Thirty-three games, 33 losses is history. For Western Carolina University, it’s one game, one win. The Catamounts snapped their historic losing streak with a 27-24 overtime triumph over Elon University Saturday afternoon, Oct. 27.
Western Carolina used a six-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Troy Mitchell to sophomore wide receiver Karnorris Benson with nine seconds remaining in the fourth quarter to force overtime. In the extra session, Elon freshman kicker John Gallagher missed a 44-yard field goal, giving the ball to the Catamounts. Western Carolina junior kicker Richard Sigmon hit a 39-yard field goal to clinch the contest in overtime just a few plays later, sending fans storming the field in Cullowhee, N.C.
Both teams traded fruitless possessions for the first five series before Western Carolina scored first. Sigmon kicked a 41-yard field goal with 4:54 remaining in the first quarter, capping off an 11-play, 31-yard drive.
Elon responded quickly, as junior quarterback Mike Quinn found sophomore wide reciever Andre Davis for a 64-yard touchdown with 2:45 left in the quarter. After two punts, the Catamounts answered on the first play of the second quarter. Junior quarterback Eddie Sullivan completed an 80-yard touchdown pass to Benson to put Western Carolina up 10-7.
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For the second time in the game, Elon converted a long touchdown pass. Quinn threw a 47-yard strike to senior wide receiver Rasaun Rorie with 12:07 left before halftime and Elon gained a 14-10 advantage.
At the 4:46 mark of the second quarter, Quinn threw his third touchdown pass of the day, a two-yard pass to junior tight end Doug Warrick. The 21-10 lead would hold through halftime, though the Catamounts worked the ball into Elon territory just before intermission.
Mitchell threw his first touchdown of the day with 4:49 left in the third quarter, an eight-yard pass to redshirt freshman tight end Michael Helms Jr. The score trimmed Elon’s lead to 21-17. Western Carolina had a chance to take the lead early in the fourth quarter, but Elon senior defensive back Ed Burns intercepted a pass on the Elon three-yard line.
The Phoenix would extend the lead back out to a touchdown when Gallagher hit a season-long 48-yard field goal with 3:37 left in the game. However, the Catamounts answered with a 15 play, 88-yard drive culminating in the tying score and ultimate downfall of the Phoenix.
Despite the loss, Quinn was 20 of 36 for 326 yards, a personal high. The junior set the SoCon mark in the contest, as he’s now thrown 207 passes without an interception. Redshirt freshman B.J. Bennett was Elon’s leading rusher with 16 carries for 55 yards. Davis was Elon’s leading reciever with six catches for 162 yards.
Elon drops to 2-7, 1-4 in the Southern Conference with the loss. Western Carolina improves to 2-7, 1-4 in the SoCon.
Elon returns to action after a bye week on Nov. 9 against The Citadel at 1:30 p.m.