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Western Carolina Catamounts Preview

Let's discuss the Western Carolina Catamounts of Cullowhee, North Carolina. Cullowhee is a sultry little town of about 9,500 people in the mountains of North Carolina. The school itself has more students than the town has residents (~12,000 students). The university was founded in 1889 and through several name changes finally became Western Carolina University in 1967.

The football program is definitely not a bright spot in Cullowhee. In the last 20 seasons, the Catamounts have only racked up 5 winning seasons (the last being in 2001). The Catamounts have not made the postseason since 1983. The Catamounts have met ACC squads 26 times and all 26 games ended in fairly decisive losses with a 29 point average margin of defeat. Tech has beaten the Catamounts four times all time and the last match up was the last victory of Bill Lewis' head coaching career (1994).

The Catamount offense is led by South Carolina Gamecock transfer Zac Brindise. He'll be a senior this year and started 7 games in 2010 for WCU. Brandise isn't terribly accurate as he passed for a 55.4% completion percentage and a 7:9 TD:INT ratio last season. Brandise will be supported by two veteran running backs in Michael Johnson and Nate Harris. Both backs ran for a combined 953 yards and 6 TD's in 2010.

The story of 2010 for the Catamounts was turnovers and second half scoring. The Catamounts coughed up 31 turnovers and only took away 19 in 2010. Lack of scoring was probably the Catamounts ultimate downfall in 2010. They averaged 9 points in the first half of 2010 games and only 7 points per game in the second half. To say the Catamount offense was bad in 2010 would be a compliment.

Defensively, the Catamounts lost 3 of the top 6 tacklers from 2010. They return key defensemen Rock Williams at linebacker and Torez Jones in the backfield. Rock is an All-SoCon academic guy and Torez Jones was an All-SoCon DB who led the team with 7 picks in 2010. I expect Rock to accumulate 10 tackles in our match up and I predict Torez to get a pick before the game is over. Our passing game's inaccuracy is a proverbial feast for ball-hawks like Jones.

The Catamounts feature 13 guys from Georgia High School so I expect a few of our guys to know a few of their guys. And most importantly, Paul Johnson graduated from WCU in 1979 with a degree in physical education. So I would imagine this is probably the root cause of the game's scheduling.

One last interesting fact is that the Catamounts had less people at all of their home games 2010 than Tech had in our lowest single game attendance of 2002 (42,350). Bobby Dodd was under construction in 2002.

Any thoughts on the game? Any interesting facts out there?