CULLOWHEE, N.C. (Wofford College) – For the second straight week, the Wofford football team needed a last second defensive stand to take a 21-17 win at Western Carolina on Saturday afternoon. The Catamounts had ten point lead at the half, but the Terriers scored two touchdowns in the second half and held on for the win on the final play of the game.
The Terriers move to 5-2 and 4-0 in the Southern Conference. Western Carolina is 1-7 overall and 0-4 in the SoCon. Wofford was led by Michael Weimer with 132 rushing yards and 2-of-5 passing. Jonny Martin added 99 yards for the Terriers and Bernard Williams led the team with 14 tackles. The Catamounts were led by Darius Ramsey with 103 rushing yards, while Troy Mitchell was 18-of-28 passing for 206 yards along with 53 rushing yards.
“It was a game that never seemed like it was going to end,” said head coach Mike Ayers. “They did some good stuff scheming us. They have talented players and when they execute they are as good as anyone in the conference. Offensively we had another struggle early on. Either we are not understanding what we have to do or making mistakes in execution. Every time that we do not have a productive drive and get a feel for how someone is trying to defend us, it takes longer and longer. Towards the end of the first half we started to get a feel for the defense and came out strong in the second half. It was crazy. I feel like I have been in a fight taking body shots. This was a fight.”
The Catamounts had the ball to open the game and used a 34-yard completion to move downfield. The drive ended with a 44-yard field goal attempt that hit the cross bar. Wofford took over at the 27-yard line but were unable to gain a first down and punted. After a three-and-out by Western Carolina, Wofford started at the 44-yard line but failed to convert a fourth-and-one.
On the next drive by Western Carolina, two costly Wofford facemask penalties moved the ball inside the ten yard line. A fourth-and-one from the four-yard was converted and the Catamounts took a 7-0 lead on a one-yard run by Troy Mitchell with 2:29 left in the first quarter. Wofford moved the ball downfield and gained four first downs before James Lawson was intercepted by John McBeth and he returned it across midfield. Western Carolina’s 40-yard field goal attempt was wide left with 12:30 on the clock in the second quarter.
Michael Weimer entered the game at quarterback for Wofford, but it was Will Gay who completed a 46-yard pass to Will Irwin to move the ball inside the red zone. Gay ended the drive with a 2-yard touchdown run to tie the game at 7-7 with 10:06 left in the second quarter. The Catamounts were three-and-out on their next possession.
Wofford failed to convert a fourth-and-two and the Catamounts took over near midfield. Troy Mitchell connected with Karnorris Benson for a 46-yard touchdown pass for a 14-7 lead with 5:13 remaining in the first half. Western Carolina then squib kicked and recovered at the 46-yard line after bouncing off a Wofford player. The Wofford defense forced a three-and-out and the Catamounts punted.
The Terriers took over at the one-yard line and gained one first down. Will Irwin fumbled and it was recovered by Caleb Hawkins at the 34-yard line. The Catamounts added a 26-yard field goal for a 17-7 lead with 1:39 left in the half. Wofford began the drive at the 18-yard line and attempted a 37-yard field goal as time expired that was wide right.
To open the second half, Wofford ran the kickoff back for a touchdown but it was called back for holding. On the first play of the drive, Michael Weimer kept the ball and ran 83 yards for a touchdown to make it a 17-14 game with 14:26 on the clock in the third quarter. The Catamounts gained three first downs before punting back to the Terriers. Wofford then went three-and-out and punted. Western Carolina had one first down before a sack by Tarek Odom forced a punt.
With 4:38 left in the third quarter, Wofford took over at the eight-yard line but had to punt after one first down. After a three-and-out by the Catamounts, the Terriers grounded out a nine play, 79 yard drive that was capped by a 16-yard touchdown run by Octavius Harden for a 21-17 lead at 11:22 in the fourth quarter. Western Carolina and Wofford then traded punts. The Catamounts took over with 5:57 remaining from the three-yard line. Western Carolina moved the ball downfield and had fourth-and-two from the eleven yard line. The run was for no gain and Wofford took over with 1:21 left on the clock. The Terriers however went three-and-out and punted with 33 seconds left. Western Carolina used a 33-yard completion and a 24-yard completion to set up first and goal from the five. After spiking the ball to stop the clock, the Catamounts had two plays left. Both pass attempts were incomplete to give Wofford the 21-17 win.
Wofford had 446 total yards, with 372 on the ground. Western Carolina had 419 total yards, 263 of which were passing. Wofford had 19 first downs, while Western Carolina had 22. Wofford was 3-of-11 on third downs and 0-of-2 on fourth downs. Western Carolina was 3-of-16 on third down and 1-of-2 on fourth downs. Western Carolina had eleven penalties, while Wofford had six. Western Carolina had a 33:43 to 26:17 time of possession advantage.
Wofford vs. Western Carolina Post-Game Notes
Wofford has now won eight straight games against Western Carolina.
Michael Weimer ran for 132 yards, his second career 100+ rushing game. Both came against the Catamounts.
Western Carolina has now lost 33 straight NCAA Division I games, along with 26 straight Southern Conference losses.
Players missing the game due to injury for Wofford were LB SeQuan Stanley (knee), RB Cam Flowers (knee), and FB Donovan Johnson (concussion).
Game captains were Rob Greene and Jeremy Holt.
Attendance was 3,367 at E.J. Whitmire Stadium.
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