COUNTDOWN TO KICKOFF
South Alabama at App State
October 4, 2014 - 6 PM (ESPN3)

[clock2]

2014 Football Schedule

2014 Football Schedule

    Aug. 30 - at Michigan, noon ESPN2
    Sept. 6 - Campbell, 6 p.m. ESPN3
    Sept. 13 - OPEN
    Sept. 20 - at Southern Miss, 7 p.m. ASN
    Sept. 25 - at Ga Southern, 7:30 p.m. ESPNU
    Oct. 4 - South Alabama, 6 p.m. (ESPN3)
    Oct. 11 - Liberty, 3:30 p.m.
    Oct. 18 - at Troy, 3 p.m. EST
    Oct. 25 - OPEN
    Nov. 1 - Georgia State
    Nov. 8 - Louisiana-Monroe
    Nov. 15 - at Arkansas State, 3 p.m. EST
    Nov. 22 - at La-LaFayette
    Nov. 29 - Idaho

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Reminder. “Rivalry.”

owned

In like a Lamb. “He took it down several times and picked up some key first downs with his legs, and that’s something we need to do in this offense.”

Coach Satt conference call. Beware the shotgun.

The last time App was in Statesboro. Whose house?

Grading App State at Southern Miss. “But turnovers, particularly that fumble inside the 10 by Cox, and penalties, hurt ASU too.”

ESPN highlights App State. But not in a pleasant way. /sigh

Stink mad. “Most definitely, we want revenge,” GSU defensive tackle Jay Ellison said.”

Annual reminder. Why is it called the Stink?

Different kind of Stink. “The Eagles have never been more diverse, mixing the pass into the attack on their own terms.”

Still receiving votes. And still undefeated.

And now there are 7. DJ Smith signed to Panthers’ active roster, happily ruining our joke. Also, shoutout to a Top Cat.

Oh my! It’s come to this.

Beware the steel chair

AttaxsteelchairApp State football has become dangerous to the weakhearted.

Down early. Crazy rally. Big score. Time running out. Fans going nuts. Heart rates hitting richter scale. Tie within reach. You feel the good time coming. They’re gonna do it. They’re gonna pull it out! THE APPS ARE GONNA WIN THIS THING! And theeeeeennnnnnnnn ….

BAM!

Steel chair upside the head.

Apps lose.

/deep depression

It happened a lot last season. The A&T game (missed 46-yard FG with 19 seconds left to tie). Charleston Southern game (3rd and 1 at 35 down 3, failed twice to convert). ‘Nooga (3rd and 2 at the Moc 9-yard line under a minute to go down 7, failed twice to convert). Citadel (INT in overtime).

In all four games, the Mountaineers persevered. They stayed in the fight. Never gave up. Fought till the end. Admirable traits. The foundations of greatness.

And those qualities were shown against Southern Miss. Down early. Mistakes made. Rally late. Big plays. New heros. Chance to win. And theeeeeennnnnnnnn ….

BAM!

Blocked PAT upside the head.

“The kids kept fighting,” Satterfield said. “We got ourselves back into it, we just didn’t finish it out. But I’m proud of their effort. Now the tough thing is we’ve got a quick turnaround and play a game five days later down in Statesboro.”

The effort is there. And so is the talent. Just those little things, man … those little things. Fix the little things, and big things happen.

Beat Stink.

NEXT: The big one

theirbowlgameLongtime rivals App State and Georgia Southern collide in an ESPNU primetime matchup in Statesboro Thursday. Kickoff is 7:30. The contest serves as the Eagles’ annual Blue Out. App State has owned GS since 2003, with an 8-3 record. Two of the three losses were in Statesboro. App State is 1-2 this season, with losses to Michigan and Southern Miss. The lone win was against non-scholarship Campbell. GS is 2-2, with wins over South Alabama and a stat-inflating blowout against Savannah State. It led both Georgia Tech and NC State late but lost to both in the final 70 seconds. Here are four downs.

Grenades and horseshoes
GS is two minutes from a perfect record this season, a 7-game win streak dating back to last, and wins against two ACCers and an SEC. The Eagles led their entire season opener at NC State until a 35-yard TD pass with 1:37 put the red up for good. At Georgia Tech they were down 35-10 at the half, then scored four unanswered TDs to lead 38-35 early in the fourth. Tech scored on a 13-yard pass with 23 seconds left to win. Their first win of the season came against a program with one win a season the past four years, FCS Savannah State, 83-9. Against FBS foes the Eagles are averaging 30 points, giving up just 24, and collecting 462 yards a game.

Redux?
Last season was dismal for App State. It had a one-win record and uh-lot of pessimism going into its home date with GS. The Eagles were not too shabby, boasting a 4-2 record and smelling blood in the stank water. Yet App State won big, 38-14, in a contest in which the Eagles had a TD early, then vanished. It was 7-0 bad guys to start the second when App State scored on five consecutive possessions to lead 31-7 with 7:23 to go. The victors collected 515 yards of offense and held GS to 363.

Same ‘ol offense, but better
The Eagles still own a powerful running game – its patented triple option. Three backs have notched 100-yard rushing games. Matt Breida alone is averaging 111.2, with 7 TDs. What’s changed is the passing accuracy. QB Kevin Ellison is a gamechanger, as one writer notes – “The sophomore attempts fewer than 10 passes a game, but he’s completing 62 percent for an average of 119 yards a game. The Eagles’ 11.2 yards per attempt is second nationally behind Oregon’s 11.4.” And the passes come when you least expect them. Against Ga Tech, Ellison notched a 43-yard completion and a 68-yard TD pass both on first downs. He’s also the sixth best rusher in the Sun Belt, at 81.8 yards a game.

O so unsettled
Meanwhile App State remains in flux offensively. After two games of sharing, Taylor Lamb claimed sole QB duties at Southern Miss. The redshirt freshman did admirable, leading two 4th quarter scoring drives, including one completed with 6 seconds to go to bring App to within 1. He also completed passes to 11 Mountaineers, with two grabbing 7 each. Yet the rushing game remains one man, Marcus Cox. He’s averaging 93.3 a game, third best in Sun Belt. After breaking 100 against Michigan, Terrence Upshaw has been quiet. The redshirt freshman went for 41 and 33 in the next two games. Against Southern Miss he averaged just 1.9 yards on 17 carries, with a long of 7.

EXTRA POINTS
App State is 0-2 on the road. Dating back to last season, the team is 2-6 away from Boone … GS actually boasts of an annual tradition called “App State Hate Week,” which is kinda cute …. Since the two first met in 1932, App State has enjoyed three-game win streaks against GS on three different occasions. It’s never won four. GS took four in a row from 2000-02 (includes playoff game) … Paulson Stadium completed an expansion project over the summer. It now has a capacity of 25,000, up from 18,000. There’s also a new scoreboard .. Since 1978, App State is 7-44-1 against FBS opponents, with no wins outside Winston-Salem or Ann Arbor.

Brian Quick with a 51-yard TD catch

Finally.

wow

Aftermath – Fundamentals

damnThe little things had a big impact.

App State gained a lot of yards, but scored few points, in a 21-20 loss at Southern Miss. The game featured a dramatic final 7:55, in which App State scored to tie, Southern Miss answered, and App found endzone one last time to pull within one with 6 seconds left.

Then the PAT was blocked.

The Mountaineers made a lot of mistakes. Missed tackles, missed field goals, kicks out of bounds, too many penalties and an inability to get close to breaking endzone.

App State drops to 1-2 and has five days to prepare for a trip to Statesboro. Georgia Southern won its first Sun Belt game, 28-6, at South Alabama.

HIGHLIGHTS
Quarterback Taylor Lamb notched his first career start and played the entire contest. He completed 28 of 40 passes for 264 yards, two TDs and two INTs. He was 7 of 11 on App State’s final drive, covering 75 yards in 12 plays and just 136 seconds.

Marcus Cox recorded his second straight 100-yard rushing game, going for 119 yards on 22 carries. He injured his shoulder at the end of App’s second-to-last drive, in which Eagle Jacorius Cotton ripped the ball out of his hands. Simms McElfresh recovered the fumble.

KEY STATS
3 – Turnovers by App State, missed FGs by kicker Zach Matics, red zone scores (in five trips) and consecutive seasons the team has started 1-2.

455 – Yards of offense by App State, the seventh time in its past nine games to break 400. Against scholarship programs, the team is 3-3 in those contests.

11 – Penalties by App State, the most since a 2010 contest at Elon. It included two substitution infractions and numerous delays of game and false starts.

2-11 – Third down conversion rate for Southern Miss. The team punted 7 times. App State only returned one, for eight yards.

KEY QUOTES

“I don’t even know what to say, it’s that kind of feeling. .. Both teams played extremely hard. We made way too many mistakes. We were down in the red zone several times and didn’t come away with points. Missed opportunities. It’s tough because we moved the football and our defense played fairly solid.” – App State coach Scott Satterfield.

“Hats off to Southern Miss, but, at the same time, we beat ourselves,” App State RB Marcus Cox. He said his shoulder injury is nothing serious and he’s fine.

“I just knew we had to make a play. … I knew (Rakeem Nunez-Roches) got pressure on the field goal block (in the second quarter), so I told Nunez to make the pressure and I’m going to block it. I just happened to stick my hand up at the right time.” – Eagle Dasman McCullum, who blocked the potential game-tying kick.

“The safety and linebacker blitzed so I was left wide open. I do not think anyone was within 10 yards of me.” – Eagle RB George Payne on his game winning 31-yard reception in which he was untouched.

TRIVIA
App State missed all three of its field goal attempts, two were from 43 and 42 yards. An attempt from 36 was blocked. It was the first time the team missed three kicks since a 28-14 loss at Wofford in 2011. Last season App State was 4 of 8 in FGs of +40 yards. Matics’ name doesn’t appear in the official postgame writeup.

In the first round of the 2012 playoffs, App State’s season ended with a game-tying PAT blocked in overtime.

App State has yet to enjoy a lead in either of its FBS games this season.

The announced attendance for the game was 21,836. Television shots of the stands were not complimentary.

Gameday – App State at Southern Miss

battleoftheblackandgoldLike coach says, it’s a big one.

“It is a big game,” Coach Scott Satterfield of Appalachian said. “Really, it’s huge at this point.

“It’s a little bit different now for us now that we’re FBS. We’re coming up. Southern Miss has been there. They’ve won several bowl games, have kind of fallen off, but they are building back up.

“So this is a big game for both teams, confidence-wise. Coming out of there with a win would be a huge step for our program at this stage.”

And for the Apps to win, McElfresh will need to continue his early impact.

“I have three touchdowns, but there’s always room for improvement,” McElfresh said. “And I would rather us have two wins on the board more than any of that.”

It was imperative that at least one of the few veteran receivers returning take a lead role.
“Simms has been our most consistent receiver,” Coach Scott Satterfield of the Mountaineers said. “He was in the spring, and he is now.”

Justin Stepp, the receivers’ coach, said: “I can’t say enough about the way Simms has stepped up. He is the leader of this group.”

Ruckus for the Rock!

GIVE ‘EM HELL!

CROCODILE DUNDEE VOICE.

/chuckling “That’s not a rock.”

little_rock

THIS … is a ROCK

daddy_rock

Looks like App State is the underdog

You gonna argue with Vegas?

ideasAdding potential insult to possible injury is this insight – Southern Miss wanted this game.

The scheduling of Appalachian State was intended to give USM another winnable home contest as it tries to build more confidence coming off a 23-game losing streak that ended with a 62-27 victory over UAB in the 2013 season finale.

One could argue that’s a defendable theory.

Only one way to prove it wrong.

Beat Southern Miss.

GIVE ‘EM HELL!

Another night game

kickoffKickoff for South Alabama at App State is set for 6 p.m. That will extend to four the consecutive streak of App State football games to go into the night. That seems like it would be a program record. The streak could go longer, depending upon kickoff for Homecoming against Liberty. It will end October 8 at Troy, which has a 4 p.m. EST start. What say you? You like late starts?

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