Appalachian Football vs Toledo (Camellia Bowl)

buy modafinil provigil online Here we go with The Camellia Bowl

cytotec online purchase Appalachian State (9-3, 7-1 Sun Belt) vs. Toledo (9-3, 6-2 Mid-American West)

Saturday, December 17th, 2016 5:30pm est

TV/Video: ESPN

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

Cramton Bowl

Surface: Field Turf

Capacity: 25,000

Jeff Sagarin Ratings

App State: 73.65

Toledo: 74.17

Home: n/a

Toledo is favored by the Sagarin ratings by 0.5 points (rounded)

Sportsbook: Toledo -1.5

Series: First Meeting 

Last meeting: n/a   
          It wasn’t long ago, although it seems like it, that Appalachian was reserved to playing out its season, needing help to either win a conference championship or play in a supposedly prestigious bowl game. The results from earlier in the day on November 26th, specifically Arkansas State’s loss to Lafayette, gave the Mountaineers a chance to clinch a share of the Sun Belt title. The idea of a conference championship was not even mentioned here three weeks ago. Winning  a share of the conference crown ultimately hindered Appalachian’s chances of heading to the French Quarter for bowl season. However, the opportunity to play one of the better Group of Five teams in Toledo provides plenty of excitement for both sides. Ohio didnt move the needle for Mountaineer fans in 2015, and they didnt need to, as the Apps were bowling for the first time in school history. Suddenly, the newness of competing in bowl games has worn off in year two of bowl eligibility, and the Camellia Bowl for a second consecutive season doesn’t stir the same excitement. But Toledo is not Ohio. It might be in Ohio, but its not the same. Toledo was the third best team in the MAC in 2016, mainly due to the emergence of Western Michigan, but that does not mean they are pushovers. They can easily win or lose on Saturday just as much as our Mountaineers might. If last year was any indication, we’ll are all in for a treat on Saturday. 

         Toledo has currently strung together seven straight winning seasons, while their last two coaches moved on to Power Five head coaching positions. Tim Beckman coached three seasons in Toledo before moving on to Illinois, while Matt Campbell coached four seasons before heading to Iowa State. Current first year head coach Jason Candle has been on the sidelines in Toledo since 2009, the last season the Rockets did not post a winning record. Candle hails from Division III super power Mount Union, where he lined up at wide receiver and eventually coached the position he played and coordinated the offense for two seasons before his tenure at Toledo began.  

          The Rockets sport an all time 10-5 record in bowl games, winning two in a row over Temple and the friends we all love to hate in Arkansas State. In fact, Toledo has played  the Red Wolves each of the past three seasons beginning with the GoDaddy Bowl at the end of the 2014 season. The Rockets and Red Wolves then faced off in a home-and-home in 2015 and 2016. Toledo won all three games convincingly. This season, Toledo suffered a tough luck loss in Provo, UT to Brigham Young in a high scoring affair, and lost to both participants of the MAC Championship game in Ohio and Western Michigan. 

         A lot of the attention that Toledo garners revolves around an explosive offense that racks up yards in bunches. The Rockets are fourth in the country in total yards, eighth in passing yards, 18th in scoring, and 16th in first downs. They live off the big play,  mostly through the air. Quarterback Logan Woodside has at least three touchdown passes in every game this season and has 6 games over 300 yards passing. That gives him an astounding total of 43 touchdown passes on the season, to only nine interceptions. That is a ratio of an interception for every for every 43.5 attempts, and Woodisde has only surpassed 43.5 attempts in one game this season. However, Woodside has managed four interceptions in his last three games, coming on just 96 attempts. The ratio over the last four games is an interception for every 24 attempts. 

           Woodside unloads the majority of his passes to four different targets. They all bring a different element for their offense to attack defenses. Cody Thompson is the leading receiver in terms of yards, with 1,170 and 10 touchdowns. Corey Jones leads the teams in receptions with 60 and used primary in the intermediate zones on the field. Jon’Vea Johnson doesn’t see the volume that Thompson and Jones do, but he makes up for that averaging close to twenty yards per catch to along with his ten touchdowns. Tight end Michael Roberts leads the team with 15 receiving touchdowns only 43 catches on the season. Kareem Hunt is beneficiary of all the passing that Toledo does as he is the their bellcow on the ground. Hunt has half the teams rushing attempts on the season to along with his 1,355 yards, and also is a threat in the passing game with 39 receptions. 

           Countering the Toledo air attack will be easily the toughest defense the Rockets have faced this season. Besides boasting the nations 6th best pass efficient defense, the Mountaineers have picked off twenty passes on the season, good enough for the third most in the country. Woodside managed a season low 229 yards and threw two interceptions against Western Michigan in his last outing. The Broncos are the only other team on Toledo’s schedule who rank in the top quarter of the country in both passed intercepted and pass efficiency defense. 

         The Mountaineers have a little bit of offense of their own, but take a completely different approach than Toledo. The Apps prefer to pass to establish run, while Toledo runs to establish the pass. Jalin Moore’s 1,367 yards leads the team, but Marcus Cox has been the thoroughbred for four years and his 872 yards in eight games are equally impressive. Taylor Lamb provides fleet feet in the running game when opposing defenses focus too much on Moore and Cox. Mountaineers quarterbacks have thrown touchdown passes to twelve different receivers on the season which keeps defenses honest regardless who lines up on the field. 

          With similar records in regular season play, this matchup is exactly what the Camellia Bowl wants in its third ever game. Both squads had a game early in the season that got away from them in the waning moments. The way Toledo lost at Brigham Young was almost as unexpected as the way the Mountaineers fell at Tennessee. Equally, both teams lost games in conference play that were decided by less than a touchdown that had major impacts on their respective conference races. But neither team, Appalachian or Toledo, really beat a team that they were not favored to. Unless you want to include Arkansas State falling hard to the Rockets after being favored by 4.5 points. That result was a small surprise then, but not so much now. So, both teams are looking for a signature win on their season. Both looking to get to ten wins. Both teams with exceptional talent in the backfield and signal callers that execute their game plans well.  But what sets these teams apart from the other? It’s clear that Appalachian’s defense is superior to that of Toledo. The Mountaineers’ bend a little, but dont completely break style compares well to Toledo that likes to spread you all over the field. Toledo’s red zone offense is seventh in the country, the App red zone defense also ranks seventh nationwide. Toledo will some matchups against the App defense, and vice versa. The real key to this game is what Appalachian does when it has the ball. Do they methodically ground the Rockets into the ground with their patient attack? Will Toledo have the ball enough to get to thirty points and score more than their defense allows. Ultimately, the thirty point mark is what both teams will be shooting for. I think Appalachian gets there first and shortens the game in the fourth quarter for their second bowl win in as many games. 

The First Pick
Bottle Rockets 24
Mountaineers 30

Appalachian Football vs Ohio

Here we go with The Camellia Bowl

Appalachian State (10-2, 7-1 Sun Belt) vs Ohio (8-4, 5-3 MAC)

Saturday, December 19th, 5:30 EST

TV/Video: ESPN

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 100.7 Bristol

Cramton Bowl 

Surface: Field Turf

Capacity: 25,000
Jeff Sagarin Ratings
App State: 70.95

Ohio: 62.62

Home: n/a

App State is favored by the Sagarin ratings by 8.5 points (rounded)

Sportsbook: App State -7.5

Series: First meeting
Last meeting: n/a

The last ten years have been quite a ride. That might be a very simple description, but it fits. Each step the Appalachian football program has taken has led  to this moment in history, another first for a program that is filled with a laundry list of great games, fantastic finishes and unexpected upsets. The first bowl game in the modern era of Mountaineer football is upon us. Oddly enough, in the wins that Appalachian is mostly recognized by are over teams from the north and midwest. When mentioning Appalachian, it was those games that many would say, “put us on the map”. Those four games were also unique in the way they were broadcasted to the masses. The championship games were the only only football game on. That one particular upset was the first broadcast by the Big Ten Network. Similarly, if you want to watch some football this weekend in the late afternoon on Saturday, you are going to have to watch the Mountaineers. The setting provides this program and university another chance to get that national recognition that you can’t put a price tag on. The Mountaineers have been pretty good in these situations over the years, and making history is what Appalachian is all about. 

Unlike postseason football of Decembers past, Ohio provides a new opponent from another conference that Appalachian has little history with. It is likely that Appalachian ends up playing many MAC schools in future bowl games, but the odds of getting matched up with Ohio year after year is highly unlikely. That is very different than what Appalachian experienced in the FCS playoffs, seeing teams like Richmond and South Carolina State year after year. Outside of scheduling a home and home, a postseason rivalry with Ohio will be a scarce occurence. 
As mentioned earlier, Ohio football resides in the MAC or Mid-American Conference. The MAC is most famous for its   midweek football games that offer high scoring matchups with tons of  entertainment value. Defenses need not apply to #MACtion. Ohio head coach Frank Solich may not completely believe in the high scoring affairs, as his teams have lived off ball control, a strong running game and solid enough defense. Ohio has not had a 1,000 yard rusher since 2012. Appalachian’s Marcus Cox, comparatively, has rung off three straight 1,000 yard seasons. Leading Ohio rusher AJ Ouellette has 137 carries on the season. Cox hit that number in his eighth game, back in October. The Ohio defense is one that is ranked in the upper half of the MAC in most categories, but not necessarily the best defense across the board. Ohio isn’t in the business of making a ton of highlight worthy plays, but are very consistent in what they want to do. 

Ohio has yet to name a starting quarterback for Saturday, which leads many to believe that we could see two quarterbacks play significant time. Two weeks ago South Alabama made a change in the second half by benching Cody Clements, and brought in the more dynamic Dallas Davis, which sparked the Jaguar comeback. Knowing that, its possible that Jerrius Vick could start, as a senior, while mixing in JD Sprague, who is a true dual threat quarterback.  Sprague’s ability to escape pressure in the pocket and turn broken plays into first downs should be a concern for Appalachian. This is nothing like Georgia Southern and their use of two quarterbacks. The offensive strategy doesn’t change dramatically for Ohio. Vick and Sprague can both get the job done and have needed to for Ohio to advance to their ninth bowl game.

The Bobcats have two receivers in Sebastian Smith and Jordan Reid who have been the primary targets of whichever Ohio quarterback has thrown them the ball. Both are big targets at 6’3″, and are responsible for nearly half of the Ohio receptions this season. Smith gets the larger volume of the targets, with his 61 catches for 752 yards and seven touchdowns. Smith went on a tear in the middle of the season, corraling 33 receptions in a four game stretch, which coincidentally occured  during Ohio’s three game losing streak. Since then Smith has has gone cold with only 11 catches in his last three games. Reid seems to be the favored target of JD Sprague. Reid has 45 catches on the season, but in his last six  games, caught 28 passes, including four of his five touchdowns. Reid only eclipsed 40 yards receiving once in the first half of the season, but since has surpassed the 40-yard mark in every game in the last half of the season, which includes two 100-yard receiving games. 

In the last two games, the Mountaineers  were careless with the football, turning it over four times in the opponents territory. The two end zone fumbles against South Alabama were especially maddening. Perhaps Appalachian will use those moments as a wake up call. It is not something you can do against Ohio and get away with. South Alabama was exceptional in playing keep away, running twenty-eight more plays than Appalachian and holding onto the ball for seven more minutes. That is the exact recipe that Ohio will try and replicate, minus the three first half interceptions by Cody Clements. Marcus Cox and Jalin Moore split carries for most of the night, but it was Cox who made the most of his fourteen attempts, compiling 192 yards, to Moore’s 84 yards. However it was Moore who starred as the closer, gaining over half of his yards on the final drive while scoring the go-ahead touchdown. 

If you had to compare how Ohio plays to any Sun Belt foe, the team that more closely resembles them is actually Appalachian. Both teams prefer no-nonsense football with good balance. Now, Ohio is a team that passes more often, with a 42/58 run/pass ratio on the season, compared to Appalachian, which sits at 33/67. Ohio has run about five more plays a game than Appalachian, but does not possess the explosiveness. That is where this game is won and lost on Saturday. The Mountaineers will lull you to sleep until those linebackers and safeties take one too many steps toward the line of scrimmage. Taylor Lamb can really sell the play action, partly because he is also a threat to run. Ohio has to deal with the Mountaineers’ defensive strategy that has paid off for the better part of the season. They will bring pressure from different angles while essentially playing two deep safeties. That has helped Appalachian as they lead the nation in red zone defense, only surrendering sixteen touchdowns in those situations. An Ohio win would mean a break from the norm. The Bobcats have struggled themselves in the red zone, ranking 109th out of 128 teams in FBS. I see a lower scoring game as both squads try and establish their identity, while the final score ultimately comes down to situational football, whether its special teams, or third down conversions. The team that makes fewer mistakes and makes that extra play or two on defense will be your winner. 

The First Pick

Lil’ Catamounts      23

Mountaineers          30