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Revenge vs. Respect

#GiveEmHell

Head Mountaineer Scott Satterfield, a.k.a. “The Man Beneath The Visor,” delivered a sort of “state of the program” address this week. And he didn’t hold back.

“The most successful transition from FCS to FBS of any school, I think, in the history of our sport,” Satterfield told AL.com. “Now three straight bowl games and two conference championships, our program is at a big-time high right now.”

Seems Coach Satt is riding higher than 3,333 feet. Fair enough. We think. After a rocky 8-4 season that included letting Wake Forest off the hook and wetting the bed against FB$ doormat UMass, only to secure a second (shared) Sun Belt #FunBelt championship who could blame him for floating somewhere above the Group of Five’s largest video board?

Hell, we’re feeling good about how the Mountaineers looked at season’s end, too. Throw in hanging with ACC’s Wake for four quarters, and at least half of the season was true #MountaineerFootball.

After the ‘Neers partied on the Kidd Brewer turf after shellacking Louisiana earlier this month, it certainly feels like a Dollar General Bowl win would be a bonus rather than a statement…

…Still, the Mountaineer program long has taken “business trips” rather than played exhibition check games. Don’t get this blogger wrong, the check will be nice – and big, to the tune of an overall $1.5 million payout this year. This is the FB$, after all.

/Cha-ching/

So we’re doubting a man like Satterfield, delivering the hard sell of his program after five years at his helm and leading what has to be the most successful FCS-to-Big Boy Football transition ever, is going to treat this trip to ‘Bama like anything but a big moment for the App program – for his program.

For, dare we blindly speculate, his value on the coaching market His career progression.

We’ve drowned you in stats all season, and groused about slow starts and third-down swing passes. This one is fairly straightforward.

Toledo wants revenge. App wants to prove three of its four losses don’t reflect the true state of the program.

Slow down the Rockets gunslinging QB Logan Woodside, who leads one of the most lethal passing attacks in All The Land, and the Mountaineers have a strong chance to take their all-time transition to an even higher level with a third bowl victory in as many tries. And Toledo’s defense, despite the MAC title, can be gashed. We like where Satt and his staff have the offense right now, though it took a while to develop.

Prediction Time: Eric Boggs and Co. must get pressure on Woodside early and often. Pressure. Pressure. Pressure. Woodside isn’t a threat to run, unlike many Sun Belt QBs, so there’s a chance for the Mountaineer D to change this game. But it won’t be easy. Somehow, the Rockets lost Kareem Hunt and seem to have gotten better than the squad that almost took down App in the 2016 Camellia Bowl. The Rockets have one of the highest-scoring offenses in the country. Despite its struggles, the App defense is in the top quarter of all FB$ teams. Cliche Alert: Something’s got to give. Been a while since we’ve tasted that old Mountain Magic. A Quack Attack leads to one final signature drive for Mountaineer senior QB Taylor Lamb. A final scoring toss on the game log like this seems fitting – and likely: Lamb to Lewis, 27 yards, TD, Staton PAT. App wins a(nother) thriller in the Yellowhammer State: Mountaineers 33, Rockets 29. Give ‘Em Hell!

–Appstradamus

Follow your favorite barely tolerated blogger DURING the game on Twitter @APPstradamus for analysis, snark and third-down bell emojis (!!).

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