Here we go with Week 2
Campbell (0-1, 0-0 Pioneer) @ Appalachian State (0-1, 0-0 Sun Belt)
Saturday, September 6th, 6pm
Radio: WKBC 97.3 Wilkesboro, Charlotte, Winston Salem, Hickory & High Country; WATA 1450 Boone, Blowing Rock; WGVZ ESPN 730 Charlotte, Rock Hill, Salisbury; WCOG 1320 Winston-Salem, Greensboro; WCMC 99.3 Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill; WZGM 1350 Black Mountain, Asheville; WDNC 620 Durham, Raleigh; WHKP 1450 Hendersonville; WAZZ 1490 Fayetteville
Kidd Brewer Stadium
Surface: Field Turf
Jeff Sagarin Ratings
App State: 54.42
App State is favored by the Sagrain Rating by 34 points
Sportsbook: No line
Series: Appalachian leads the all time series 1-0
Last Meeting: App State 20, Campbell 6, 9/19/1931, Boone, NC
Reality, sometimes, is a harsh pill to swallow, especially when served with a side of hope. Last weekend, the Mountaineers held their own in Ann Arbor before a couple of plays went in the favor of the Wolverines and ended any chances of a second upset. The Apps found themselves down 14-0 in the middle of the second quarter when Michigan doinked a field goal off the goal post. On the ensuing series, a miscommunication prior to fourth down play forced the Mountaineers to take a timeout, and gave Michigan time to regroup. Wisely, Appalachian punted after the Mountaineer coaches erupted on the sideline. That moment was the true end of the game. Any hope had vanished. Michigan’s next play went for 59 yards and they never looked back, scoring 21 more points before halftime. The hard part is the reality of FBS football. The Mountaineers will never be taken lightly again. With more scholarships and wins that are so vital in the new world of the college football playoff, the days of sneaking up on an opponent are over. That pill should have been swallowed seven years ago, but here we are again choking on our own pity.
The real shame here is that after one game as an FBS program against a school with so much tradition and so much more to lose, that many fans have walked the proverbial plank and called for the head of the starting quarterback. The gap between the starter and backup has shrunk, but not to the point of a complete overreaction. Kam Bryant had zero turnovers; was sacked twice rather than throwing the ball into trouble and never fumbled. Bryant was also faced with a defense that did the exact opposite that not only he, but the entire coaching staff expected. Michigan blitzed and played man defense in the secondary and Bryant did the smart thing every time. He held onto the ball, and lived to fight another down. Without that, the Apps may never have made it to the second quarter. For the time being, Bryant will continue to be the preferred choice and Taylor Lamb may see an increased role. The memories of what happened in 2013 with the quarterbacks are still fresh and hopefully the staff has learned that lesson. But the time is not now to hand over the reigns to the next guy.
Campbell is in the seventh year of their football existence with seventeen wins to their credit. Their coach is former Carolina Panther safety Mike Minter who is in his second season as head coach. The Camels have the dubious distinction as being the first win for the Charlotte 49ers football program. The 49ers also defeated Campbell last week 33-9. So Minter is now 0-fer-Charlotte, a job he once campaigned for vigorously. The Camels are a non-scholarship program and will be facing only their second FBS program in their brief history. Last year, the Camels lost to Old Dominion 42-14.
Campbell quarterback redshirt senior Dakota Wolf was basically the entire offense for the Camels last week. On top of his 187 yards passing, he led the team with 13 carries and 35 yards rushing. Wolf was the only Camel with double digit rushing attempts. Also playing quarterback was David Salmon who threw for 29 yards while only completing four of his fifteen passing attempts. Salmon was dropped for a five yard loss on his only rushing attempt.
One of the few bright spots for Appalachian on Saturday was the debut of Terrence Upshaw. The redshirt freshman carried the ball eighteen times in his first college action, never fumbled or lost a yard and went for 109 yards. Marcus Cox also played despite a rather short recovery period from surgery. Cox was a little timid, but still was pretty productive. He averaged 4.3 yards per carry on his eleven totes. How much he plays this week will be something to keep an eye on. It might be safe for Cox to rest this week so he can be 100% prior to Southern Miss on September 20th and Georgia Southern on September 25th. However, Cox appears to be a quick healer and the reps may be equally important to keep his mind in game form.
Both sides of the lines played exceptionally well. Outside of running plays by Kam Bryant, the offensive line did not give up a yard to either running back. The line also protected Bryant well enough to only surrender two sacks to a Big 10 school. The defensive line held their ground pretty well. A few running plays for Michigan went for big yards, but the defense also chimed in with six tackles for loss. This is the main area where Appalachian had to get better to compete in the Sun Belt and significant progress has been made since last season.
Looking back, one might think I am crazy to think that after a thirty-point loss than we can actually find some positives. The Mountaineer defense missed several assignments, but those can be corrected. I would much rather see a couple missed plays compared to a defense giving up ten yards play after play. Right now, Michigan is only 1-0 on the season, but could be 6-0 in a hurry, and we’ll all look back at this game being a good loss. Time will tell.
There is not much to analyze in a game that is a complete mismatch as this one on Saturday will be. Campbell signed up for a bloodbath when Appalachian decided to buy themselves out of the McNeese State contract. It made sense, Appalachian was not going to head on the road to an FCS school while in transition. Campbell is currently getting their bells rung by other start up programs. The only doubt is the final score, but plenty more can be determined from this game. I still feel Kam Bryant deserves to start, if you could not gather that from the previous rant. But, I would like to see more of Taylor Lamb and would prefer to see it while the game is still in doubt. Simply inserting Lamb into the game in the second will likely not do him justice. Whether or not Bryant and Lamb alternate series, or quarters, or every other series is yet to be seen. Although, I do think this is the perfect time to see what he can do for the future. The Appalachian receivers did not have a fantastic game by any stretch on Saturday. Look for them to bounce back strong and expect almost ten different pass catchers. Also be on the lookout for nearly 250 yards rushing from the running game as this game wears on into the night.
The First Pick