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No. 16/15 Appalachian Travels to Cullowhee on Saturday to Battle Western Carolina For the Old Mountain Jug

Karl Anderson (left) and Graham Fisher (right) helped Appalachian State hoist the Old Mountain Jug for the seventh-straight year with a 46-14 win over Western Carolina in 2011. Photo by Dave Mayo and courtesy of Appalachian Sports Information

Oct. 26, 2012. No. 16/15 Appalachian State University (5-3, 3-2 SoCon) puts its stranglehold on the Old Mountain Jug on the line when it travels to archrival Western Carolina (1-7, 0-6 SoCon) on Saturday. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. at E.J. Whitmire Stadium in Cullowhee, N.C.

Saturday’s game will be broadcast live on the Appalachian IMG Sports Network. Live coverage begins at 1:30 p.m. with Pigskin Prelude. Click here for a full list of Appalachian IMG Sports Network affiliates.

• Saturday’s matchup is the 77th all-time between Appalachian State and Western Carolina and the 37th Battle for the Old Mountain Jug, the traveling trophy introduced to the rivalry in 1976.

• Appalachian has controlled the series since its inception, with a 57-18-1 all-time record against WCU, but has been especially dominant over the last quarter-century, with wins in 25 of the last 27 matchups.

• The Mountaineers hold a 29-7 edge over the Catamounts during the Old Mountain Jug era (1976-present), including a current seven-game winning streak in the series.

• With 76 previous meetings, Western Carolina is by far the most common opponent in Appalachian football history. Longtime local rival East Tennessee State, which folded its football program in 2004, remains as the Mountaineers’ second-most-common opponent with 47 all-time meetings.   

• With the rivalry losing some of its luster as of late due to Appalachian State’s seven-year grip on the Jug, Western Carolina added some intrigue back to the series when it hired Mark Speir as its new head coach last December. Prior to becoming the 13th head coach in WCU history, Speir spent the previous nine seasons (2003-11) as an assistant coach at Appalachian State.

• In addition to Speir, four other Appalachian State alums and/or former Appalachian assistant coaches are on Speir’s staff at WCU.

• Appalachian (5-3, 3-2 SoCon) is coming off a tough 38-28 loss at the hands of No. 8/9 Wofford last Saturday. The Mountaineers led 28-24 going into the fourth quarter but the Terriers rallied for two touchdowns in the final period.

• Last Saturday’s defeat marked the first time since a 24-17 loss to Montana in the 2009 national semifinals that the Mountaineers lost a game it led after three quarters.

• While Appalachian State no longer controls its own destiny in the race for a seventh Southern Conference championship in eight years, the Mountaineers are still very much in the thick of the SoCon title hunt. Should the Apps win their three remaining games (at WCU, at Georgia Southern, vs. Furman), one loss by Wofford (with games remaining vs. The Citadel, at Samford, vs. Chattanooga) and one loss by Chattanooga (vs. Georgia Southern, at WCU, at Wofford, vs. Elon) would give Appalachian no less than a share of the SoCon crown.

• Western Carolina (1-7, 0-6 SoCon) has lost seven-straight games since a season-opening 42-14 win over Mars Hill. The Catamounts have lost 20-straight Southern Conference games and 23 in a row against NCAA Division I opponents.