2 per game) and receiving yard (90.7 yds/gm) ... the latter ranks him 22nd nationally ... Steffon Hill is fifth in the SoCon with 3.8 receptions per game and is just behind Robinson in receiving yards per game (74.3);
Western Carolina's offense LEADS the Southern Conference in scoring (39.0 ppg) and total offense 504.8 yds/gm.
Things to Know Before You Go:Where to Park:
General Admission parking is available in the following parking lots on the WCU campus: H.F. Robinson Building (Lot 1A & 1B) and both the North and South Baseball Lots (8A & 8B) ... It is also recommended that fans consider taking Old Cullowhee Road to the old entrance to the WCU campus and utilize parking in the lots behind Hunter Library for game day ... Parking is also available down Long Branch Road behind the Catamount Travel Center (Student Commuter Lot 73) and past the Cullowhee Post Office at the WCU Health & Human Science (HHS) parking lots (FREE SHUTTLE, see below);
Catamount Club Reserved Parking Lots (parking pass required) include: Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center (Lot 13), Belk (Lot14), Jordan-Phillips Field House (Lot 12), Football Stadium (Lot 10), Creek (Lot 9C) Lot, and Camp Lab Festival Parking (Lot 4A) ... 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.
Note: WCU Parking & Transportation will run a FREE "Game Day Shuttle" for the rest of this year's home football games. Vehicles will be directed to park across the street from campus at the Health & Human Services (HHS) Lots# 76A & B and Catamount Travel Center Lot#73 down Little Savannah Road where patrons will be picked up by the FREE shuttle and delivered to the Ramsey Center circle drive on Forest Hills Road. Shuttles will also be available after the game for return trips to these lots. FREE shuttles will be available from 1:30pm - 8:30pm on Oct. 14 & 28, from Noon - 7:00pm on Nov. 11, 2017. Please note that this is not a shuttle around campus - just to and from the parking lots.
Where to Buy Tickets:
Purchase - and PRINT - tickets in advance through CatamountSports.com.
On Game Day:
WCU Athletic Ticket Office - (828) 227-2401 -- phone lines open beginning at 9:00 AM until kickoff time at 3:30 pm ... There is only phone order and ticket information at the Ramsey Center ticket office on game day -- NO WALK-UP SALES;
Gate 1 Ticket Sales on the West Side of the stadium open at 10:00 am;
Ticket sales at all other gates begin at Noon - Gates 2, 3, and 4;
All stadium gates open to the public at 2:00 pm ... Gate 6 for Player Pass also opens at 2:00 pm.
Remember to bring proper photo identification to pick up tickets at WCU's Will Call;
Main Will Call for picking up purchased tickets or tickets being left for pick-up is at Gate 1; however, fans are able to receive Will Call at any entrance gate ticket booth;
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 ... Those who are on the player pass list must show a photo ID in order to pick up their tickets -- again, Player Pass will call will not open until 2:00 pm when the stadium gates are open;
Once player pass tickets are picked up, the individual MUST enter the stadium;
Football Recruits: Hospitality, enter through door next to truck tunnel. After 2:00 pm, go to Gate 6;
All Other Recruits: Gate 6;
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 $30 Youth (Ages 3-12) $20 (All Gates) -- Sections L, LL, K, KK, J, JJ;
Gold Reserved: Adult $25 Youth (Ages 3-12) $15 (All Gates) -- Sections D, DD, E, EE, F, FF, MM, II;
General Admission: Adult $20, Youth (Ages 3-12) $15 -- Sections G, GG seating only
Other Helpful Game Day Hints:
BRING CASH -- though WCU's ticket booths and concessions stands at Whitmire Stadium are capable of credit/debit card transactions, lines for the popular stadium fare can back up ... There will be extra CASH-ONLY lines for items such as drinks on game day;
Arrive early to avoid long lines entering Whitmire Stadium ... Also, there are numerous gates that allow entry to the stadium -- familiarize yourself with the best gates to get you to your seats for the pregame festivities!
Be sure to enjoy a variety of stadium fare at the concessions stands -- or other vendors such as Bojangles', Salarita's, and Speedy's Pizza.
Game Day Promotions:
Catamount Volleyball vs. The Citadel -- Ramsey Center -- Noon;
Gather with other Purple & Gold clad faithful to cheer on the Catamounts during the "Cat Walk" to the stadium at approximately 1:30 pm in the Stadium and Field House parking lots;
The WCU Game Day Information Booth opens at 1:30 pm just outside of Gate 1;
Joe Lasher Jr., tailgate concert, part of the Ingles Down Home Tour -- Country music artist Joe Lasher Jr. (@JoeLasherJr) will perform 1:30 pm -- 3:00 pm in the grass near the Stadium parking lot and the Ramsey Center;
2nd Annual Great Catamount Duck Race, presented by Blackrock Outdoor Company -- pick-up ducks at the Catamount volleyball match and take them to the pedestrian bridge at the Creek Lot by 1:55 pm ... Duck race starts at 2:00 pm with the finish line at the Camp Lab bridge;
Community & Kids Day - First 900 kids through the gates will receive a FREE lunch cooler from Great Beginnings / Great Smiles ... All kids 12 & under wearing their youth sports uniform will receive FREE admission -- be sure to get a FREE ticket at one of the ticket windows before going to the gate;
Mascot Day Areas mascots join "Paws" on a special day in Cullowhee;
Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (ECBI) Day - Special pregame tailgate and traditional stick ball game in the intramural fields at Camp Lab ... Best parking area for this would be the HFR Admin lot or the lots behind the Catamount Travel Center and use the pedestrian bridge over Hwy 107 ... And be sure to purchase an "Extra Points" game program for a look at the WCU football roster translated to Cherokee Syllabary;
The Catamount Kids' Zone opens at 2:00 pm just inside the main entrance at Gate 1;
Wounded veteran Ward Taft will carry the American Flag out of the tunnel as the team takes the field, stemming from Coach Mark Speir's work with "Operation Heal Our Patriots";
At halftime and again following the game, the "Pride of the Mountains" Marching Band will perform their show to the East Side stands.
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, credential): Located on the patio of the Jordan Phillips Fieldhouse: Doors open at 3:00 pm.