news game notes vmi coming off bye week looks to get back on track against western carolina
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Game Notes: VMI, coming off bye week, looks to get back on track against Western Carolina

VMI AthleticsVMI (1-2) had a bye last week after the 28-22 loss to Cornell in Foster Stadium on Sept. 17. The Keydets look to get back on track on Saturday at Western Carolina (2-2, 0-1 SoCon).

The game kicks off at 3:30 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPN3.

Inside the Keydets

Redshirt sophomore Collin Ironside will get the nod at quarterback for VMI this Saturday. The Knoxville native has appeared in 11 games over his three seasons in Lexington, including a start at Wofford last season in which he went 18-for-21 with two touchdowns in a 31-23 victory.

Against Cornell on September 17th, Ironside was 16-for-18 with a career-high 275 yards to go with a passing touchdown and the first rushing TD of his career. For his efforts, the 4.0 business and economics major was named SoCon Student-Athlete of the Week.

Junior Chance Knox ranks second in the SoCon in receptions per game (6.0), with teammate Leroy Thomas checking in at No. 5 with 4.7 catches per contest.

The VMI defense ranks third among SoCon teams in total defense (318.3 yards per game) and pass defense (183.3 yards per game). VMI has also allowed just one fourth-down conversion in six tries, ranking second in the league.

Stone Snyder has been dominant on defense, leading all of FCS football with an average of 12.0 tackles per game and is 25th with 5.3 solo tackles per game. Teammate Evan Eller ranks 36th with 9.0 tackles per game, while Christian Dunn is averaging a sack per contest. Offensively, Chance Knox sits at 21st individually with 18 catches thus far with Leroy Thomas checking in 71st (4.7 catches per game).

Inside Western Carolina

Western Carolina, who was picked to finish fifth by both the coaches and the media in the preseason poll, is sitting at an even 2-2 on the year, with an 0-1 record in conference play. The Catamounts are coming off a loss at nationally-ranked Samford this past weekend as the Bulldogs held Western Carolina to four field goals despite 456 yards of total offense. Although the Catamounts did not get the win, quarterback Carlos Davis returned after missing the previous game due to injury.

Containing the explosive Catamounts offense is key, as Western Carolina has gone for 52 and 77 points in its two wins, but just 17 and 12 points in the two losses. The Catamounts lead SoCon teams in points per game (39.0), total offense (557.0, 2nd among FCS teams) and pass offense (349.0, 4th among FCS teams), but are last in the league in points allowed (32.0).

Pass defense is where teams have been able to capitalize, averaging 243.0 yards in the air. Raphael Williams and Desmond Reid have been the driving forces for the offense, with Williams hauling in 19 catches for 240 yards and a touchdown, while Reid (freshman) has toted the rock 46 times for 349 yards and three touchdowns. On the defensive side, Chris Morgan is tied for the league lead with 3.5 sacks.

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