Sunday, September 24, 2023

Western Carolina Dominates Charleston Southern in 77-21 Victory

CULLOWHEE – The #23-ranked Western Carolina football team put on a sensational offensive display on Saturday, securing a resounding 77-21 victory over Charleston Southern. The game took place on Bob Waters Field at E.J. Whitmire Stadium and attracted an enthusiastic crowd of 13,357 fans, as it coincided with Family Weekend.

Western Carolina's offense was nothing short of spectacular, amassing a staggering 683 yards of total offense and 11 touchdowns. Quarterback Cole Gonzales was in exceptional form, throwing five touchdown passes in the first half alone, connecting with four different receivers, including a pair of scores to AJ Colombo. Gonzales began the game with a perfect 12-for-12 passing, completing five touchdowns before his first incompletion. He ended the game 14-of-16 for 299 yards. Notably, three different quarterbacks contributed to the offensive onslaught, with Brody Palhegyi and true freshman Taron Dickens also finding success through the air.

Photo Credit: Samuel Wallace (WCU Communications and Marketing)

Desmond Reid led the charge on the ground, racking up 111 yards on 13 carries and scoring two touchdowns. The Lions scored a remarkable 42 points in the first half, matching a school record they've achieved three times since 2004. Gonzales' passing prowess was complemented by a total of 12 different receivers, including true freshman Corey Washington, who recorded a career-best three receptions for 108 receiving yards.

Defensively, Western Carolina limited Charleston Southern to 223 total yards, with standout performances from LB Va Lealaimatafao, redshirt freshman Ken Moore Jr., and end Curtis Fann Jr. Western Carolina improved its record to 3-1, with a 1-0 mark in SoCon play.

Next on the schedule, Western Carolina embarks on a two-game road swing through conference play, beginning with a matchup against The Citadel Bulldogs (0-4, 0-1 SoCon) at Johnson Hagood Stadium in Charleston next Saturday at 2 p.m.