Campbell @ Appalachian State

Here we go with Week 2

Campbell (0-1, 0-0 Pioneer) @ Appalachian State (0-1, 0-0 Sun Belt)

Saturday, September 6th, 6pm

Video: ESPN3

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

Capacity: 23,150

Jeff Sagarin Ratings

App State: 54.42

Campbell: 23.30

Home: 3.16

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

Dromedaries 8

Mountaineers 34

Women’s Basketball vs. Campbell & Norfolk State (@ECU Invitational)

Campbell Pregame:

Campbell brings in a perfect 4-0 record into their game with Lady  Mountaineers at the East Carolina Thanksgiving Invitational. Campbell’s victims include a fifteen point victory over Western Carolina, Barber-Scotia, NC Central & Mt. St. Mary’s. Appalachian is 2-1 on the season with wins over Lees-McRae, Gardner-Webb and their lone loss is to Virginia Tech by three points. Campbell is led by Tonisha Baker, who is a stat sheet stuffer, similar to Anna Freeman. Baker averages 13.2 point, 3,5 steals, 3.5 assists and 4.8 rebounds per contest. The Camel’s top rebounders are Ashley James and Kiera Gaines, who are grabbing 7.5 and 7 rebounds per game respectively. The Camels are outrebounding their opponents by over 16 boards on the season, but also turn the ball over 19 times per game. Look for the Mountaineers to force at least 25 turnovers this afternoon.

The Mountaineers have some pretty impressive statistics coming into the Invitational. Besides the jaw dropping personal numbers, the Mountaineers are putting up some great team efforts each time out. The team is forcing 28.6 turnovers per game, and shooting free throws at an astounding 85% clip. The Mountaineers are also shooting 49% from the field, while 64% of the made field goals have been assisted on. Anna Freeman is averaging 25.7 points per game while Courtney Freeman is putting in 19.7 points per game. The tandem also leads the team in rebounding with Anna grabbing seven rebounds per game and Courtney is pulling down 5.3 boards per game.

Campbell Postgame:

The Camels put up a good fight before finally falling to Appalachian 69-54 on Saturday afternoon. The Mountaineers had an issue of the past rear its ugly head with a slow start. The Mountaineers led by six at halftime, shooting a dismal 39% in the first half. The Mountaineers led by as many as eight points in the first half. Campbell was able to stay close by hitting three of the their eight three point attempts.

Appalachian tightened the perimeter defense in the second half, only allowing the Camels to hit one three pointer, and forcing fourteen turnovers. After Tonisha Baker hit two free throws to give the Camels their last lead of the game at 49-48 with 10:21 to play, Anna Freeman and Raven Gary responded with back-to-back three pointers to give the Mountaineers a five point lead. Campbell would respond with a 5-0 run of their own to tie the game at 54 with 7:50 to play. However, that would be the final points of the game for the Camels, as the Mountaineers would end the game with a 15-0 run.

The Mountaineers (3-1) were led by a career high from Raven Gary, who finished with 17 points, six assists and four steals. Anna Freeman recorded a double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Freeman missed her first free throw of the year, finishing 2/3 from the line. Maryah Sydnor chipped in with 13 points and six rebounds. Appalachian will face Norfolk State on Sunday afternoon.

 

Norfolk State:

Two unheralded underclassmen led the Mountaineers in a come from behind win over Norfolk State on Sunday afternoon. Sophomore Katie Mallow and freshman Farrahn Wood combined to knock down eight three pointers to help Appalachian overcome a thirteen point first half deficit. The hot shooting from the behind the arc came without warning. Coming into the game, the two had only combined for four three pointers in the previous four games. Mallow was second on the team last year with 36 made trifectas in 33 games, with ten of those coming in the WNIT. Wood set a school record by hitting  nine three pointers in a game in high school.

Outside of Mallow and Wood, the Mountaineers (4-1)  suffered early on from another poor shooting performance from the field. The Mountaineers only managed 36% from the floor. For the tournament, the Mountaineers shot 39.5% from the field, much lower than their season mark of 49% coming into the tournament. Four Mountaineers finished the game in double figures, led by Mallow and Courtney Freeman with 15. Wood added 12 points and Anna Freeman scored eleven.

C-Notes: Appalachian State ( RPI 279) will travel next to Xavier (RPI 141)  on Friday Night for a homecoming for senior Kelsey Sharkey. Xavier will host#4 Duke tonight…Chattanooga lost their first game of the season against St Mary’s College on Saturday…Davidson is 1-3, but has played all of their games on the road…Conference play begins this weekend as each team will play at least one conference game within the next eight days.

 

Men’s Basketball 82, Campbell 101

Pregame:

Appalachian (1-1) travels to Big South Opponent Campbell (1-1) in its first road game of the season. Last year, Appalachian slipped by the Camels at home in a close game, winning 77-74. The Mountaineers are coming off an ugly loss at home to High Point. The on court energy was non-existent against the Panthers, as High Point made a point to embarrass the Mountaineers. High Point was projected to finish in fourth place in Big South, while Campbell has been tabbed as the Big South favorite in their division.

Darren White and Trey Freeman are all conferfence selections for the Camels. White scored twenty or more points ten times last season while also hitting double digits in twenty-eight games. White was second on the team at 16.8 points per game. White began his college career at James Madison before transferring to Midland Junior College, where he played with Mountaineer guard Jamaal Trice. White recorded a double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds in the Camels last outing against Northwestern State. Freeman led all Big South freshman in scoring at 13.9 points per game and was named the Big South Conference Freshman of the Year. Freeman also led the conference in foul shooting at 87%, which was also good enough for 26th nationally.

Darian Hooker is another Camel that the Mountaineers will need to keep a close eye one. Hooker led Campbell in scoring last year at 17.9 points per game. Hooker is deadly from three point range, shooting 46% from long distance last year, after shooting 38% during his freshman season.

Appalachian will need to rebound from its first loss of the season and simply put it behind them. The Mountaineers will need better games from their seniors. Nathan Healy and Jamaal Trice need to show some leadership and will this team to a better effort, at minimum. Jay Canty cannot do this all by himself. Another player is going to have to emerge as a second scoring threat before Mike Neal returns from suspension. Chris Burgess had a nice game against High Point, but is still very rough around the edges.

It does not appear we will get a spread for this game. Campbell only garnered two lines last year, in the massive BracketBuster event against Northwestern State and in the first game of their conference tournament against Winthrop. Both of those lines were a point or less and Campbell lost on the court and on the books in both games. Most certainly, we can begin our picks next week with East Carolina and Virginia Tech. I fully expect the Mountaineers to be double digit underdogs in both games.

Postgame:

Appalachian started the game with turnovers on its first three possessions and Campbell never looked back as they never trailed in the game. The story of the game was red hot shooting percentage from the Camels, who shot 66.7% from the field for the game. Essentially, that is making two of every three shots taken. The Camels ended the game with 42 made field goals, with twenty-six of those baskets being assisted. The Camels also enjoyed a 54-34 advantage in the paint and a 23-0 edge on fast breaks.

Darren White was magnificent for the Camels. White poured in a career high 36 points while snagging seven rebounds. Darian Hooker added 17 points and five assists while Reco McCarter added thirteen points for the Camels.

We talked about wanting to see more from the seniors and they responded. Nathan Healy scored 18 points on 7/9 shooting including two three pointers while grabbing six rebounds. Jamaal Trice scored 14 points off the bench, but did manage to play 36 minutes in the game. Trice added seven assists, but the rest of the Mountaineers could only manage seven assists. Tevin Baskin also came off the bench to play 28 minutes and scored 18 points and added seven rebounds. Tab Hamilton quietly scored 18 points himself, hitting a trio of three pointers.

Adding to the Campbell’s hot shooting, Appalachian played poor defense in transition and in the half court. That is evidenced by the Camels scoring over half of their points in the paint. The Mountaineers have no true inside presence, so we may see more of that in the future. Michael Obacha has been thrown in the fire it will take him some time. It is not Obacha’s fault though. Brian Okam seems to get in his own way more than anything. Okam did not see the floor against Campbell. Chris Burgess came back down to earth after his best performance of the season against High Point. Burgess played 23 minutes, turning the ball over five times and only recording one assist and scoring two points. Burgess and the Mountaineers must get into an offense that requires more passing of the ball, and working as a team, rather than a dribbling contest. On a couple occasions, Burgess left his feet as a passer, and that does not work in the college game when you are only 5’8″.

Appalachian has now begun its season with two double digit lopsided losses to Big South teams. The Mountaineers only win is over a NAIA Montreat. At this rate, it may be a while before Appalachian records its first Division I win of the season. It appears this entire season will come down to the SoCon Tourney in March. The Mountaineers will have to be playing their best basketball of the season at that point.

Appalachian State Men’s Basketball: Appalachian vs. Campbell 12/22/2011

Oddly, despite many lined games, Campbell was unable to garner a line from the handicappers for the Appalachian game. Campbell had recently fought NC State quite well within the previous week. For the second time in three games and the third time on the season, a pick was not made, however, Appalachian held on for a 77-74 win.