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  • Daniel Hooker

Catamounts Remain in National Polls Following Bye Week

Western Carolina football advanced one spot in the latest media poll while holding steady in the coaches’ vote as both NCAA Football Championship Subdivision polls were released today. The Catamounts advanced to No. 8 in the Stats Perform FCS media polling during its bye week and remained at No. 14 in the AFCA Coaches Poll.

Western Carolina’s current eighth-place ranking in the Stats Perform FCS media poll matches its highest-ever national ranking in either major poll since going to the NCAA Division I level in 1976. It is the best ranking for a WCU football team since 1993 when the Catamounts tipped the scales at a program Division-I best eighth in an early-September tabulation.

It's the fifth straight week that the Catamount football team has been among the national rankings – and the fourth consecutive to be listed in both national polls. Back in 2017, WCU maintained a number next to its moniker for six consecutive weeks from early October through mid-November representing the longest streak since double-digit runs in the 1993 and 1994 seasons.

WCU is among three Southern Conference teams in the rankings and four that received votes this week. This week’s opponent, Furman continues to pace the conference a No. 3 in the coaches poll and No. 4 in the Stats Perform FCS Top 25, while Chattanooga hangs on in 20th in the AFCA coaches poll and is ranked 21st by the media. Mercer, who WCU faces on Oct. 28 for Homecoming, is receiving votes in just the AFCA poll.

The stage has been set for an FCS Top 10 and a conference first-place showdown in Cullowhee this Saturday as the best gameday experience in the SoCon roars back to life on Oct. 21.

Riding a five-game seasonal winning streak and with eight consecutive victories against NCAA FCS opponents dating back to last season, Western Carolina (5-1, 3-0 SoCon) hosts chromatic rival and one of the preseason favorites Furman (5-1, 3-0 SoCon) on Heroes Day on Saturday, Oct. 21. Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m. in a game that will be broadcast on ESPN+ (paid subscription required) with live streaming audio through the Catamount Sports Network beginning at 1 p.m.

Saturday’s game represents just the sixth matchup at Whitmire Stadium between two nationally-ranked teams – and is the first involving two Top 10 squads.

Included among the numerous storylines for Saturday are the SoCon’s top-scoring offense for Western Carolina (41.3 ppg) faces the league’s best scoring defense for Furman (22.3 ppg). WCU also boasts the SoCon’s top rushing attack at 222.0 yards per game while Furman allows a conference-low 99.7 yards per game on the ground. Furman also carries an impressive 10-game SoCon winning streak into western North Carolina on Saturday afternoon.

Tickets and game day parking passes for Saturday’s game are available at the WCU Athletics Ticket Office, located on the first floor of the Ramsey Center; by phone at (828) 227-2401; or online at Three-game mini-packs that include WCU’s final three home games against Furman (Oct. 21), Mercer (Homecoming, Oct. 28), and the “Blue Ridge Border Battle” with ETSU (Nov. 11) are also available for purchase.

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