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Predictions – The first big FBS test

eaglesweekoneThe strength of the current App State football team is a big unknown right now.

That changes in two days.

The Mountaineers will play their first game against what should be a comparable program when they take on Southern Miss.

Both teams wear black and gold. Both teams play at a place called The Rock*. And both teams are picked to finish the season among the bottom half of FBS.

Thus, both teams have something to prove. This isn’t about just winning. It’s about setting a tone for the season.

There’s also, at least for App State, some pressure to make a statement. The program is now in FBS and brings some great FCS history, but has yet to beat a big boy not located in Winston-Salem or Ann Arbor. There have been close calls, sure, but the Apps are in the big leagues now. Close ain’t gonna cut it anymore.

There’s also the little matter of the season’s potentially biggest game of the year being just around the corner. Georgia Southern fans are already all about it. Forget the debut Sun Belt contest with South Alabama. Eagles are instead looking ahead to the showdown with their daddy hated rival in renovated Paulson Stadium before a live ESPNU audience next Thursday night.

That could be a great distraction with App State too, both with players and coaches. Next week’s game is – conference title-wise – much more important than this week’s non-league tilt. But it makes preparation for Southern Miss that much more important.

Saturday is a chance not only to prove physical toughness, but mental discipline as well.

All that said, time for predictions. Who ya got and by how much?

Your over/under – Rushing yards by App State Saturday: 200. Southern Miss is giving up 276 a game, but App has broken 200 only twice since start of last season.

Bonus O/U – Mountaineers to catch a pass Saturday: 7. There have been 10 and 9 Apps to catch a pass in the first two games of the season, respectively.

Beat Southern Miss.

* Actually, the Southern Miss website states their stadium is known affectionately as “The Rock at Southern Miss.” App State plays at “The Rock”, with no need for further clarification.

Even more future scheduling news coming

Couple seasons away.

Mountaineers working on fundamentals

Coach Satterfield on the weekly Sun Belt coaches conference call. Doesn’t really have too much to discuss, but talks about the team’s practices.

For us it’s just been consistent play, that’s what we’re basically trying to work on and really not anything particular as far as an opponent, going against any kind of opponent, look or that type of thing, but really fundamentals … Basically trying to get better and better as a football team in all our fundamental aspects.

And yes, he’s looked at a little bit of Georgia Southern. After facing one flock of Eagles, only five days to prepare before facing more.

Undefeated App State inching closer to top 25

cool

The App State volleyball team moved to 11-0 over the weekend, winning its Black and Gold Challenge. It’s one of just 15 teams in the country with an unblemished record.

The wins are bringing some love. The box score for Sunday’s three-set sweep of Maryland lists attendance at 647.

The latest AVCA Division I coaches poll is out today, and the Mountaineers are ranked 29th. They next travel to Statesboro to face GS Friday night, then visit Troy Sunday. They are back in Boone Sept. 28.

* photo stolen from the twitter

Blowin up Quick

blowinupTwo games into his sophomore season, Brian Quick has become a target in the St. Louis Rams offense.

Saturday against Tampa, the human spring caught 7 passes for 74 yards. Only eight other receivers caught more passes on the weekend (note, there is a game tonight).

The Quickness also grabbed 7 receptions in week one against Minnesota, that time for 99 yards. Only nine other receivers took the ball as far that week.

After two weeks he’s tied for fourth in the league in receptions with 14 (matching Julio Jones, Dez Bryant and three others) and is 12th in receiving yards with 173 (ahead of Andre Johnson and Bryant).

Those stats came on just 50 snaps, according to one ESPN writer.

With regard to the other four Apps active in the NFL:

Lions’ Sam Martin had the fourth longest punt of the season against Carolina, a 64-yarder. He’s punted seven times on the young season, averaging 48.9 a boot.

Saints’ Travaris Cadet has been active with special teams. He had two returns for 35 yards in a loss to Cleveland Sunday. He has one reception on the season, for five yards, from week 1.

49er Daniel Kilgore has started at center in both games for San Fran, including last night’s Sunday Night Football contest against Chicago.

Jaguar Demetrius McCray has appeared in both games for Jacksonville. He had his first tackle Sunday against Washington.

NEXT: App State at Southern Miss

nightgameAfter a bye week, the Mountaineers (1-1) travel to M. M. Roberts Stadium (aka. the Rock) to play the Golden Eagles (1-2) Saturday. Kickoff is 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast on American Sports Network. App State lost to Michigan and beat Campbell. Southern Miss is coming off a loss at No. 3 Alabama and opened the season with a shutout loss at Mississippi State. It beat FCS Alcorn State in week 2. Here are four downs.

So long foregone conclusions
App State’s first two games went as expected – Michigan would roll, and Campbell would be rolled. Southern Miss provides a comparable barometer for this year’s Mountaineers. The Eagles were 12-2 in 2011, then dropped 23 straight before blowing out Alabama-Birmingham in last season’s finale, 62-27. They struggled in their sole win this season, needing three FGs to stretch a 17-0 lead into a nerve-racking 26-20 win. Alcorn took the ball with a minute to go, then promptly threw an interception, its fourth turnover of the game.

Running down a dream
Last year Southern Miss had the nation’s 11th most porous defense, giving up 224 rushing yards a game. Two weeks ago it gave up 295 yards rushing on 32 attempts against FCS Alcorn (9.2 yards per carry average). Miss. State and Alabama also ran over the Eagles, going for 201 and 333 yards, respectively. App State has shown potential for a strong ground game with back-to-back 100-yard rushers – Terrence Upshaw averaged 6.1 yards a run for 109 against Michigan, and Marcus Cox went for 5.7 a carry for 114 against Campbell.

QB carousel
Both App State starter Kameron Bryant and backup Taylor Lamb have seen plenty of PT this season. Both found endzone against Michigan, with Bryant hitting McElfresh for 8-yadr TD in third quarter. Taylor led App State’s longest scoring drive in 25 years – a 19-play, 96-yard trek to six. Against Campbell, Bryant completed 10 of 17 passes for 149 yards and two TDs – 12 yards to Simms McElfresh and 21 yards to Barrett Burns. Taylor was 5-for-10 for 94 yards and a TD, a 39-yarder to McElfresh. The double duty may be due to the competitive imbalances so far this season – the game was 35-0 when Lamb entered against Michigan, and Campbell was never a threat. But it may be something to keep an eye on.

Airing it out
Southern Miss has passed for more than 200 yards in eight of its last nine games, and has thrown more than 30 times in every game but one dating to last season’s opener. Eagle QBs averaged 40 passes a game last season, and are airing it out 37 times a game this year. Only two have been intercepted, both against Mississippi State. The top two targets are 5-10 Casey Martin (121 yards on 14 catches) and 6-4 Markese Triplett (100 yards on 12 catches). Five other Eagles have caught four or more passes. The offense likes the air, with 112 passing attempts to only 93 rushes this season. App State is flipped, with 93 rushing attempts to only 62 throws.

EXTRA POINTS
Southern Miss is somewhat of an App State twin. Both share the colors Black and Gold, and both have a home stadium called the Rock. Officially known as MM Roberts Stadium, it has a capacity of 36,000. There were 26,448 reported at the team’s one home game so this season. … This is App State’s second ever trip to Mississippi. App State lost to Southern Miss, 7-0, in a 1937 bowl game held in Biloxi, Miss. App went into the game 8-0-1 and had outscored its competition 204-0. … This is the first of two back-to-back road trips for App State this season. After playing Southern Miss, App heads to Georgia Southern. There are consecutive road trips in November to Arkansas State and LA-Lafayette. … For the second time this season Georgia Southern almost beat an ACC squad last Saturday. The Eagles overcame a 35-10 halftime deficit to lead Georgia Tech in the fourth, 38-35, but gave up a 13-yard TD pass with 23 seconds to go in the game. Two weeks prior NC State came from behind with a 35-yard TD pass with 1:37 remaining to win by one, 24-23. … The Sun Belt went 0-10 on the weekend.

Give ‘em horns!

giveemhorns

North Carolina’s Band of Distinction performed at the Carolina game today. The Panthers beat the Lions and Sam Martin, 24-7.

TWO VIEWS.

Body found

RIPTerrible – “The body was found off Poplar Grove Road, a twisting road of apartments and houses about 300 yards from Mountaineer Hall, at the edge of the campus. Two searches were done, one with bloodhounds, in the rugged nature preserve near Mountaineer Hall, but nothing out of the ordinary was found. Doerr said Friday that additional searches might be conducted this weekend. It is not clear if such a search led to the discovery of the body Saturday. Asked Saturday whether the area where the body was found had been searched earlier, Boone Police spokesman Shane Robbins said, “I can’t tell you that.”"

Heading back to Athens

backtogaPayday.

“Appalachian State will get a $1 million guarantee to play in Athens, according to a memorandum of understanding signed by the schools last month obtained via an open records request,” Marc Weiszer of the Athens Banner-Herald reported. “The exact date is still to be determined.”

The most logical date for the two teams to play is Sept. 2 to open the 2017 campaign. Otherwise, the two programs may have to find an opening during their conference schedules, because Appalachian State plays the Akron Zips on Sept. 16 while Georgia has the Notre Dame Fighting Irish scheduled for Sept. 9.

Expect future schedules to be highly fungible. When App State first announced back in April its series with Southern Miss, it was promoted as including the first non-conference FBS game in school history. That game has quietly been pushed to 2018. Instead Wyoming will be in town.

New era finally begins in Boone

been a good squad for a few seasons nowThe first Sun Belt contest evah in Boone is tonight, and it features the undefeated App State volleyball team and its Black and Gold Challenge.

The Mountaineers take on Georgia State tonight at 7 (free t-shirts!). The Challenge includes a matches against Radford and undefeated Maryland.

Georgia State, which recently hired a new AD, is 2-5 .

The Mountaineers have started the season in style, winning all 8 matches, including a big upset last weekend.

The unbeaten Mountaineers beat 24th-ranked Louisville 3-1 to win the Active Ankle Challenge in Louisville.

Emily Corrigan was named the tournament MVP for the second time this season.

Corrigan and teammate Paige Brown were named the Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Week and Sun Belt Setter of the Week, respectively.

The team itself received 13 votes in the latest VCA coaches poll.

The matches this weekend are being described as a “preseason” tournament – “The Mountaineers begin Sun Belt play for good when they travel to former Southern Conference foe Georgia Southern on Friday, Sept. 19.” GS is winless on the season.”

Moore returning to App State

Welcome back coachFormer App State head football coach Jerry Moore will be honored during the first Sun Belt conference game in Boone next month.

This will be his first appearance at The Rock since senior day last season.

Prior to the game, all fans are invited to a meet-and-greet with Jerry and Margaret Moore at Kidd Brewer Stadium’s Sen. Jim Broyhill “Welcome To The Rock” Entrance Plaza.

The on-field pregame ceremony will also include an Appalachian tribute to the Moores, led by Chancellor Sheri N. Everts. Additional recognitions and tributes will be held throughout the game.

We suspect this will inspire another round of Cobb/Peacock vs. Moore arguments, all three of which are no longer active with the campus. For the record, and for whomever cares, we’ve always found everyone at fault for how the era ended.

Regardless of which side you’re on, there has been damage to the program. The ceremonies October 4 seem to an commendable effort to begin coming back together and honoring a man who had a distinguished past and, hopeful, a strong future, with App State.

Student remains missing

The search for Anna Smith is now more than a week old. Today new details are being reported regarding her life prior to her disappearance.

A family friend is saying Smith told her she was assaulted days before the Labor Day weekend.

On Aug. 27, the Wednesday before Labor Day, Smith went out with a small group of friends. She was assaulted that night, apparently at an off-campus location.

McKim said Smith wasn’t entirely sure what had occurred. “She was unclear what had happened to her – where, when and why. … Her memory of what happened isn’t detailed.”

McKim said he didn’t know the reason for her lack of clarity and said Smith had been struggling to process it herself.

With regard to the search, it has extended beyond campus.

The Triad Bloodhounds organization from Kernersville searched several areas along the Blue Ridge Parkway this afternoon (Sept. 10) in the ongoing search for Appalachian State University student Anna Marie Smith of High Point who was reported missing on Sept. 3.

The organization was directed to several sites along the parkway that Smith’s family indicated she had previously visited; however, nothing significant was found.

Authorities have said there is no indication of foul play. Smith left her cell phone, computer and credit cards in her room.