Western Carolina will open the Southern Conference portion of its football schedule Saturday with a 6 p.m. game at Citadel’s Johnson-Hagood Stadium.
The Bulldogs’ triple option game was in high gear during last week’s 69-0 rout of Davidson.
“Citadel played a very efficient and flawless game,” WCU Coach Mark Speir said. “When you beat a team 69-0, you’re doing about as good as you can. They are always tough to prepare for. It’s going to be a huge test for our football team.”
Citadel quarterback Dominique Allen completed all five of his pass attempts for 67 yards and ran for 81 yards. Evan McField and Isiaha Smith rushed for 132 and 109 yards, respectively, against the Wildcats.
“It’s a huge game,” Speir said. “Both teams opened with victories, but there’s still that unknown as to where we both truly are. It’s always hard to play in front of the cadets. I’ve got a lot of respect for Coach (Mike) Houston and his whole staff.”
In recording the shutout against Davidson, Citadel’s defense was led by linebacker Tevin Floyd, who was named Southern Conference Defensive Player of the Week. He had eight tackles and returned an interception for a touchdown.
Western won last year’s game 29-15 cutting the Bulldogs’ lead in the series to 22-16-1. The Catamounts have not won at Citadel since 2010.
“If we had not created turnovers last year, it would have been a different game,” Speir said.
“There is such parity from top to bottom in this league,” he added. “If you don’t come ready to play, you’re going to get beat.”
Western opened its season Saturday with a 42-14 victory over Mars Hill.
“We’re excited to get a win over a good football team,” Speir said. “It was a great day in Cullowhee. We had a packed house.”
The Cats scored on the game’s first scrimmage play and jumped in front 20-0 early in the second period.
“We did what we had to do to win,” the coach said. “We didn’t play as clean as we wanted to. The second quarter was a huge disappointment for us. We didn’t put an opponent away when we had an opportunity to because of some penalties. We came back in the second half and did some good things.”
Quarterback Troy Mitchell became Western’s career leader in total offense surpassing the 6,832 yards compiled by Lonnie Galloway from 1990-93.
“Troy doesn’t have an ego,” Speir said. “That’s why he’s been a pretty good quarterback for us. He’s very composed. He’s hard to rattle and generally makes good decisions. Our team feeds off that. He brings a lot of leadership, maturity and calmness in the storm.”