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Black Saturday Preview: App State vs Georgia State

Give'Em Hell!

What a difference a week makes. This time last week, #AppNation was concerned freaking out a bit about its beloved Mountaineers.

What might be up with QB Taylor Lamb’s subpar 2016 start? Why is the passing game so anemic? Can understudy RB Jalin Moore get it done for an extended stretch should #ShadowHeisman candidate Marcus Cox (#BeastMode) be out for a while with what we count as two leg injuries? And have the Apps lost their mojo?!

They say winning cures all. In the case of these Apps, that’s not completely true. At least not yet. There is the defense, which surrendered 486 yards of total offense last week, 353 through the air to Arkon’s impressive aerial attack.

Still…

…the Mountaineers are 2-2 and battle-tested heading into Sun Belt play after last week’s slugfest/shootout/chest pains-inducing finish in MAC country. The Mountaineer D typically bends but doesn’t break that much. Well, it broke plenty the last two games, but came up big late at Akron. Still…this could be the story of the season, especially if Coach Scott Satterfield Coach Visor and his staff have figured out to get the passing attack going.

/hey, if that guy in Ann Arbor can get national run for looking ridiculous in his Sears khakis, Satt should be famous for rocking that visor in just about every climate, okay?/

Which brings us to Saturday at The Rock.

/clears throat, braces for onslaught outrage/

Make that, um, noon on Saturday at The House That Armanti (#GOAT) Renovated. Some of you are understandably upset with this start time change travesty injustice. Your blogger mans the AppFan.com Mid-Atlantic Bureau these days, but I get it, having done noon kickoffs while staying in Boone, I can testify that’s not nearly as an enjoyable fan experience as even a 2 p.m. start.

Advice: Pack the car Friday night. Sleep in your pants and shoes. Plenty of coffee early. Brunch on the grill. Spice it up with a (responsible, of course) Power Hour around, say, 10:30 a.m. Take out your business-based frustrations — and AD Doug Gillin made clear the noon start is all about that — with your adult beverage-enhanced noise once the game starts.

And speaking of business… Well, well, well, look who’s (presumably) back. Mr. Business Of Football himself, Georgia State AD Charlie Cobb He Who Shant Be Named.

/leads chorus of boos/

Not going to dwell on that, folks. We’ve moved on. And /cheap shot alert/ Mr. Gillin clearly is an upgrade. Onto the, you know, matchup between the 2-2 Mountaineers and the 0-3 Georgia State.

Here come the Panthers and their, wait, um, Manning quarterback?! Uh oh.

/squints closely at mug of Connor Manning for signs of sibling resemblance/

Nah, couldn’t be, right? And, no, he’s not a member of the Archie-Peyton-Eli QB dynasty. Whew. But, make no mistake, the signal-caller who bears a resemblance to a certain goofy golfer is pretty much the Panthers’ entire offense.

(Yes, his OL keeps him upright and his WRs catch. C’mon, a little “artistic” licence, please…)

Manning and his understudy have thrown it 97 times this season, compared with the 63 times GSU kept it on land. RB Aaron Winchester leads the team with a total — total! — of 58 yards all. season. long. Kyler Neal leads the Cats in rushing attempts with just 19 carries.

/sounds the air raid siren. gives App secondary a knowing, nervous glance/

App State QB Taylor Lamb was under the gun for three weeks for his slow start, but his QB rating (whatever that is!) stands at 135.7%; Manning’s is worse at 123%. And despite all those tosses, Manning has just 567 yards and three TDs to show for them. His completion percentage, 57.6%, is…meh…at best.

So GSU wants to throw it on what looks to be a gorgeous day for a noon kickoff, if you’re into silver linings… But can they against the up-and-down Mountaineer defense that ranks, uh, um, 108th out of 128 FBS FB$ teams. And, for the record, your blogger had to scroll to the last page here to nail that down.

/Gulp/

Sure, that doesn’t look good on paper for the Apps, but your blogger — a cynic by nature — isn’t worried.

Why, you ask? Well, because the Panthers rank DFL in all the land against the run.

/licks chops/

/points to #BandOfBrothers, who must be salivating for this one/

The App running attack should be on fleek Saturday, be it Cox carrying the ball or the Heir Apparent, Moore. Coach Visor says he has confidence in Moore after his 39-carry, 257-yard, 2-TD performance at Akron. Ya think?!

As for Cox, an update, per the Winston-Salem Journal:

“Marcus is still going to be day-to-day for us. He could come back at any point in time. We’re not going to rush him back. When he’s ready, he’ll be ready.”

Bottom Line: The Mountaineers are a better all-around team. The Panthers likely will move the ball through the air. The Panthers might even hit a big play or two over the top of the App State defense. But dat App State running game doe! Moore could easily surpass that 257-yard career day — if Satt leaves him in long enough should things get out of hand. And the App D must limit big plays while getting to Manning a lot to disrupt the passing game.

Prediction: Lots of Moore early. More Moore often. Manning is…meh. KBS is…not full. Apps cover the 19-point spread, but just barely, 38-17. Give’Em Hell.

–Appstradamus (On Twitter: @APPstradamus)

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