Coaches stress the importance of not looking past any game, especially with a huge home game on the horizon. Wofford will certainly need to listen to the coaches this week during the trip to Cullowhee, North Carolina for a date with the 1-7 Catamounts just one week before Georgia Southern comes to Spartanburg. The No. 9 Wofford Terriers were already bitten once this season by a team it may have looked past in Furman. The Paladins knocked off Wofford 26-21 two weeks ago, but expect Mike Ayers’ crew not to take Western Carolina lightly. Despite an 0-6 Southern Conference record, Western Carolina’s lone victory came at home and the Catamounts played Elon close in Cullowhee last month. Also factoring into play is that both of Wofford’s losses have come on the road this season.
For the most part, Wofford’s option offense has been unstoppable this year, and the Terriers have put up at least 21 in each game. Last week against Elon, Wofford’s Eric Breitenstein rushed for four scores and 217 yards. He has rushed for 1027 yards this season and averages 128 yards per game. Don’t try and stop him near the goal line either as he has bulled it in 14 times in 2011. Quarterback Mitch Allen is just as effective running as he is passing. Last week was a prime example as Allen finished with 100 yards rushing and two scores. For the year, Allen has run for 503 yards and seven scores while passing for 547 yards and four scores. Donovan Johnson is also a threat out of the backfield, having racked up 566 yards and five scores this season through eight games.
Defensively, Wofford is giving up 22.75 points per game. Alvin Scioneaux has 6.5 sacks and 14 TFL on the year. He has also forced four fumbles. Alex Goltry has six sacks to go with four QB hurries. Stephon Shelton has one interception and four pass breakups while Josh Holt has picked off two passes.
The return game is also a pick-your-poison situation with Brenton Bersin and Qay Bell each having returned a punt for a score and Derek Boyce having notched a kick return for a score.
Western Carolina has plenty of playmakers in Cullowhee. Shaun Warren has five scores in seven games, including 339 yards from scrimmage. Michael Johnson and Michael Vaughn each have run for a pair of scores. Quarterback Brandon Pechloff has completed 53.7% of his passes for over 1200 yards and seven touchdowns. Usually when Pechloff is dropping back, the target is Josh Cockrell, who has snagged four touchdown grabs in 2011.
George Richardson is one of the conference’s best return men, averaging 27.8 yards per return and he has taken one back 99 yards for a score. Richardson also hauled in his first career receiving score in the 52-24 loss to Samford.
The Catamounts lost a potentially-huge weapon when punter Blake Cain left with an injury last week. Cain had put 17 of 42 punts inside the 20 yard line while averaging 39 yards per attempt.
The key to the game will come down to whether Western Carolina’s defense can slow the Wofford attack down to let Pechloff, Vaughn and Johnson make plays. Western Carolina’s Rock Williams is all over the field, registering two sacks, 4.5 TFL and also an interception. Brandon Vaught has forced two fumbles on the year and Andre Shishkin has 7.5 TFL. If Wofford gets its offense cranked up and Breitenstein can carry it 25-30 times, it might be a long afternoon for the Catamounts.