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Western Carolina to play 12-game schedule

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(STATS) - The "road" to improvement won't come easily for Western Carolina this year.

The Southern Conference program announced a 12-game schedule on Thursday, gaining an NCAA exception for an extra game because of its season-opening trip to Hawaii on Sept. 2.

Western Carolina, which finished 2-9 last season, will not have a bye before it ends the schedule with a second FBS matchup at North Carolina (Nov. 18). In addition, the road portion of the SoCon schedule includes games against three of the four FCS playoff qualifiers last season - Chattanooga (Sept. 30), Wofford (Oct. 7) and The Citadel (Nov. 4), the defending champion.

The Catamounts will play five home games, including a Homecoming matchup against Furman (Oct. 28).

2017 Western Carolina Schedule

Sept. 2, at Hawaii

Sept. 9, Davidson

Sept. 16, at Gardner-Webb

Sept. 23, Samford*

Sept. 30, at Chattanooga*

Oct. 7, at Wofford*

Oct. 14, East Tennessee State*

Oct. 21, at VMI*

Oct. 28, Furman* (Homecoming)

Nov. 4, at The Citadel*

Nov. 11, Mercer*

Nov. 18, at North Carolina

* - Southern Conference game