Appalachian State (4-2, 3-0 Sun Belt) vs Coastal Carolina (1-5, 0-3 Sun Belt)
Saturday, October 21st, 2017 3:30pm est
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, WHKP 107.7 Hendersonville; WAZZ 1490, WAZZ 94.3 Fayetteville; WPWT 870 AM, 100.7 FM Bristol/Johnson City, TN
Kidd Brewer Stadium
Jeff Sagarin Ratings
App State: 67.26
Coastal Carolina: 44.45
App State is favored by the Sagarin ratings by 25 points (rounded)
Sportsbook: App State -24
Series: App State leads 3-0
Last meeting: App State 55, Coastal Carolina 14, September 29th, 2012
I’m still not quite sure what happened last Saturday. Wait a minute, thats exactly how we started this thing off last week. But the statement still applies to this week. Let’s run with it. Overcoming a deficit in a football game is one thing. Overcoming a twenty point deficit is another. Coming from behind on the road to win is really difficult. Doing all those things, all while having scored zero points in the first half is pretty miraculous. The second half could not have started any worse. An Idaho interception on a tipped pass could have spelled doom for the Mountaineers chances. But the Apps never wavered. In true Mountaineer fashion, they hunkered down and got to work. The rest is history. One long drive led to another. Fourth downs were converted time and time again. The defense, which didnt quit as the half began, decided to bring pain on the Idaho offense. Quarterbacks were sacked, and balls were fumbled, almost mysteriously. The result was another heart stopping victory, the third in as many games in Sun Belt play. An unblemished record in conference play may have been expected by some at this point, but the path was not one anyone could have predicted. The ride has been fun, and we’re only halfway home.
We would have never guessed a decade ago that Coastal Carolina would join a conference with Appalachian. It was more likely that conference would have still been in the FCS. But here are the Chanticleers, in their first full year in FBS football. The growing pains have been plenty for Coastal. Their season in 2017, started similarly to how Appalachian started their FBS journey in 2014. Coastal sits at 1-5 , and that lone win is over a very bad Massachusetts team that has yet to win a game. They have been in several games, and have been blown out just twice, last weekend at Arkansas State, and earlier in the season to Western Illinois. They have hung around with UL-Monroe, who is a team you have to outscore this season and also with Georgia State. In both games, they never quit, even after being down multiple scores, and kept it within one score at the end.
Coastal is in the middle of arguably is toughest stretch of the season. The Arkansas State-App State double on the road is a daunting task. Prior to the season, Coastal had an outside chance of finishing in the middle of the Sun Belt, but those plans were sidetracked when head coach Joe Moglia had to take a medical leave, and Jamey Chadwell from Charleston Southern, was thrust to into the head coach role. Chadwell was the coach as CSU when they defeated the Mountaineers in 2013 during their final year in the FCS. That was Scott Satterfield’s first year as a head coach as well.
The offense that Chadwell ran in 2013 is still with him and his Chanticleers. They love formations with two backs in the backfield, and rarely run a play without a fake, some misdirection or an option run. It’s the true definition of the run-pass option attack. Defenses must be disciplined in their scheme and keep their eyes on their own assignments. The idea is similar to triple option football, but with a more traditional passing game mixed in. It leads to a very balanced offense for the Chanticleers. They do run a little bit more than they pass. Their individual numbers don’t look great across the board, but they do an admirable job with what they have. The phrase, “The whole is greater than the sum of their parts” fits this team perfectly.
Appalachian was very far from from perfect on Saturday. Understatement of the year, I know. The fact is they were killed with poor field position in the first half, and as we learned in the days after the game, Idaho had been prepping to beat the Mountaineers in every single practice since the end of last season. It’s not easy being the top dog . Everyone is trying to beat you, especially the likes of Idaho and New Mexico State, who’ll likely never ever get that chance again. The individual performances were not fantastic against Idaho, but luckily Ike Lewis saved the day. His one headed catch of a Taylor “Not Tyler” Lamb pass was beautifully secured and Lewis did the rest. That’s always been the issue with Ike, makes the routine plays look difficult, and the tough plays look easy. But, when he gets a hold of it, he can be electric. He has suddenly become App’s lone home run play guy, as Thomas Hennigan and Malik Williams’ yards per catch have dipped under ten this past weekend.
As if App was not already dealing with enough injuries on offense, they were dealt a huge blow with news that broke late Wednesday. Terrence Upshaw suffered an injury that will require surgery, and will end his season and his career at Appalachian. At times, Upshaw appeared to be the better runner in certain situations and his loss will certainly be felt. How his role is filled will be interesting to discover on Saturday. Back to the game at hand. It’s painfully obvious, App needs to find a way to start the game better. At this point, it has not hurt the Mountaineers yet, but its inevitable that it will at some point. The Mountaineers have been a much stronger second half team, mostly out of necessity. The game that was most interesting to me that was a good comparison as to how this game will be decided was when Coastal hosted Georgia State. The Panthers opened the game with a kickoff return touchdown, and cruised to a 21-7 first half lead. However, the Chants clawed back before falling 27-21. Georgia State has a decent defense, but their offense can be lacking at times. Sound familiar? A lot of folks think that Coastal might be one of the worst teams in the FBS. But at the same time, they have not looked terrible all the time. I wouldnt be surprised by any result this weekend, and I’ll side with what is most likely to occur. Apps win, but covering that big spread will be tough.
The First Pick
Beach Chickens 20