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Catamount Football Weekly: vs. Mercer

Nov. 8, 2017

Cullowhee, N.C. - Western Carolina (7-3, 5-2 SoCon) returns home this Saturday for its final regular season home game, hosting the Mercer Bears (4-5, 3-4 SoCon) at E.J. Whitmire Stadium Bob Waters Field as the 21 senior members of the Catamount football team will be honored in a special pregame ceremony.

WCU will also recognize all of the senior members of the WCU Dance Team, the Catamount cheerleaders, and the "Pride of the Mountains" Marching Band, with the latter following the band's halftime performance. In addition, WCU will recognize its newest inductee into the WCU Athletics Hall of Fame, former Catamount football player and coach, Don Powers, during the first quarter break.

Saturday's game is also "Military Appreciation Day" with former and active members of the military receiving free admission in addition to a $15 ticket for their families, with the same deal extended to all first-responders including active and retired police, fire, and emergency services personnel. WCU Faculty & Staff will also have the option of receiving a free ticket with their valid WCU employee ID.

Western Carolina enters the game in third-place in the SoCon behind league-leader, Wofford (8-1, 6-1 SoCon), which can clinch at least a share of the conference crown and the automatic bid with a victory Saturday against VMI (0-10, 0-7 SoCon). Second-place Furman (6-3, 5-1 SoCon) still has two league games remaining – this Saturday versus in-state rival, The Citadel (5-4, 3-4 SoCon), and a final-week showdown with fourth-place, Samford (6-3, 4-2 SoCon).

For a second-straight week, WCU’s top scoring offense – averaging 34.6 points per game – will square-off against the league’s top scoring defense as Mercer supplanted The Citadel atop the heap, averaging a league-low 171 total points and 19.0 points per game. The Catamounts are averaging a SoCon-best 447.6 yards of total offense per game that includes the third-best rushing attack (249.2 yds/gm) and the fourth-best passing attack (198.4 yds/gm).



On the other side of the football, WCU’s defense has quietly keyed the resurgent Catamounts, vaulting to the top of the SoCon in passing defense including pass defense efficiency (100.9) and yardage (155.7 yds/gm). The Catamounts have a league-leading 13 interceptions – the most by a WCU defense since 2006 – while also ranking third in the conference with 20 total sacks.

The Catamounts will be tested this weekend by the SoCon’s third-best passing attack as Mercer averages 210.9 yards per game through the air.

Tickets for Saturday's regular season home finale are on sale online at, as well as weekdays through the WCU Athletics Ticket Office on the first floor of the Ramsey Center and by phone at (828) 227-2401.

Kickoff for the home finale is scheduled for 2:00 pm.

WCU head coach Mark Speir talks about his squad’s road win over The Citadel last Saturday before turning his attention to this week’s match-up with Mercer in the latest installment of “Catamount Football Weekly.” He also talked about the lasting impact that Cam Brown has had on the Catamount football team.

The Last Meeting
Western Carolina24
October 15, 2016
Macon, Ga.
Catamount Football Falls to Mercer, 38-24
Alex Lakes rushed for 112 yards with two touchdowns and Mercer pulled away in the fourth to beat Western Carolina 38-24 on Saturday. WCU made it a seven-point game with 5:48 to go on Logan Howard's 30-yard field goal. The ensuing kickoff was returned 31 yards by Chandler Curtis and a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty set up Mercer on the WCU 40. Seven plays later, Lakes' 2-yard plunge sealed it with 1:53 left. John Russ completed 18 of 32 attempts for 224 yards and three touchdowns for Mercer (3-3, 2-2 Southern).