Here we go with Week 2:
Lenoir-Rhyne @ Appalachian State
Kidd Brewer Stadium
Jeff Sagarin Rankings:
Home advantage: 2.93 points
Series: ASU leads 21-20-4
Last Meeting: 10-16-1982, ASU 49 LR 0
Something happened at Michigan Stadium on September 1, 2007, that will not be forgotten by Michigan or Appalachian State fans for all of eternity. Our Appalachian State Mountaineers rose to the occasion and knocked off college football’s winningest program in their “Big House”. For one afternoon, the Mountaineers gave every small school hopes that one day they may be given the same opportunity. Was it the biggest upset in the history of college football? In all of sports? Those questions are left to be answered by the historians. One thing I do know, it had never happened before. For right now, it will be the biggest upset of all time. For right now, everyone across the college football world is a Mountaineer, (save for Mark May and Kirk Herbstreit). Appalachian didn’t win the game because the Wolverines folded. The game was not won because of some fluke. The Michigan kicker did not kick the ball into the back of his linemen. Corey Lynch showed why he will go down in Mountaineer lore as the best safety in school history. Corey Lynch used every last ounce of energy and turned back the Michigan attack in the final seconds, by blocking a field goal that made 100,000 people get real quiet. Coach Moore said it best. “What we did was so special you have to take some time to enjoy it and allow the players to cherish it….. They’ve earned the right to enjoy what they’ve done.”
The Lenoir Rhyne Bears will make its first appearance in Boone this weekend since 1982. That day did not end well for the Bears and that is probably part of the reason we have not seen them since then. Lenoir Rhyne is coached by former Duke head coach, Fred Goldsmith, who is in his first season with Bears. Lenoir Rhyne had a pretty tough go of it last week as they fell to Virginia Union, 28-13. James Pone was the lone bright spot for the Bears are he carried 23 times for 123 yards and one touchdown. Lenoir Rhyne’s combination of Justin Sanders, Dennis Hickman and Daniel Anderson combined to complete 5 passes for 45 yards and two interceptions. Neither quarterback attempted more than 7 passes. The Bear defense allowed Virginia Union to average 6.3 yards per play on offense and gave up 247 passing yards.
Last week, the Mountaineers played nearly flawless. There were a couple miss tackles, but you expect that in the first game. The penalties were kept in check for the most part. ASU had 4 false starts in the first half, but none in the second half. Armanti Edwards completed nearly 65% of his passes and didn’t throw the ball but 23 times. Four receivers caught at least three passes. Even when the interceptions were thrown, they were not poorly thrown passes. Both passes were picked off by Michigan defenders that had to dive to make the catch and there were no returns. ASU moved the defensive line of Michigan all over the field, enough for 160 yards rushing and 10 rushing first downs. Kevin Richardson was not flashy because Michigan didn’t want Richardson to beat them. Richardson gained 88 yards on the day, inching closer to John Settle’s record, which is only 866 yards away.
Linebacker Pierre Banks made plays left and right against the Michigan offense. Banks led the team with 12 total tackles, two tackles for loss, one sack and one fumble recovery. Corey Lynch also made a play or two for the Mountaineers while recording 11 tackles. The play of Leonard Love may have won him a starting job as he grabbed an huge interception while Michigan was driving. Love finished with 8 tackles on the day.
Lenoir Rhyne is most likely, in trouble. Unlike last Saturday, Michigan was heavily favored to win, but I thought there were some things that ASU could do that could keep them in the ballgame. One of those things was give the ball to Armanti Edwards and let him do what he does best. Another thing was to keep the Michigan defense guessing. We did just enough of that to stay in the game, and then some. On the other hand, I am not quite sure of what Lenoir Rhyne will be able to do to ASU that will give them a chance to win the game. Sure there are things they can do, but I don’t think they have the players to do it. First off, Fred Goldsmith needs to do what Charlie Weiss needs to do. Pick a quarterback and stick with him. A young quarterback has to have growing pains in order to be successful and learn. The Bears are not going to win many football games if they continue to play musical chairs at the quarterback position. They can run the ball 50 times a game and be successful, but they are not going to be able to do that against Appalachian and win the game. Seems like we are repeating the same words from last week, but the shoe is on the other foot. Appalachian is quicker and more skilled at every position. Lenoir Rhyne alumni have been forward to this game all summer. Like last week was ASU’s big game, it’s the season for Lenoir Rhyne. Beating Appalachian would be a bigger upset than what ASU was just able to accomplish in Ann Arbor. This game should give a lot of the ASU players good playing time. Trey Elder will be in sometime in the second quarter and Hunter Stewart will get plenty of reps as well. The Apps should roll before playing a huge FCS game against Northern Arizona next week
The First Pick:
Wolverine Killers 52
Yogi Bear 6