Catamount’s Open SoCon Play at #21/22 Samford

Cullowhee, NC – Western Carolina Football opens the Southern Conference game Saturday afternoon and travels to Seibert Stadium in Birmingham, Alabama for the league opener for both teams against the No. 21/22 Samford Bulldogs (2-1). Kickoff is scheduled for 3pm ET / 2pm CT.

Saturday’s game will be streamed live on ESPN3 (Cable subscription required). The game can also be heard over the Catamount Sports Network with airtime on The Pepsi Tailgate Show at 2:00 p.m. ET. Fans in western North Carolina can listen to the broadcast locally on seven CSN affiliates: at Sylva, 105.7 FM and 540 AM WRGC “The River”; 104.9 FM and 1050 AM WFSC in Franklin; WISE Sports Radio 1310 AM and 102.9 FM in Asheville; and 970 AM WYSE in Canton, with live streaming audio online at

Fans can also follow the game with live stats available online at with timely in-game updates on Twitter via @Catamounts and @CatamountsFB.

Western Carolina and Samford meet for the 20th time in football, with the Catamounts trailing 3-16 in the series. Previous meetings include 10 competitions in Birmingham, which Samford has won nine consecutive times since WCU’s victory in 1969.

With a school record 77 points and a program benchmark of 766 offensive yards, WCU is looking to bring back two starters to their roster this weekend. quarterback Carlo Daviswho has thrown eight touchdown passes in his first two starts and averaged 333.0 yards per game, and senior tailback TJ Jones both missed the Presbyterian game but have since returned to training and preparing for Saturday.

The Catamounts go into the week ranked second in the NCAA FCS on all offense with an average of 590.7 yards per game, including third-best passing attack (362.0 yds/gm) and 11th-best rushing attack (228 .7 yds/gm).

Much like WCU, Samford (2-1) has defeated both NCAA FCS teams it has faced this season and upset then-No. 8 Kennesaw State 27-17 in the season opener before breaking out in the last minute last week rallied to defeat Tennessee Tech Cookeville, Tenn., 33-28. In between was a 33-0 away loss at No. 2 Georgia, although the SoCon Bulldogs had conceded the fewest points to the SEC Dogs among the top three opponents of the season.

Transfer quarterback Michael Hiers (NW Mississippi CC) won the seed from fall camp for head coach Chris Hatcher and led the Bulldogs to two wins. Hiers has completed 65 percent of his passes (60 of 92) for 678 yards with eight scores without throwing an interception. Half of receiver Chandler Smith’s (10) receptions this fall have gone for touchdowns (5), while Kendall Watson leads the way with 227 receiving yards on a team-high 16 receptions.

If history holds, points should be plentiful in Saturday’s game between the Catamounts and the Bulldogs, as the last 12 meetings since 2010 have combined 44 or more points between the two teams, with seven times 70 or more points. In the last six matches in Birmingham, the two teams have averaged 73 points between them.

Since Chris Hatcher took over the Bulldog program, Samford has gone over 30 points 43 times, with 25 40-point and 11-50 point games. In two seasons in Cullowhee, Kerwin Bells Catamount teams have scored 30 or more points in nine of his 14 games as head coach.

Kick-off from Seibert Stadium is scheduled for Saturday at 3pm ET / 2pm CT.


Since entering SoCon in 1977, Western Carolina has been 23-22 in conference openings overall, including an 8-16 mark ahead of Cullowhee;


Since 1983, WCU has only had an all-time 12-84-3 against nationally-ranked NCAA FCS teams… the Catamounts have lost to ranked opponents six straight times since their last win in 2017 — a 38-34 upset at home over the then-No. 17 Samford … WCU is only 3-45-2 against nationally-ranked NCAA-FCS teams and has lost 45 straight games to ranked opponents since last winning in 1984 at then-No. 12 Furman.


Two ex-college quarterbacks, both WCU head coaches Kerwin Bell and Samford head coach Chris Hatcher spent time on the sidelines at Valdosta State, an NCAA Div. II program in Valdosta, Georgia.

Hatcher, who played at VSU from 1991-1994, began his coaching career in 1995 as quarterback coach for the Blazers before returning as head coach from 2000-2006… In seven seasons, Hatcher compiled an overall record of 76-12. six playoff spots, won four Gulf South Conference championships and led the Blazers to the 2004 NCAA D-II National Championship where she was named AFCA National Coach of the Year;

Bell compiled a 27-7 overall record in three seasons at Valdosta State and won both the Gulf South Conference and the NCAA Division II national championship in 2018.

Game 4: Saturday, September 24, 2022 • 3pm ET / 2pm CT
Location: Birmingham, Ala. / Seibert Stadium (6,700)
Records: Western Carolina (2-1) at Samford (2-1)

WCU Football Media Centre
Western Carolina Football Game Notes – at Samford
Samford Football Game Notes – vs. Western Carolina

TV/video stream: ESPN3 (Cable Subscription required)
PBP: Curt Bloom; Color: Damian Mitchell; Sideline: Blake Gardner
Radio: Catamount Sports Network
PBP: Gary Ayers; Colour: Daniel Hooker; Producer: Jeff Bryson

Live Stats Link

CSN Partners:

Sylva – 105.7 FM / 540 AM WRGC
Franklin – 104.9 FM / 1050 AM WFSC
Asheville – WISE Sports Radio 102.9 FM / 1310 AM
Canton – WYSE Sports Radio 970 AM

Follow all things Catamount football and WCU Athletics through his social media channels on Facebook (, Twitter (@catamounts, @CatamountsFB) and Instagram (wcu_catamounts).

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