Cullowhee, NC (SportsNetwork.com) - The Western Carolina and East Carolina football programs will end a 35-year hiatus in their in-state series when they kick off the 2016 season against each other.

They have signed a contract for a Sept. 3, 2016 meeting at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium in Greenville, North Carolina.

Western Carolina opted out of a game that week at North Dakota State, the four- time reigning FCS champion, to face East Carolina.

East Carolina has won the last seven meetings at home against the Catamounts and holds a 17-13 series lead.

Western Carolina is coming off a 7-5 season, its first winning record since 2005 and the most wins since 2001. With a 5-2 mark in the Southern Conference, coach Mark Speir's program tied for second place to match the best finish in school history.