Catamounts pounce on lions in opener

True Freshman QB Troy Mitchell scored 2 TD's in his college debut. (Photo By:

It was a cat fight in Cullowhee on Thursday night when the lions from Mars Hill made a trip to E.J. Whitmire Stadium to take on the Catamounts. The catamounts struggled in their first series by missing a field goal, followed by a punt on the next. They seemed to settle down after that and used their overwhelming size to pound the ball on the ground. Senior running back Michael Johnson rush for 69 yards on 6 carries to go along with his 2 touchdowns. True freshman Troy Mitchell, who got the start at quarterback in place of suspended quarterback Eddie Sullivan, completed 20 of his 29 passes for 149 yards and 2 rushing touchdowns. Coach Speir received a collective effort from his backs with 63 carries for 344 yards on the ground. Darius Ramsey was the leading rusher with 20 carries for 120 yards. Western Carolina took a 17-0 lead into the intermission.

The Catamounts added to their lead when sophomore Trevor Taylor recovered a fumble and returned it 9 yards to the house, giving the Catamounts a comfortable 24-0 lead. The two schools would play even for the remainder of the game to seal a 42-14 victory for Western Carolina and first year head coach Mark Speir. Speir seems to have the catamounts headed in the right direction as they find themselves 1-0 for the first time since 2008. The catamounts will make a trip to Huntington, WV to take on the thundering herd from Marshall, Saturday, Sept. 8.