App State opens its home schedule against Montana. It’s a night game, kickoff at 6:30, pitting two ranked teams, No. 4 Griz and No. 11 Mountaineers. They last met in the 2009 semifinals, a 24-17 Montana win at home. Here are four downs.
First down: Mutual respect
App State and Montana are among the annual powers in FCS. Since 2005, App State has won 79 games, most in FCS; Montana has won 78. They’ve played twice, both times in the postseason. The most recent was in 2009, when AE was thisclose to a miraculous come-from-behind win in the semifinal snow.
“They’re one of the elite teams in FCS football, obviously,” said Griz coach Mick Delaney.
Second down: Run! Run! You better run, run!
Montana rolled up 315 yards – with a 4.9 yards per carry average – in a 35-24 win against South Dakota Saturday. Two Griz went for more than 100 yards each, Dan Moore (148 on 27 carries) and Peter Nguyen (102 on 19). QB Trent McKinney also ran for 58 yards, and passed for 214. Last season Montana averaged 211 yards on the ground, 17th best in FCS.
Third down: Mojo momentum
Against ECU, App State’s offense collected 419 yards, the most against an FBSer since a 464-yard effort against Wake Forest in 1998 (30-27 win in OT, baby!) App State broke 400 yards five times last season, primarily against the weaker teams on the schedule; all wins.
Fourth down: Roll call
We’ve noted App State has lost starter Doug Middleton for the season and running back Rod Chisholm for at least a month. Receiver Sean Price and safety Jamill Lott were both suspended for the ECU game for undisclosed violation of teams rules. Moore said Lott may play Saturday.