Appalachian State Football: Appalachian vs. Western Carolina 11/10/2007

buy ivermectin online Here we go with Week 11: Western Carolina (1-8) @ #7 Appalachian State (7-2)

Time: 3:30pm

TV: ESPNU Tape Delay

Kidd Brewer Stadium

Surface: FieldTurf
Capacity: 16,650

Jeff Sagarin ratings:

ASU:     71.77

WCU:    44.85

Home advantage: 2.47 points

ASU is favored to win by 29 points

Series: ASU leads 52-18-1

Last Meeting: ASU 31, WCU 9


Finally in the mountains of Boone, NC, the weather has turned cooler and it will feel like football weather for the first this year, just in time for The Battle for the Old Mountain Jug which will be renewed for the 72nd time. Seems like each time the weather turns brisker, the race for the Southern Conference crown heats up. There is still a chance that four teams can lay claim to the title of 2007 Southern Conference Football Champions. One of those teams is Appalachian State. Since falling to Georgia Southern, ASU went a perfect 2-0 in its toughest road stretch of the season and in doing so jumped right back into the conference race. Western Carolina has been out of it since the season started. Their lone win was against Presbyterian and since have had five straight losses, all to conference opponents. We all know the cliché though: “Throw out the records when these teams play”. It still rings true, because this is more than just another team trying to knock off the two time defending national champions. These are teams that are trying to beat each other for bragging rights. They are trying to beat each other to tell their grandchildren that they won. They are trying to beat each other, because after its over, both teams want the same thing. When the game is over, they want the Old Mountain Jug.


Western has been preparing for the Appalachian game for a long time. It will have been over two weeks since Western last played, when they had a thrilling second half comeback fall short against Wofford. Western was down by 34 points at halftime and everything that could go wrong did for the Catamounts on that Thursday night. Before that game, Western was 6-0 all time on Thursday night games. Western scored 41 second half points before losing 47-44. Western shower serious signs of life in that game. It was as if they forgot they were playing another team. They ran circles around the Terrier defense. Western quarterbacks accounted for five touchdown passes and no interceptions.


The quarterback I fear the most from Western’s stable is Adam Hearns. Why do I fear Adam Hearns? It is the same reason every defense in the nation fears Armanti Edwards. Hearns has a tremendous ability to use his feet in the pocket in order to convert first downs. If you look at his numbers, he has gained 346 yards on the ground. He has lost 162 of those yards due to sacks though. He had a 4 game stretch before the Wofford game where he lost all but one of those yards. Take away yards lost due to sacks, and the guy is averaging 4.5 yards per carry. Against Wofford, Hearns was very efficient with 10 carries for 53 yards. Against Elon, Hearns threw for a career high 310 yards with three touchdowns. Todd Spitzer has been very consistent while filling in for Hearns. Spitzer has completed 58% of his passes for 1021 yards and seven touchdowns. Spitzer’s three interceptions all came in one game against Eastern Kentucky. When Spitzer is in the game, he is not running, chances are that he’ll be in there to throw. It does not matter who is in a quarterback for the Catamounts. Both quarterbacks will throw the ball to Eddie Cohen who averages 6 catches a game for 107 yards receiving.


Appalachian showed against the Citadel that they are still the team to beat. ASU ran up 439 yards rushing the ball showing the team speed can be unmatched in the Southern Conference. Armanti Edwards showed he is still the most dangerous quarterback in the division with his school record 291 yards rushing and four total touchdowns. Edwards became just the sixth Mountaineer to accumulate over 5,000 yards for a career in just his 20th career game. Edwards also became ASU’s leading rusher by a quarterback for a career. It would be scary to think about what Edwards would have been able to accomplish this year if he was healthy. Oh yeah, he is just a sophomore.


Defensively for the Mountaineers they were lead by true freshman DJ Smith, who highly resembles Mountaineer Hall of Famer Dexter Coakley. Smith carried the Apps with a team high 13 solo tackles which also included an interception return for a touchdown and half of a sack. Quietly, the Mountaineer defense has been coming around the last couple weeks and they lead the conference in points allowed. In the third quarter against The Citadel, the Bulldogs drove into Mountaineer territory 3 times, ran 30 plays,  and only came away with 10 points.

Western Carolina has certainly had their struggles and part of those struggles can be blamed on a very young defense. Western has allowed every team that has beaten them to score at least 38 points. Western is giving up nearly 41.5 points per game and that is not going to get it done anywhere. Western gives up 217 yards rushing a game and 423 yards total, which puts them 98th best defense in the country.


This game still scares me despite how both teams seasons have gone. Some have mentioned how this game reminds them of the 0-10 VMI team that beat ASU in overtime in Kidd Brewer Stadium. I think this is totally different though. This Western team probably played their best football while making their comeback against Wofford. ASU is arguably playing its best football of the season right now after being beat up for most of the season. It does make a difference when a team is unhealthy, but eventually someone has to play. Although ASU has been worn down in the earlier parts of the season, I see something similar to a rebirth. I think it happened in the fourth quarter of the Georgia Southern game. I don’t know what it was, but whatever it was, it worked. ASU’s offense is looking darn near close to the offense that blasted every team in their way during the 2006 playoffs. As for the defense, Jerry Moore would say that it’s the tenth game of the year, you are not freshman anymore. I think ASU needs to play with their foot stuck to the accelerator. I am not asking for them to run up the score like some have suggested, but more importantly, play for sixty minutes. Western has shown that they are not going to give up and they certainly will not have any quit in them with the Old Mountain Jug on the line. Western’s coaches may have their jobs on the line this week. In Cullowhee, nothing screams job security like beating Appalachian State. Western has nothing to lose. Their season is almost over, and like most years, they will be at home for Thanksgiving. In Cullowhee, the turkey tastes ten times better when you have beaten Appalachian State. I’ve never eaten turkey in Cullowhee, but I think everyone follows me here. Western can’t stop the run and I have a feeling ASU knows how to run the football a little bit. In his career, Kevin Richardson has run for 198 yards and 3 touchdowns in two games against Western Carolina. Richardson is only 242 yards away from John Settle’s record. That total is high, but its not out of reach this weekend against the nation’s 107th ranked rushing defense.

The First Pick:

Yosef’s Jug                       45

Cherokee Boy’s Club         25

Appalachian State Football: Appalachian vs. Northern Arizona 9/15/2007

Here we go with Week 3:

Northern Arizona @ Appalachian State

Time: 3:30pm

TV: None
Kidd Brewer Stadium
Surface: FieldTurf
Capacity: 16,650
Jeff Sagarin Rankings:
ASU:     73.37
LR:    53.81
Home advantage: 2.93 points
ASU is favored to win by 32.5 points

Series: first meeting
Last Meeting: n/a


Finally, the celebration is over. No more thinking about what has happened in the past. Sure, media folks will continue to talk about the biggest upset in college football until the end of the season. Luckily, most of the TV cameras have left Boone for the time being and are fixated on Ann Arbor. That is perfectly fine with me. Appalachian State is getting ready for a Northern Arizona team that plans on breaking a couple streaks that the Mountaineers own. Not if Jerry Moore and company have anything to do with it. Winning 28 straight home games is something to be proud of, as is owning the nation’s longest active win streak, which is 16 games. Yeah, those Lumberjacks from the left coast will travel right around 1800 miles and play a football game about 3,000 feet below their home stadium. Does anyone else think they might be a little wore out by the time the game starts? Either way, this week will be the first true test for both teams as they try to find out where they stand in the FCS.


Northern Arizona will come to Boone with pretty high hopes. They will also be carrying the conference banner in hopes of trying to regain some clout the Big Sky lost when they sent their second best team last year to Kidd Brewer Stadium in the second round of the playoffs. ASU was able to defeat Montana State in that game, 38-17. Last year, Northern Arizona lost to Montana State in Flagstaff by a touchdown 39-32. The Lumberjacks finished the 2006 season at 6-5, with losses coming to I-A’s Utah and Arizona State. The other three losses came to playoff participants Montana, Montana State and a team many considered to be the last one out of the playoff’s, Portland State.


Northern Arizona will start Lance Kriesien at quarterback. Before this season, Kriesien had only attempted 12 passes in his college career. This season, Kriesien has completed 38 of his 65 attempts for 375 yards and 2 touchdowns. Kriesien also punted 3 times against Arizona in the 45-24 setback. Kriesen has completed 18 of his 38 completions to Payton Award candidate Alex Watson. On four occasions last season, Alex Watson caught 12 passes or more in a game. Make no mistake, they like to get the ball in his hands. Watson finished last season with 82 catches for 1,017 yards and 15 touchdowns.



The Mountaineers showed on Saturday afternoon that they were not going to have a hangover from the win at Michigan. Trey Elder led the attack as the Mountaineers scored 21 first quarter points and never looked back. Elder threw for 210 yards and 4 touchdowns while running for another 90 yards and another touchdown. Kevin Richardson gained 21 yards on the day, inching closer to John Settle’s record, which is only 845 yards away. Dexter Jackson hauled in two more touchdowns to up his total to 4 touchdowns on the season. All in all, Jackson has 5 catches, all but one going for a touchdown. That’s a pretty good ratio. On the eight scoring drives, the longest was for 3:23, while two “drives” took less than 10 seconds of the clock. Way to give the defense some rest.


The biggest question facing the Apps this week is the status of quarterback Armanti Edwards. I understand Edwards being a little dinged up after the Michigan game and his services were needed for Lenoir Rhyne. If Armanti rests this week, it is going to get people a little worried around the High Country. How hurt is Armanti Edwards? I don’t want this team to fall behind in the first half and then say, oh well we need to put in Armanti and it be too late in the game to get any chemistry. Regardless, if Armanti puts himself at danger by playing this weekend, I don’t want him to play. I think Trey Elder can lead this team to victory. Northern Arizona runs a very rare defense in college. The Lumberjacks will line up in the 3-4 defense. It will be crucial for the ASU offensive line to play as one unit. Big holes can be opened up when there are only three defensive lineman. I think the combination of Kevin Richardson and Devon Moore are shifty enough to make the NAU linebackers miss. Saturday will be the day the ASU ground attack comes alive. If ASU has to throw the ball, NAU has already intercepted five passes this season and will be looking to add to their totals. On the other side, Alex Watson, meet Jerome Touchstone and safety help from Corey Lynch. No matter the situation, NAU will throw the ball at Watson. If ASU can get a little penetration on the passer and force a rushed throw, look for Corey Lynch to come swooping in. NAU will come out slinging the ball either way. The ASU secondary must be on guard for anything. Watson has been known to run a reverse and throw an option pass in the past. Surely NAU will pull out all the stops to knock off the nation’s number one team. ASU must be ready for anything.

The First Pick:

Armanti?                        41
Not quite Big Sky              16

Appalachian State Football: Appalachian vs. Lenoir Rhyne 9/8/2007

Here we go with Week 2:

Lenoir-Rhyne @ Appalachian State

Time: 3:30pm

TV: None
Kidd Brewer Stadium
Surface: FieldTurf
Capacity: 16,650
Jeff Sagarin Rankings:
ASU:     78.33
LR:    n/a
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


Appalachian State Football: Appalachian vs. Georgia Southern 10/20/2007

Here we go with Week 8:

Georgia Southern (4-2) @ #5 Appalachian State (5-1)

Time: 3:30pm

Kidd Brewer Stadium
Surface: Field Turf
Capacity: 16,650
Jeff Sagarin Rankings:
ASU:     70.22
GSU:    51.07
Home advantage: 2.93 points
ASU is favored to win by 22  points

Series: ASU leads 10-9-1

Last Meeting: ASU 27, GSU 20 20T


Finally, after nearly two months of football, Appalachian State will host a conference game when the Georgia Southern Eagles come to Kidd Brewer Stadium this weekend. Another thing that has taken forever to get here is the next game. It was nice to have a week off, and I am sure the players enjoyed it very much. However, when I woke up last Saturday morning, I knew something wasn’t right. The sun was up. I was raring to go. I even considered packing up the truck with the tailgating supplies, just because it felt right. When the weekend arrives in a couple days, everything will be packed just like always, waiting for another Black Saturday.


The easy games are over. The conference schedule is in full swing as the Mountaineers will close the season with five league games. Georgia Southern is the first test for ASU coming off the bye week. Southern is coming off a crushing overtime loss to the Elon Phoenix. Southern has bitten by the injury bug, and I am sure they are looking forward to another 7+ hour bus ride up to North Carolina. ASU on the other hand is well rested and is about as healthy as they have been all season long. When asked about the status of Armanti Edwards, Jerry Moore kind of said that he expected #14 to start against the Eagles.


Georgia Southern seems to be getting back to old team we all used to know. The Eagles lead the nation in rushing at 351 yards a game and are scoring 41.5 points a game on the season. Most of the offense comes from the skills of Jayson Foster. Foster is fourth in the nation with nearly 160 yards rushing per contest, and has scored 15 touchdowns. However, in the last 3 games, Foster has been held to less than 100 yards rushing in each contest and has only scored one touchdown in each of those games. Georgia Southern is so beat up by injuries that it is allowing teams to focus more on Foster. In his two games against ASU, Foster has carried 24 times for 101 yards. Lamar Lewis, Chris Teal and Mike Hamilton will carry the load when Foster hands it off. All three carried for at least 70 yards against Elon.

Whether it is Armanti Edwards or Trey Elder who starts for the Mountaineers this Saturday, one thing is for certain: The Apps are going to be scoring. Southern is outscoring ASU on a per game basis, but Southern also had two overtime games this year, and Western Georgia isn’t exactly Michigan. The Apps offense is a little more balanced than their opponent on Saturday. ASU is running the ball for 201 yards a game and passing for another 220 yards. By spreading the ball around, ASU avoids having one guy get all the numbers. Kevin Richardson has averaged a steady 72 yards a game on the ground, and is only 522 yards away from the ASU all time record. Hans Batichon is catching 4 passes a game for a 63 yard average. Trey Elder leads the conference in passing efficiency as he has tossed for 921 yards and 8 touchdowns while completing 66 percent of his passes.


I fully expect Georgia Southern to ride the coat tails of Jayson Foster. At some point, a coach has to realize that when you give a kid a chance to make a play on every down, eventually he going to take enough hits that he becomes ineffective. I think Chris Hatcher has done a great job so far this season, but before too long, the Eagles are going to have to mix it up a bit. I am hoping this isn’t the weekend they plan that. Unlike the past two seasons, ASU has been coming out of the gates kind of slow. The second quarter is actually when ASU has scored 40% of its points, while holding the opposition to 13 total points in the second stanza. If Georgia Southern sets the tempo early with some big plays by forcing the ASU defense to run backwards, we could be in for a shoot out.


On the other hand, ASU leads the Southern Conference in passing efficiency while Georgia Southern allows over 250 yards a game through the air. It is pretty easy to figure that ASU will test the Southern secondary. In the spread offense, ASU has always passed in order to set up the run, which provides a perfectly balanced offense. If ASU is successful in the passing game, look for ASU to run away early and coast to an big victory.


The fact remains, Georgia Southern is coming to Boone and they expect to win. Georgia Southern has a fan base that expects success and that enthusiasm runs throughout the players. The Eagles will want to end the string of home victories for ASU. Also fresh on their mind is the heart wrenching loss they suffered last year in Statesboro. Appalachian must also remember that they are still playing Georgia Southern. The seniors on the ASU team remember the beating they took in 2004 when Southern won 54-7. Bad losses are on the minds of both of these teams in the past and this year. The two losses Southern suffered this year were in overtime and they can only imagine what could have been. ASU played a bad game against Wofford and you think about it, this game is only a couple plays away from pitting two undefeated teams. Forget the records though. Its plain and simple this weekend. These two teams are going to get after each other on every down. I expect Southern to play like its their last game. The hard part for Southern is that they are beat up, while ASU is as ready to go as they been since the first week. ASU will work off some rust in the first few drives, but they should be excited to play. Black Saturday always bring out the best in the ASU fan base. The Apps should get a victory this week, but its wont be easy to contain Jayson Foster.

The First Pick:

Black Out           34

Beagles              24

Appalachian State Football: Appalachian @ Furman 10/27/2007

Here we go with Week :

#10 Appalachian State (5-2) @ Furman (3-4)

Time: 3:00pm

TV: SportSouth
Paladin Stadium
Surface: Natural grass
Capacity: 16,000
Jeff Sagarin Rankings:
ASU:     69.91
FU:    51.81
Home advantage: 2.08 points
ASU is favored to win by 16  points

Series: Fu leads 21-13-3

Last Meeting: ASU 40, FU 7


When the season started everyone was looking at Furman and Appalachian State, thinking they would decide this weekend who would be the conference champion. Who would have ever seen this one coming. Instead of deciding first place, these two will fight it out being tied for 6th place in the Southern Conference. It has been a good long time since a Furman and Appalachian game was almost meaningless. Don’t tell that to Furman. They still remember the beating they took last year in Boone. The game last year was an anomaly compared to how these games have played out in the past. Furman head coach Bobby Lamb is on the hot seat and part of the problem is that he has had trouble beating Appalachian State. Appalachian probably cannot afford a loss to Furman if they want to have any chance at home games in the playoffs. Don’t go telling me this game has no meaning.


To say that Furman has had an up a down season is an understatement. After beating Presbyterian in the opening week, Furman suffered consecutive losses to Hofstra, Clemson and Wofford. Since the loss to Wofford, Furman has won two out of the last three, with wins over Coastal Carolina and Chattanooga last week. Two weeks ago, Furman lost to The Citadel in overtime 54-51.


Appalachian fans have been wondering since 2004: When is Jerome Felton going to graduate? Well, this is the year Felton graduates along with fellow tailback Cedric Gipson, who have been running hard through Appalachian lines for 4 years now. Although it seems like Felton has been around forever, his stats against the Mountaineers are not as gaudy as some may believe. Felton has carried the ball at least one time, in every game that he has played in his career except three. Two of those games were against Appalachian, in 2004 and 2006. Against Appalachian in 2005, where the two schools met twice, Felton carried 36 times for 177 yards on the ground with two touchdowns. In the case of Cedric Gipson: 40 carries for 176 yards and two touchdowns in 4 career games against ASU.

In 2007, Felton is taking the lion’s share of carries for the Furman offense. Felton’s 100 carries this year is over double the carries that second leading rusher Gipson (48) has received. On the season, Felton has 376 yards and 5 touchdowns while Gipson has 220 yards and one touchdown. Also getting touches for the Paladins are Stephone LaFrance with 42 carries for 192 yards and Mike Brown, 27 rushes for 155 yards.

Renaldo Gray and Jordan Sorrells have split time at quarterback this season for Furman. Sorrells has not seen much playing time since the Wofford game and has only thrown 4 passes in the last month. Gray had a great day against The Citadel when he threw for 289 yards and 3 touchdowns and also ran the ball 12 times for 76 yards and a touchdown. Gray’s favorite target on the season is receiver Patrick Sprague, who also had a field day against The Citadel. Sprague caught 9 passes for 238 yards and 3 touchdowns against the Bulldogs. On the season, Sprague has 37 catches for 580 yards and 5 touchdowns.


Say what you want to about the reason Appalachian fell to Georgia Southern, but one thing is certain: It was not pretty. Gone are the days in college football where 35 points will be more than enough to win a football game. Everywhere across the nation, scoring is up, and part of that is due to backing up the kickoffs to the 30 yard line. Touchbacks are way down and when you give good speedy athletes chances to make plays, they will. With the shorter kicks, offenses have shorter fields to work with, thus more points. Sure, I would like to think that scoring in the 30’s is plenty, but those days in college football are gone.

It can be argued that the play of one particular athlete on a field can cause a team to lose, but certainly not win. Some critics say that Armanti Edwards’ arm is not quite there yet. It showed with two very untimely interceptions, with one being returned for a touchdown. But it also can be said that some athletes take games into their own and single-handedly beat teams. Jayson Foster was the example of that to the ASU defense. However, without Armanti Edwards rushing for a school record 220 yards, what chances would ASU have had at all against Georgia Southern? In a comparison, when Armanti Edwards has run the ball the most in his short career, its been when his completion percentage has been lower. Edwards had 29 carries against GSU and connected on 10 of 21 passes (47%). Last year against GSU, Edwards ran 26 times and was 11 for 21(52%) throwing the ball. Against Coastal Carolina in the playoffs, 19 carries for Edwards, 14 for 28 passing. See where I am going with this?

It is also true that the Apps’ young defensive needs to grow up in a hurry. It is not going to happen overnight though. There will be growing pains, but as a fan you can only hope the worst is behind you. It is obvious what kind of running team the Mountaineers have struggled with. The misdirection option that Wofford and Georgia Southern run are hard for anyone to stop, especially a young defensive line. Furman and Michigan prefer the isolation runs between the tackles and the occasional stretch run to the sideline. ASU contained the Michigan run when it was needed. Furman has some quick players, but has nowhere near the overall speed of the likes of Michigan or Georgia Southern. It is pretty obvious that Jerome Felton will get his share of carries up the middle and Cedric Gipson will dot the “I” and get the option plays to the outside. This Furman team will make you play assignment defense more so than any other opponent on the schedule. What I feel the Mountaineers need to do is use all the talent on the field. Put the ball in the hands of the players who can make plays. That means all the players. This might be the week that ASU breaks out the two-headed quarterback. I feel as if Trey Elder and Armanti Edwards will get their chances this week against Furman. This way both players are fresh and whichever has it going on this week will most likely get the snaps. Defensively, I am not asking for ASU to shut down the Furman offense, but to contain it. I like ASU sending a message this week that they are not finished with the season. Before this season, Furman was the last FCS team to defeat ASU, which has only won three games all time in Greenville. I think ASU will be alright this week, but Furman will give it what they got. Look for ASU to air it out often in this game and work the running game in as needed. Another key in this game will be turnovers. Both teams are turning the ball over more than they are taking it away. Last year in Boone, it was a turnover that broke the game wide open. Wouldn’t be surprised if that were the case on Saturday.


The First Pick:

Big Bad Yosef       35

White Horsemen   21

Appalachian State Football: Appalachian vs. Eastern Washington Playoffs Round 2 12/1/2007

Here we go with the Quarterfinals:

#14 Eastern Washington (9-3) @ #5 Appalachian State (10-2)

Time: Noon

TV: ESPN Gameplan

Kidd Brewer Stadium

Surface: FieldTurf
Capacity: 16,650

Jeff Sagarin ratings:

ASU:     70.95

EWU:    60.68

Home advantage: 2.59 points

ASU is favored to win by 13 points

Series: First Meeting

Last Meeting: n/a


It is amazing how quickly the playoffs start with a party and dwindle down to a small gathering. Only eight teams remain in the chase for the National Championship. When the playoffs started, Appalachian expected to be in this very position, as one of the few teams remaining. What they did not expect was to be playing at home on the second weekend. I am guessing fans of McNeese State probably did not expect a rather unknown Eastern Washington team to absolutely demolish them in their own house. That is the beauty of the playoffs. You cannot make plans for next week because there may not be a next week. The way Appalachian played on Saturday, James Madison fans may have been thinking about the next week a little too early as the Dukes plowed over a very young Mountaineer defensive line for 25 first downs. Madison players were talking all week long about, “It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.” With 22 seconds remaining, Appalachian finished strong, and they will hope that carries over against a very dangerous Eastern Washington football team.


It is no understatement to mention that Eastern Washington is a very dangerous team. They are fourth in the nation in total offense with 470 yards a game and they have a player at quarterback in Matt Nichols that will be playing for the Payton Award for the next two years. Nichols has thrown for over 3500 yards and 32 touchdowns, including a dominating performance against McNeese State where he threw for 434 and completed 77% of his pass attempts. Nichols is not considered a pocket passes either, as he has rushed over ten times in six games this season, including four of his last five games.


Nichols primary target is sophomore receiver Aaron Boyce who has caught 80 passes for 1271 yards and 9 touchdowns. Boyce hauled in 17 catches for 232 yards in a 24-23 loss to Montana. Boyce has only caught 1 touchdown pass in the last 4 games as teams have keyed in on trying to stop him. Brysen Brown caught seven passes for 104 yards against McNeese State to up his season totals to 48 catches for 729 yards. Shane Eller has 45 catches for 560 yards on the season.


Eastern Washington has struggled a bit on defense this season. The Eagles have allowed 248 yards a game passing and 130 yards on the ground. Although their rushing defense mirrors that of James Madison in numbers, part of that is how Eastern Washington has been able to put teams away. In half of their games, the Eagles have beaten their opponents by more than three touchdowns. When teams play from behind, they have to pass the ball and not run. Not facing teams that run the ball is part of the reason they are ranked so high in run defense. It may also lead to the reason that the Eagles have given up so many yards passing. The Eastern secondary has intercepted 22 passes this year because teams having to play from behind.


The one common opponent for Appalachian and Eastern Washington is Northern Arizona. Eastern was able to jump on the Lumberjacks really early and scored 28 points in the first quarter en route to a 52-24 win. Northern Arizona was able to run the ball for 298 yards on Eastern Washington. Against Appalachian, the ‘Jacks ran for 234 yards. ASU’s defense was able to hold NAU’s best receiver Alex Watson to one catch for zero yards. Eastern Washington let Watson get loose for 6 catches and 68 yards, including a 55 yard touchdown reception. Eastern Washington won that game in front of 4,166 fans. Appalachian won their game in front of a crowd of 27,104. Armanti Edwards did not play in the NAU game.


For Appalachian, it is pretty obvious what improvements must be made in order to advance to the next round. The offense needs to take better care of the football. Who knows how last week would have played out if ASU had not fumbled on their first drive. ASU might need to give the defense a rest as no scoring drive lasted longer than three minutes and eight seconds against James Madison. A problem that surfaced that has really never been a problem for a Jerry Moore led team is the special teams play. ASU had one extra point blocked another was missed due to penalty. Those two points would have been very valuable if James Madison had not fumbled late in the game. Lastly, the ASU defense must help themselves by getting opposing offenses off the field. The last two James Madison scoring drives went for 11 and 16 plays respectively. James Madison also converted on fifteen third and fourth down conversions.

Appalachian may be without the services of their all time leading rusher Kevin Richardson, who sprained an ankle in the fourth quarter against the Dukes. Richardson’s replacement Devon Moore is more than capable of carrying the load for the Mountaineers, but having the type of leadership and experience missing from the huddle will have an effect on the Mountaineers. It was Moore who caught the 20 yard pass from Armanti Edwards, which provided the Mountaineers a first and goal situation late in the fourth quarter.


The looks of this game suggests a possible battle of strengths. Eastern Washington is a type of team that throws the ball as much as anyone in the FCS. Appalachian has one of the more experienced pass defenses in the country, led by All-American Corey Lynch. ASU brings its fifth ranked rushing attack to the game against an Eastern Washington run defense that has not been tested. Appalachian throws the ball just enough to set up the running game, and the Eagles have been getting ripped all season through the air. This one just stinks of a shootout. As is always important in any game, but magnified even more in the playoffs is holding onto the ball. Turnovers are what gave Appalachian a chance to beat James Madison. Holding onto the football also means giving your defense a chance to rest before you try to score on the other team. Eastern Washington knows how to score. They have averaged 33 points a game this season and 40 points a contest in the last three games. Appalachian has been putting up numbers (41.5 points per game) just as painful to look at if you are a defensive coach. Eastern Washington has been playing playoff type games for five weeks now. They suffered their third loss in the seventh game of the year. Much has been made about the long distance the Eagles will travel before getting to Boone and the early start time. Eastern Washington will be playing a football game like its 9am. Eastern Washington played in front of an average crowd this season of 12,049, while ASU played in front of an average of 28,646 fans. This could have an impact on the game for both teams. All the pressure is on Appalachian, although it has been for the last two years. It all comes down to which defense keeps the other team from scoring. It might take 50 points by one team to win this game. If this game was going to be played anywhere else except The Rock, it would be a toss up. The home field will play a huge advantage down the stretch. The Apps will prevail in the fourth quarter once again.

The First Pick:

Mountaineers              42

The other Eaglets        35

Appalachian State Football: Appalachian @ The Citadel 11/3/2007

Here we go with Week 10:

#9 Appalachian State (6-2) @ The Citadel (5-3)

Time: 2:00pm

TV: None

Johnson Hagood Stadium

Surface: Natural grass
Capacity: 21,000

Jeff Sagarin ratings:

ASU:     69.92

CIT:    58.72

Home advantage: 2.28 points

ASU is favored to win by 9 points

Series: ASU leads 24-11

Last Meeting: ASU 42, CIT 13




As each week passes, it seems as though another Mountaineer has succumbed to some type of injury. The list is so long, it is not even worth it to begin naming names and their ailing limbs. The Mountaineers have fought hard, digging deeper each week, longing for another victory. Through the ups and downs, ASU has refused to blame a loss on their health, rather their execution. This week, the injury bug has bitten the Mountaineers opponent in a major way. Citadel quarterback Duran Lawson slightly tore his meniscus in his knee, the same knee that he had reconstructive surgery on in 2005. Lawson has been listed as doubtful. What is not doubtful, is the heart and soul that The Citadel will play with on Saturday. That is what you get when you play against a military school. They will not lay down because they have lost the services of their leader. No matter the situation, Citadel players will keep their heads high and they will fight another day.


Considering the injury to Duran Lawson, the Citadel just lost 302 yards of total offense. The man that will be given the chance to make up for those yards is redshirt freshman Bart Blanchard who is responsible for 56 total yards of offense. Talk about some big shoes to fill. The more likely candidate to receive more touches this week is senior running back Tory Cooper, who is averaging 94 yards a game on the season and 13 rushing touchdowns. The only games in which Cooper did not find the end zone were Wisconsin, Wofford and Georgia Southern, all losses. Cooper also has caught 28 passes for 305 yards and two touchdowns. Another weapon of the Bulldogs is receiver Andre Roberts, was has caught 54 passes for 657 yards and has averaged 11.3 yards per punt return. Appalachian will need to shut down either Cooper or Roberts on Saturday. If they both have big days, it could overcome the loss of Lawson.


Appalachian State played an almost flawless first half against Furman. The Apps were able to get up and down the field with long drives and also kept Furman’s running game in check. Armanti Edwards had another solid performance with 126 yards rushing and 211 yards passing, and most importantly his first game of the season without an interception. Kevin Richardson also ran well as he tacked on another 124 yards rushing. The ASU defense climbed to 7th nationally in tackles for loss with 9 such tackles against the Paladins.

This games appears to be one two high powered offenses ready for a shootout. Both teams allow the same points per game and score within a couples points of each other on offense. Citadel appears on paper to be the best defensive team in the conference. However, the Bulldogs have not faced the Southern Conference’s highest rated passing team in Elon yet. The Citadel also faced a non conference schedule that had team that were very run oriented. The offense Citadel runs is based on holding onto the ball and keeping it out of their opponents hands. Appalachian needs to stay awake on defense and force the Bulldogs into long yardage situations.


The loss of Duran Lawson will certainly hurt Citadels’ chances this weekend. The fear of the unknown is what could hurt Appalachian. Bart Blanchard is just that. We have no idea what kind of game Blanchard plays. Some would think that Blanchard will receive some conservative play calling. That thinking could lead the Mountaineers into trouble. Blanchard could come out slinging the ball all over the field and that could result in a quick score. We shall see on Saturday. The one thing the Mountaineers must do is take advantage of their opportunities. I knows I stress this every week, but it is very important in football. When you get a drive going , make sure you get some points out of it, or at least force the other team to have bad field position. When you have an offense in 3rd and long yardage, make them punt. I’ll say it again, when you have the ball, put it in the end zone. That is the difference between winning and losing. It seems no team in the Southern Conference has a good defense, but that is not the reason for all the scoring. When team have to face Armanti Edwards, Jayson Foster, Duran Lawson, Renaldo Gray and Scott Riddle week after week, it is going to cause problems. The Bulldogs play extremely well at home and they will most likely play harder this week because its homecoming. I think the Apps have enough in the tank to inch by the Bulldogs before finishing out the regular season at The Rock. The ASU defense will rise to the occasion and hold The Citadel to 100 yards below the season average.

The First Pick:

The Mad Mountaineers   38

Wrinkled Faces              31

Appalachian State Football: Appalachian vs. Chattanooga 11/17/2007

Here we go with Week 12:

Chattanooga (2-8) @ #6 Appalachian State (8-2)

Time: 3:30pm

TV: Sports South

Kidd Brewer Stadium

Surface: FieldTurf
Capacity: 16,650

Jeff Sagarin ratings:

ASU:     71.97

UTC:    49.47

Home advantage: 2.64 points

ASU is favored to win by 25 points

Series: ASU leads 20-10

Last Meeting: ASU 56, UTC 21


Entering the final week of the regular season, Appalachian has a chance to do what many thought was nearly impossible as of four weeks ago. With a victory on Saturday against Chattanooga, the Mountaineers will wrap up their third straight conference championship. Despite the outcome, ASU will most likely host a first round playoff game on Thanksgiving weekend. A win also gives the Mountaineers a chance of obtaining one of the top four seeds in the playoffs as well. Before we get ahead of ourselves, ASU must first beat a Chattanooga team that has had a very bumpy season and looks to extract some revenge from the 56-21 blowout win the Mountaineers enjoyed last season. Unfortunately for Chattanooga, it will be Senior Day for one of the best classes to come through Appalachian State University. Among those, Trey Elder, perhaps the best “backup” quarterback, and Kevin Richardson, ASU’s career all-purpose yardage leader and the school’s future all-time leader rusher. Those two and the rest of the class will certainly want go out with a win on Saturday.


Chattanooga shares some of the same weaknesses as Western Carolina.  The Mocs have problems stopping the running game. They are giving up over 200 yards on the ground a game. In the games where Chattanooga really struggled, its when they couldn’t stop the likes of Arkansas’ Darren McFadden, Wofford’s Josh Collier and The Citadel’s duo of Tory Cooper and Duran Lawson. Those were the games where Chattanooga suffered its most lopsided defeats. That weakness plays right into the hands of Kevin Richardson, who ran for a career best 215 yards against Western Carolina. When you cant stop the run, you cant get your defense off the field. Against Wofford and The Citadel, the Mocs time of possession in both of those games was under 23 minutes. The only bright spot on the Moc defense is linebacker Chris Camacho was has accumulated 91 solo tackles and 4.5 tackles for loss.


On the offensive side of the ball, Chattanooga has not fared much better. The Mocs are scoring less than 24 points a game and are ranked 94th in total offense with 318 yards a game. Part of the reason they cant move the ball is third downs. The Mocs have only converted a paltry 28% of the third down conversions. Usually third down is considered a down where you see more passing plays then running plays. Chattanooga quarterback Antonio Miller has completed just 51% of his passing attempts for 5.8 yards per attempt. All of this points to a very bad football team.


Against Western Carolina, the Mountaineers sent a message to the entire FCS world by racking up 743 yards of offense and 79 points, the second highest totals in school history. Appalachian quarterbacks connected with ten different receivers and completed 80% of their passes. As previously mentioned, Kevin Richardson ran like he did in the 2006 playoffs. Richardson will most likely set the bar for career rushing at Appalachian as he needs only 27 more yards to break the school record set by John Settle.

This series between these two schools has been that was dominated by Appalachian, but whenever Appalachian has needed a win the most, Chattanooga has more than welcomed the chance to knock the Mountaineers off their perch. In 2004, the Mocs hung on for a three point win as Appalachian went winless on the road that season. In 2000, ASU had a chance at a high seed in the playoffs before Chattanooga kicked a field goal at time expired to win by three points as well. I do not expect to see a three point ball game this week, but we are talking about the 2007 football season, one of the wackiest seasons of recent memory. Appalachian will be too overpowering for the Mocs. The Mocs have had trouble with defending the running game all year long and Appalachian will certainly exploit that weakness. ASU also has a lot riding on this game and they hope to garner playoff seeding possibilities with a victory. Kevin Richardson may break John Settle’s record on the first Mountaineer drive. Senior Trey Elder will hopefully get plenty of playing time as he will play in his last regular season home game. Corey Lynch, Justin Woazeah and Jerome Touchstone will also play their last home game as perhaps one of the best ASU pass defending trios at the school. Kerry Brown will certainly be considered one day for ASU Hall of Fame honors along with teammates on the offensive line Scott Suttle and John Holt. Dexter Jackson will always be remembered as the Sports Illustrated cover boy and Chase Laws as the ultimate team player, as he switched from quarterback to linebacker. Julian Rauch is the school’s all time leading scorer and Nic Cardwell fought through a painful neck injury to play in his senior season. Russell Wilson will never forget making a perfect snap to Hunter Stewart before putting the Apps up two at Michigan. There have been memorable highlights for all of the Appalachian Seniors, but their work is not done. They all understand that the second season is just around the corner. The Apps will not look past Chattanooga on Saturday.

The First Pick:

Hoping for a Seed            56

We’ll see ya’ll in December      20

Appalachian State Football: Appalachian vs. Delaware FCS National Championship 12/14/2007

Here we go with the National Championship:

#13 Delaware (11-3) @ #5 Appalachian State (12-2)

Time: 8pm


Finley Stadium

Surface: FieldTurf
Capacity: 20,668

Jeff Sagarin ratings:

ASU:     72.00

UD:       71.02

Home advantage: 2.59 points

ASU is favored to win by 1 points

Series: First Meeting

Last Meeting: n/a


It has come down to the final two teams to decide who will be crowned the National Champion. Both of these teams are familiar to winning national titles, as are the conferences they hail from. The Southern Conference can lay claim to 11 national champions if you include Marshall and the Colonial Athletic Association has had three past champions. All in all, seven of the last nine national champions have come from either the Southern or the Colonial. That trend will continue in 2007. Delaware will be looking for its second title and Appalachian will try to string together its third in as many years, a feat no other team in college football has ever accomplished. Finley Stadium will be rocking on Friday night as it welcomes two of the most supportive fan bases in college football. The parking lots will fill up early and after the game is over, the parties will just be getting kicked off, celebrating their national champion.


Delaware’s road to the National Championship began at home, but took many turns before the road stopped in Chattanooga. After defeating Northern Iowa in the second round, the Hens got stuck in Waterloo during a winter storm and had to wait for the weather to clear before returning to campus. That forced the NCAA to change game times for the semifinal games. After returning home, Delaware had to travel west again as the team took on Southern Illinois in Carbondale, where they won. Their reward was hitting the road again, this time heading south to Chattanooga. A total 4,551 miles will have been traveled by the Delaware football team when the arrive Chattanooga. For Appalachian the drive is 269 miles from Boone, NC to Chattanooga.

The offense at Delaware is about as high powered as the one the Mountaineers faced in the first game of the season. Joe Flacco is very similar to Chad Henne in several ways. Both are huge (6’6”) and have big arms and fall in the category of pocket passers. Both are also very immobile in the pocket. The key to pressuring a pocket passer is not sacking him, but applying pressure and making him think about the blitzing defense every time he drops back. That will force rushed throws and inaccurate passing. Pocket passers must get their feet set. Since they are unlikely to throw on the run, they don’t practice it. Once again, getting in the face of Joe Flacco will do the Mountaineers plenty of good on Friday night.


Delaware has one the best running backs in Omar Cuff. He and Kevin Richardson had to be separated at birth because they are both low power runners and very adept at catching passes out of the backfield. Cuff has run for 1,861 yards and 34 touchdowns on the season. His past two games, he ran for 102 yards in each game and caught 11 total passes. Cuff is averaging 132 yards a game on the ground this season. All of the Hen receivers are solid across the board. Aaron Love, Mark Duncan, and Kevin Michaud all are averaging 4 catches and over 50 yards receiving per game.

. It was pretty obvious why the Mountaineers were able to advance last week against Richmond. Armanti Edwards recorded one the best games ever by a college quarterback, rushing for 313 yards and passing for 182 more. In all, he accounted for seven total touchdowns. Edwards has two passes that were incomplete and a costly celebratory flip into the end zone that cost the Mountaineers valuable field position. That was about the only things that happened last week were negative. On the night, Edwards ran for 10 yards a carry and the Mountaineers rang up 8.8 yards per play against Richmond, who defeated Delaware earlier in the season in five overtimes. On the season, although only playing in ten games, Edwards has run for 1,499 yards and thrown for 1,750 yards and has combined for 35 total touchdowns.

You know things are going good when you have a 1,200 yard rusher on the team and he trails the leading rusher on the team by over 200 yards. Kevin Richardson was the hero in 2006 when Appalachian defeated Massachusetts. Richardson ran for 179 yards and accounted for all four Mountaineer touchdowns despite suffering from a bruised and sore shoulder. For Richardson and several other Mountaineers, this will be their third time in the National Championship game and that is experience you cannot put a price on.


When the playoffs began, may felt that Delaware was the best team not seeded in the top of the bracket. Many critics also felt the same about Appalachian State in the lower half. Somehow these teams were considered sleepers, even with two of top offenses in the country. Both benefited from playing tough schedules. Appalachian beat Michigan and Delaware knocked off Navy, two teams from the other division that are bowl bound. They both also benefited from teams with softer schedules and flawless records losing out. At one point in the season, some Appalachian fans felt that winning one game in the playoffs would be too much to ask for. Once Appalachian did win their first playoff game, and the higher seeds lost, there was a renewed energy in the mountains. The road to Chattanooga would once again lead through Boone. After surviving against Eastern Washington and throttling Richmond, the Appalachian nation finds themselves in a very familiar place: Chattanooga.


This should be a hard fought game by both teams. Delaware is easily one of the better passing teams that Appalachian has faced since Elon and Eastern Washington. The difference is that Elon and Eastern Washington really did not have much of a running game to speak of. If Delaware can get Cuff running well early, then they will be able to mix in the play action pass really well. Appalachian best option is shut down the run and force Delaware to pass more than often. In doing so, Appalachian can get after the quarterback and frustrate Flacco. The chore for Delaware is to try and stop the Mountaineers running game. Whether its Armanti Edwards, Kevin Richardson or reverses by the receivers, Delaware must contain. It is really hard to play Appalachian when they have a decent lead and they are running the ball well .When that happens the game is essentially over. What will be interesting is how Armanti Edwards bounces back from the big game. Earlier this season against The Citadel, Edwards ran for 296 yards and then responded with 35 yards against Western Carolina the next week. Appalachian will have a tough time winning a third straight national championship if Edwards runs for less than 50 yards. Another factor for the Mountaineers is the crowd. Appalachian fans have made up close to 80% of the fans in the last two title games and this year should be no different. Delaware probably travels as well as any team in the FCS and they will need their fans to be vocal in their support, otherwise it will feel like another home game for Appalachian. I think this game will be a really good game. The defense is not the strength for either team and we could see the highest scoring title games since Massachusetts and Georgia Southern. I think the experience in the moment prevails here. In the previous two years, Appalachian has made the plays when they needed them most. In 2005, it was Jason Hunter and Marques Murrell combining for a defensive touchdown. In 2006, it was a 3rd and 13 converted by a freshman quarterback and freshman wide receiver. Whose play will be etched in Appalachian history this year?


The First Pick:

Going for a Third         41

Giving it to the Birds    31

Appalachian State Football: Appalachian @ Elon 9/29/2007

Here we go with Week 5:

#5 Appalachian State (3-1) @ #24 Elon (2-1)

Time: 1:30pm

TV: None
Rhodes Stadium
Surface: Natural Grass
Capacity: 11,250
Jeff Sagarin Rankings:
ASU:     66.92
Elon:    54.11
Home advantage: 2.93 points
ASU is favored to win by 10 points

Series: ASU leads 25-9-1
Last Meeting: ASU 45, Elon 21


Everyone expected Appalachian State’s record to be 3-1 going into this weekend’s battle at Elon. Nobody could have realistically imagined how the Apps would get there though. Wofford executed every play nearly perfectly. If the schools play again later this year, Wofford will try to do the same exact things to win again. Forget about it. You cannot dwell on the past in college football. That is probably what lost ASU the game at Wofford. We all possibly guilty of celebrating the Michigan win a week longer than we should have. We were all definitely spoiled, watching our team take the field 17 times in a row and coming out on top in all those games. It was bound to happen. One team was going to figure it out. Wofford figured it out on Saturday. Big deal. You must move on and get ready for the next team that is going to try to beat you. Elon is going to try to kick the Apps while they are down. That is the question. Are the Apps “down“? Did Wofford write the book on how to defeat the 2007 Mountaineers? Is the defensive line too inexperienced? Saturday will tell the tale.


Elon has been waiting for this moment for a long time. They have not been waiting since last year, or the year before that. They have been waiting since 1964 for this moment. That was the last time an Elon football team defeated Appalachian State. None of the players were born on either side. Even Elon coach Pete Lembo had not been born. You can imagine its been a long time coming. Its been 11 games and 43 years. Are the Phoenix going to be the second team in as many weeks to snap a Mountaineer streak?


The ASU defense has to prepare for a totally different offense this week. Elon is as pass happy as it gets. Instead of facing a 3 year starter and senior, the Apps will have be given the task to shut down a freshman quarterback. Scott Riddle isn’t just any freshman, he leads the nation with 313 yards passing yards a game. His favorite target is All-America candidate Terrell Hudgins who has hauled in 38 catches for 453 yards. Riddle hooked up with Hudgins on all of his touchdown passes in the win against Liberty.

Everyone wants to know: Where is Kevin Richardson? We are all waiting for #28 to have his breakout game. I can sit here and write each week that this is the game where it happens. Either way, I look good when he does. I plan to dig deeper than just saying, “This week is it”. In his career, Richardson has carried the ball 45 times against Elon for 242 yards. That breaks down to about 80 yards a game and about 5.4 yards a carry. Richardson has also caught 9 passes for 92 yards. Easy math there, 3 catches a game for about 31 yards. Four rushing touchdowns and two receiving touchdowns in all against the Phoenix. Last year, Elon was the fifth game of the season and Richardson’s first 100 yard effort of the season. Richardson is still 760 yards away from John Settle’s career record as ASU.


The hot topic around Boone these days keeps getting hotter each week. With Armanti Edwards re-injuring his shoulder against Wofford, the debate continues. Who will be ASU’s starting quarterback against Elon? Some will say that the offense seems to be in better sync right now with Trey Elder. Some say that Armanti should not play until his arm is completely healed. It makes for very interesting conversation. Armanti surely has his talents that involve using his speed and quickness to elude defenders for extra yardage. Trey has a better looking throw, which bodes well if ASU is forced to air it out. Is Trey Elder a better quarterback at 100%, than Armanti Edwards at 80%. Another piece of the puzzle to throw in there, is that Armanti has only played in two games thus far this year, and is still eligible for a redshirt. If Armanti cannot play this week, then most would think his services would not be needed against Gardner Webb. After Homecoming is the bye week. That gives Armanti a possible 4 weeks of rest before the Georgia Southern game. By then, some think that offense should be kicking into gear right around then: Why mess things up by switching quarterbacks? Either way, Elon is going to have to prepare for the both of them.


Like I have mentioned, Elon is ready for the chance to knock off ASU. Elon has been up and coming ever since coach Pete Lembo stepped on campus. Lots of the players on these rosters played against each other in high school. Elon is ready, plain and simple. ASU has not lost back to back games in a long time. Expect the Apps to take out all their frustrations on the Phoenix. The tone of this game will be set from the start. Whoever gets the ball first will likely go down the field and score on the first drive. From then, it will be a track meet. A team has not been able to consistently stop the Mountaineer attack. Once again, turnovers will play a major role. Appalachian lost the momentum against Wofford due to untimely turnovers. Appalachian must pressure the quarterback early and often. Elon’s line gives up 3 sacks a game. Where the Apps must try to take advantage of Elon is in the running game. Elon only allows 95 yards a game on the ground, but they have not been tested the last two weeks due to jumping out to big leads and forcing other teams to play from behind. It will be interesting to see if Elon has any success in the running game. ASU has been giving up 220 yards a game on the ground. Elon is ranked 99th in the nation in rushing yardage per outing (101.3). I think Appalachian will respond this week. The team better be fired up. I would have hated to been in practice this week. The weather should be a little more cooperative. The heat in Spartanburg was tough for anyone associated with the game to deal with. ASU must get the running game going and keep Elon on the sideline. The passing game is all about rhythm and if Elon catches that it early, it may be impossible to stop. Last week was not easy and this week shapes up to be another tough outing.



The First Pick:

Yosef        38

The Birds   31