Preview: App State at Troy
- Updated: November 11, 2016
This is the kind of moment we were promised. And the entire Mountaineer football program delivered. Now, let’s get after those Troy Trojans. Dare we say, to #GiveEmHell?
/really hopes that’s the earliest #GiveEmHell in AppFan.com history/
In just App State’s third season of FBS football, the Black and
Yellow Nike Gold (™) Express will pull into Troy, Ala., for a de facto Sun Belt championship game on Saturday afternoon.
The 7-2 (5-0 #FunBelt) Mountaineers versus the 7-1 (4-0 #FunBelt) Trojans.
Sure, those pesky Red Wolves of Arkansas State also are undefeated in conference play, but the Mountaineers won’t face Howl’s boys this season. That means, a win over the Trojan Men would allow the Apps to control their own destiny for at least a share of the
coveted really cool to have, if you can get it (and apparently make out with) Sun Belt title trophy.
/fist pumps. hyperventilates a wee bit. searches for that lucky paper bag from last season. pours a stiff drank instead…/
As Uncle Brent Musburger likely would say: “When it comes to Sun Belt football, and especially sans-championship-game Group of Five football, they don’t get any bigger than this one, folks. Buckle up. It’s the Trojans and Mountaineers. Next on
ABC ESPN ESPN2 ESPN-U ESPNNews your laptop.”
(Rant Alert: That this game is ESPN3-only is a joke. It shows a major flaw in the Sun Belt’s television deals. Front-loaded early season games on networks like the American Sports Network, then locked in to ESPN-U in the middle of the [expletive] week. Fix it, New Orleans. Cuz the American Athletic Conference will need new members sooner or later. -EndRant-)
Neither squad has lost in six weeks. Sure, during those runs, each squad has had a couple closer than expected outings. But. They’ve also delivered their share of beatdowns over the last month-and-a-half. And both are getting a bit of love in the polls, though neither is likely to break the AP Top 25 or Coaches’ Poll
this season maybe ever.
The Trojan program is urging fans to “pack the Vet” (Veterans Memorial Stadium) on Saturday for what will be, in the central time zone, an odd 2:30 p.m. kick off. Good luck with…that.
The Mountaineers and Trojans aren’t that dissimilar in their offensive approaches, meaning both seek balance. The ‘Neers, of course, want to run more and the guys with the swords on their helmets favor the pass. But neither is one-dimensional. Meaning each will seek to make the other so.
Troy will stack the box, and make App QB Taylor Lamb beat them with his right
cannon pistol of an arm. The Mountaineers will lean on the #LegionOfBoone to keep the Trojan WRs at bay, and its front seven to pressure QB Brandon Silvers, whose stats, unlike #FunBelt QBs the Mountaineer D has eaten alive this season thus far, looks mad legit, yo.
Eighteen TD’s versus 8 picks. Nearly 2,100 yards already. A QB rating — whatever that is — of 124.4%. Almost 8 yards per pass-and-catch. And a completion percentage of nearly 65%. For the Sun Belt, that’s flat Gettin’. Err. Dun.
And about the #LOB: How good is this group, folks? Averaging only 216 yards per outing up top, and tied for tops in all the land with 16 interceptions. When joined by their front-seven mates, this is the country’s 14th-best defense unit.
Last season, it felt strange for the Black and Gold Express to be a team that rode its defense to big things and key wins. This season, it’s merely how we roll. Mr. Duck didn’t quack last week, but we’d expect that to change as the kid seems to dig
big huge moments.
And they don’t get any bigger, folks.
Offensively, these Apps are who we thought they were. Meaning Coach Visor will come out throwing it around a bit to soften the stacked-box.
/notices how…erotic…that sounds/
WR Shaedon Meaders and TE Barrett Burns will have to continue anchoring a steadily improving pass game, and a couple other WRs will have to keep, as they have during this winning streak, stepping up as the matchups and schemes allow.
Troy is no slouch defensively, ranked 40th in the country. But in the #FunBelt, that’s stellar stuff. Here’s where this thing gets interesting: the Trojans boast the country’s 4th-best rushing defense. The unit gives up only 97 yards per game on land.
/breaks out that paper bag after all/
/reaches for the Xanax/
The Apps wouldn’t be the Apps without at least one cardiac finish if this is to be a truly special season. And this is the one remaining #FunBelt foe on the schedule that appears ready to take these Mountaineers to the limit.
A defensive struggle for the Sun Belt title? Your
favorite barely-tolerated blogger thinks so. It’ll be YUGE, folks. BELIEVE ME. (Full disclosure: Catch phrase borrowed from, well, you know…the man with the Big Hands.)
Bottom Line: Which offense can make a few big plays late, perhaps doing the opposite of its strength? Can the #LOB have one more amazing outing against a
FB$ FCS-plus receiving corps?
Prediction: We think so. But expect a thriller. Defense rules early, but Lamb & Co. find a way with a late drive. Then: It’s on you, kid. Keep the paper bags and booze handy, folks. Mountaineers 24, Trojans 21. #GiveEmHell
–Appstradamus (On Twitter: @APPstradamus)