Men’s Basketball @ The Citadel

7:37 AM: App Basketball @ The Citadel tonight and the Mountaineers are a one point favorite. Lines haven’t moved lately. Leaning Citadel at home.

1:17 PM: We have movement. App now favored by 1.5 at El Cit tonight. Capel, nor any player on roster has beaten the Citadel in their careers.

5:58 PM: Citadel is 6-8 ATS this season but has not been this slight of an underdog all season long. Meanwhile, App covered in its last game where it was a 2 point favorite at home against Georgia Southern. The Citadel has mostly been a huge underdog this season, part of the reasoning for many of their covers. This an Appalachian play for some reason. Don’t like it, but that will be the pick.

9:00 PM: Apps win their second game of the year with a 80-67 tally over The Citadel. Apps easily cover the spread, and we were correct with our pick.

The Citadel @ Appalachian Football

Here we go with Week 3:

 #21 The Citadel (2-0, 1-0) @ #8 Appalachian State (1-1, 0-0)        

Time: 3:30pm

TV/Video: GoASU TV

Radio: WKBC 97.3 Wilkesboro, Charlotte, Winston Salem, Hickory & High Country; WATA 1450 Boone, Blowing Rock; ESPN 730 Charlotte, Rock Hill, Salisbury; WCOG 1320 Greensboro, Winston Salem, WMFR 1230 Greensboro, High Point; WSML 1200 Burlington, Greensboro; WCMC 99.9 Raleigh, WZGM 1350 Black Mountain, Asheville; WPWT 870 Bristol, Johnson City; WTOE 1470 Spruce Pine, WDNC 620 Durham, WLON 1050 Lincolnton

Kidd-Brewer Stadium         

Surface: FieldTurf

Capacity: 24,050 


Jeff Sagarin Ratings: 


ASU: 58.12

Cit: 58.12

Home: 3 points

Appalachian is favored by the Sagarin ratings by 3 points (rounded).

Series: Appalachian leads 29-11

Last Meeting: Appalachian 49, The Citadel 42, October 15, 2011, Charleston, SC

WXAPP’s Boone Gameday Weather Trends:

Partly Cloudy, Miniscule chance of pop up shower. Heck of a day for tailgating!

Kickoff: Temperatures in the mid 70’s

End of Game: Temperatures in the upper 60’s

 

                        As expected, Montana and Appalachian State gave every fan exactly what they were looking for last weekend. The first half was full of offense as Montana took an early lead only to see Appalachian string together three consecutive touchdowns. Montana finished the scoring in the first half that saw the score tied at intermission. The defenses ruled the second half as the third quarter was scoreless until both teams traded touchdowns in the beginning of the final stanza. Appalachian’s defense rose to the occasion, unlike the two schools previous meetings. Patrick Blalock and Demetrius McCray finished off Montana with interceptions on the Griz’ final two possessions to seal a Mountaineer win, that was twelve years in the making. Quickly though, Appalachian’s attention turns to their first conference opponent fresh off of a win over the third ranked Georgia Southern Eagles. The Citadel had Southern on the ropes last season, but fell just short in Statesboro. This past Saturday, the Cadets were just good enough to squeeze past Southern by connecting on a field goal with less than a minute remaining in the game. Any chances that The Citadel might catch Appalachian on a Montana hangover were erased with the Bulldog victory. The Mountaineers have not lost to The Citadel in Boone since 1992. Most of the players on both teams had yet to be born the last time The Citadel drove off the mountain with a victory. Will history repeat itself or can the Bulldogs start off conference play with wins over two perennial contenders?

            The Citadel opened their season with a win over cross town rival Charleston Southern. The game was tied at 14 at halftime, before The Citadel rolled off 35 unanswered points to win. The Bulldogs racked up 479 yards rushing and never punted. However, Citadel lost two of their six fumbles and turned the ball over once on downs. Going for it on fourth down in a wishbone offense is not uncommon and neither is mishandled snaps and handoffs, but six fumbles, lost or not is a problem. Last week against Southern, the two teams combined for eight fumbles. The Citadel only lost one and the Eagles lost two, but the timing was most important. Georgia Southern fumbled on its 27 and 39 yard lines on its first two possessions. On both occasions, the Bulldogs scored touchdowns and led 14-0 just barely halfway through the first quarter. Georgia Southern scored touchdowns on its next two possessions to tie the game at 14. On its next possession, The Citadel booted in its first of three field goals of the game to take a 17-14 lead.

            What might have been the play of the game as far as momentum was concerned came on Georgia Southern’s final possession in the first half. The Eagles worked in the passing game as time was winding down and worked to attempt a 31-yard field goal on the last play of the half. The Citadel blocked the attempt and went to the locker room with a three point advantage. Surely that play gave the Bulldogs a needed boost as they headed to the locker room. That brings back memories of the 2006 Appalachian/Furman game in Boone. Furman lined up for a field goal trailing 14-7. Corey Lynch blocked the field goal and returned it for a touchdown and 21-7 Appalachian halftime lead. The Mountaineers went on to win the game 40-7.

            The Citadel forced four consecutive punts from Georgia Southern to start the second half and led 20-14 heading to the fourth quarter. Southern went ahead 21-20 with just over three minutes remaining. The Citadel nailed a field goal to give the game its final score with under a minute remaining and Southern missed another 31-yard field goal, this one wide, to give The Citadel its first win over the Eagles since 2006.

            The Citadel used 11 different players to run the ball against Charleston Southern and used only six against Georgia Southern. Starting quarterback Ben Dupree ran 17 times in both games. Against CSU, he ran for 77 yards while piling up 92 yards against GSU. Dupree is the leading rusher for The Citadel in terms of carries, total yards rushing and has scored two touchdowns. Three other Bulldogs have carried for at least 14 times or more this season. Darien Robinson averages 64 yards a game and eight yards per carry while adding one touchdown. Rickey Anderson has toted the ball 14 times for 110 yards and leads the team with four rushing touchdowns. Backup quarterback Aaron Miller has rushed 14 times for 33 yards. Miller seems to be the preference when passing the ball, as he is 7/11 for 107 yards on the season, while Dupree has completed one pass this season for twenty-six yards. With eight total completions for a whopping 133 yards in two games, The Citadel’s receivers are not much to talk about with six different players catching passes.

            Jamal Jackson gained his 133rd yard passing on Appalachian’s sixth drive of the season against East Carolina almost two weeks ago. Jackson has continued to throw the ball consistently since then. Jackson followed his 300 yard performance against East Carolina with a 260 passing game against Montana that included two touchdowns and zero interceptions. Jackson completed 70% of his passes against the Grizzlies in what could be considered his best start of his career since his first one, against The Citadel last year. Jackson completed 21/27 passes for 234 yards and three touchdowns last season against the Bulldogs. That game and last week against Montana were the only games in his career completing over 70% of his passes with multiple touchdowns passes and no interceptions. Also interesting about Jackson against Montana were his rushing statistics. His sixteen carries for sixty-five yards were both career highs in a single game. Jackson added his tenth career rushing touchdown against the Grizzlies and his 325 total yards was the sixth time he has gone over 300 yards total offense in only his ninth start.

             For the first time this season, Appalachian fans were able to lay their eyes on Sean Price. In his first career game with significant playing time, Price flourished with eight catches for 103 yards and a touchdown. Andrew Peacock continues to lead the Apps in receiving with ten catches for 134 yards. Peacock had a dazzling catch and run last week that left a Montana defender on his behind while he saw Peacock dive into the end zone for his first score of the season. Malachi Jones was steady against Montana with four catches for thirty-four yards. Most significantly, Jones made a great sideline catch on a 3rd down and 16 that helped set up Appalachian’s final touchdown of the game. Jones ran to the sticks and made his cut and waited on the ball while dragging both feet to secure the catch. Jones made a tough play look ultra smooth in a pressure situation.

             Steven Miller did something none of us have seen from him before at Appalachian. Miller carried the ball 27 times for 91 yards against Montana. That is easily his most rushing attempts in a game while wearing the black and gold. Miller’s previous high was last year, against The Citadel, when he carried eighteen times for 102 yards. In all, Miller had 76 carries all of last year and has already rushed 41 times this season. Keeping him fresh until Rod Chisholm returns will be a big key to Appalachian’s season, especially while trying to redshirt Tysean Holloway. Of Appalachian’s 80 rushing attempts this season, 74 have come from either Jackson, Miller or Chisholm.

            I believe we all had this feeling that The Citadel might be slowly rising from the SoCon cellar. Perhaps, it might be happening before our eyes a lot sooner than we imagined. Keep in mind, The Citadel, Georgia Southern and Wofford all run very similar offenses. They practice against them on a daily basis almost. The Citadel basically gave one away in Statesboro last year and Georgia Southern should have been on the upset alert last week. I am not reading too much stock into their win over GSU, but it still happened, and that might be the best thing for Appalachian in the long run. The Citadel is 3-17 in Boone and has not played well in Boone in several seasons. Appalachian has scored 28 or more points in every game in Boone since The Citadel’s last win over Appalachian in 2003. The Citadel has averaged 14.5 points per game in Boone since that same game. The Mountaineers need to do what they have always done against the Bulldogs and that is jump on them early and take them out of the game. The Citadel has had the most trouble defending Mountaineer quarterbacks over the years. Whether it has been Richie, Armanti, DeAndre or even Jamal, it has been the one position that has killed The Citadel over the years. I expect Jackson to have another huge day. As always, you can almost count on The Citadel to pull of some type of trick play against Appalachian. A fake punt is almost a guarantee. Kevin Higgins mentioned it on his teleconference. Whether he was trying to spark his team or was telling the truth we might never know. Higgins said “..we aren’t good enough…and we don’t have the talent to keep up” in reference to his team’s brutal schedule that included Georgia Southern, Appalachian and NC State next week. The Citadel hopes to play one possession at a time and be in the game at the end. I just don’t think the Mountaineers will allow the fourth quarter to be one of significant importance.

The First Pick:

Cadets                                 20       

Mountaineers                   42

Appalachian State Basketball: Appalachian @ The Citadel Postgame & Updated SoCon North Standings

It is really tough to describe the emotion any Appalachian basketball fan must have after learning about the loss to The Citadel last night. The Bulldogs won for the sixth time last night. It was their third conference win of the season and only fourth win over a Division I team. The Mountaineers shot themselves in the foot last night. Take away Nathan Healy, who had 19 points and hit three of his six three point attempts, and the Mountaineers were 0-19 from behind the arc. The Mountaineers were 17-34 from two point range, but continued to settle for the lower percentage shots. In contrast, The Citadel only shot the ball thirty eight times from the field, but benefited from shooting 21-28 from the free throw line. Appalachian only attempted eleven free throws. The Citadel was one of the worst rebounding teams in the conference but still managed to dominate the Mountaineers on the boards, 36-26. Andre Williamson  managed ten points and fourteen of the teams twenty six rebounds coming off the bench.

Appalachian can still tie for second in the North, but it will do them no good. In the event of a three way tie, Samford would win it and leave Appalachian in the third spot, which would mean playing The Citadel again in the first round. Appalachian could win on Saturday and guarantee no worse than fourth in the North. A loss to Western Carolina would put the Mountaineers in a very precarious situation. If Western can beat Samford tonight, coupled, with beating Appalachian on Saturday, Western would vault to fourth place, dropping Appalachian to fifth place by themselves. If Western and Appalachian were to tie at 7-11, the tiebreaker would go to the fourth and final SoCon tiebreaking procedure, which is the higher ratings published by RPIratings.com. As of February 19th, Appalachian holds that tiebreaker by a very slim margin, but that could change. The final comparison will basically be between The Citadel and Samford, the teams final uncommon opponents.

RPIratings.com

W/L      SS   Rank    RPI

244. Appalachian St.      10  15  .4759 207  .4537

252. Western Carolina    10  17  .4519 264  .4503

 

There is a school that will receive the 2 seed bye in the tournament, but they will not deserve it, no matter who they are. Elon spent most of the first half  of the conference season in first place but has since floundered, losing four in a row. Appalachian has not won three games in a row all season long, which eventually led to their demise. Samford sits in the best position at 8-8, but has two road games remaining.

SoCon North Standings

UNCG      10-7       @Elon

Elon             8-8      @Dav, UNCG

Samford       8-8     @WCU, @UTC

App St          7-10     @WCU

WCU             6-10   Sam, App St

Appalachian State Basketball: Appalachian @ The Citadel 2/22/2012

2/19/2012

I believe Appalachian will be favored in this game by 3 points. The Bulldogs have not been favored all season long, and have not played a team with a likeness of Appalachian at home in a couple weeks. The Bulldogs had lost 11 in a row before winning on the road in Chattanooga on Saturday. The Citadel is 5-2 at home this season ATS versus conference opponents, with those covers coming against Davidson, Georgia Southern, Wofford, Greensboro and Samford. Their losses are to Elon and Furman. Appalachian is 3-4 ATS on the road this season against the SoCon. Their wins were over Furman, Samford and Chattanooga.

02/22/2012

I was a little off here, but still very close to nailing the spread. Appalachian opened as four point favorites. In the last week or so, the lines in Appalachian games have moved around a bit. I could see this sneaking up to the 4.5 to 5 point range. The Citadel is not a good team, but they got off the snide with their win at Chattanooga. I like the even number here because it brings a push into play. One website posts that 64% of the action is heading Appalachian’s direction. I like the Mountaineers as well. They should dominate in the rebounding category. The Citadel is last in the conference in rebounding margin, and just gave up over twenty offensive rebounds to Western Carolina last week, and thirteen to Chattanooga on Saturday. That should lead to plenty easy buckets on the offensive end for the Mountaineers.

Postgame:

The Mountaineers were able to dictate their pace for the first eight minutes of the ball game before The Citadel took control of the tempo and cruised to a 62-51 win. Appalachian was crushed on the boards, and shot terribly from behind the arc. The loss moves my record to 10-13 on the season.

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

Here we go with Week 10:

#9 Appalachian State (6-2) @ The Citadel (5-3)
11/3/07

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. The Citadel 10/4/2008

Here we go with Week 5:

#12 The Citadel(3-1, 1-0 T2) @ #2 Appalachian State (2-2, 0-0)
10/4/08

Time: 3pm

TV: SportSouth
Stadium: Kidd Brewer Stadium
Surface: Field Turf
Capacity: 20,150
Jeff Sagarin Rankings:
ASU:     60.49
Cit:    58.77
Home advantage: 2.87 points
ASU is favored by the Sagarin rankings by 4 ½  points (rounded).

Series: ASU leads 25-11
Last Meeting: ASU 45, Cit 24  November 3rd, 2007

 

Finally. This will be the first normal game of the year. It appears that the weather is going to cooperate with sunny skies and cool temperatures to go along with a nice mid-afternoon kickoff at “The Rock”. Three games this season have been impacted by some type of poor weather and the other was an away night game. To keep with the normal theme, it will be the first conference game of the season as well. And finally, The Citadel game is back to its somewhat normal scheduling spot of the season by playing as one of ASU’s first conference games of the season. The past two seasons, ASU and The Citadel played in the opening days of November. To break the theme, Homecoming is upon us and that always brings a huge crowd to Kidd Brewer Stadium as some fans make one of their only games of the season.

 

The Appalachian-Citadel rivalry was a good one for the first 22 games of the series. It was not until the Jerry Moore era that Appalachian started to dominate the Cadets. Appalachian has won four straight games and has taken 13 out of 14 against the Bulldogs. The last year in which the series was competitive was in 1992, which coincidentally was also the last time The Citadel won a game in Boone.

 

Last year, The Citadel and about half of the conference, were fighting for first place and possible playoffs spots before facing the Mountaineers. The dominating performance by Armanti Edwards and the rest of the Mountaineers diminished any hopes that the Bulldogs had of winning a championship or advancing into post season play. This season will be slightly different as the Bulldogs have already claimed one conference win and the game will be the conference opener for Appalachian. This year will be similar as this game will have early season implications on the playoffs. The Citadel brings in its lofty #12 ranking into Boone, hoping they can upset the Mountaineers before they can find their groove.

Quarterback Bart Blanchard will lead the charge for The Citadel. Blanchard will not a be a surprise to the Mountaineers. Blanchard started against the Mountaineers after starter Duran Lawson suffered a season ending knee injury. Blanchard completed 20 of 36 passes in that game, including one touchdown and one interception for 197 yards. The interception was thrown in the direction of DJ Smith who returned it for a 23 yard touchdown.  Blanchard has also been somewhat inconsistent while throwing ball this season compared to last. Although the interception he threw last year was against the Mountaineers, it was the only one for the rest of the season. This year, Blanchard has thrown six interceptions to seven touchdown passes. He threw three in a loss to Clemson and two last week against Western Carolina.

The rest of The Citadel’s offense runs through playmaking wide receiver, Andre Roberts who has caught over a third of the Bulldogs’ completed passes. Roberts is averaging 6.5 catches and 110 yards per game to go along with six total touchdowns. Although never starting a game, the Bulldogs’ leading rusher is Asheton Jordan who has run 48 times for 268 yards and three touchdowns. The Cadets starting tailback is Cody Wilson has amassed on 73 yards on 21 carries.

 

Appalachian came out of the gates last week against Presbyterian by wanting to establish a passing game. Armanti Edwards threw for 220 yards in the first half alone despite Appalachian dropping numerous passes and drives stalling right as they entered the Blue Hose red zone. A good portion of those yards were supplied by tight end Ben Jordan who hauled in three catches for 97 yards and Devin Radford who caught his only pass for a 72-yard touchdown. Jordan is making some Appalachian fans remember the days of great pass catching tight ends like Daniel Bettis and Frank Leatherwood. With the loss of Devon Moore to injury, Radford added a much need boost to running attack for the Mountaineers. Along with Robert Whelton, the Apps now have a good power and speed combination out of the backfield.

 

The Mountaineer defense had some struggles against Presbyterian in stopping the passing game. Losing key players on the defensive line and in the secondary forced some very young players to get their first starts. Jabari Fletcher and Lanston Tanyi received some much needed repetitions on the line and Jared Reine and Ed Gainey got work in at cornerback as well. With a younger line and a young secondary all of a sudden, the Apps may go through some growing pains on defense. This is the time when veterans like Pierre Banks and Leonard Love need to step up and serve as leaders on a defense that got real young, real fast.

 

The one thing you can always count on from teams from a military school is a discipline. They will always be in the right position on offense and defense. What the schools can lack of the loads of athleticism, especially to teams like Appalachian. These men are not trained to win battles on the football field, but on another field of battle. However, the players are capable of doing what it takes to win football games. Although The Citadel’s non-conference schedule was not full of name teams with football rich traditions, they still had to go out and win those games. The heart that was shown by the Bulldogs is coming from behind and beating Princeton at home is something that cannot be measured. However, during the spread offense era of college football, the Bulldogs have simply not had what it takes to keep up with the Mountaineers. Appalachian has beaten the Bulldogs on average by 26 points in the last three games. The reason they have been able to obtain their high ranking is due to preseason media hype and a college football world that has upsets nearly every weekend. In order to prove to the country what they are made of, Citadel has to go out and beat Appalachian in Boone, where they have won 37 of the last 38 games. A minor detail for this game will be the health of Armanti Edwards, who suffered a twisted ankle against Presbyterian. All reports say that the ankle is getting better each day and Armanti expects to play, but in the back of Jerry Moore’s mind, he must be thinking about bringing back Edwards to soon last year against Wofford. That game resulted in ASU’s first loss of 2007. Freshmen DeAndre Presley will be ready to go if needed and he had some great runs last week. Presley runs a little bit lower to the ground then Edwards and dances more compared to Edwards’ long strides. In the past few games against The Citadel, the Apps have been the more physical team up front and have not had to rely on passing the football as much. I expect a game plan where ASU plans to attack the Bulldog front line and wear them down. Cortez Gilbert will be the man to stop Andre Roberts and I think he will be held well below his season average. This one could be a very interesting game in the first half, but ASU should run away with this one as the game wears on.

The First Pick:

Pups                 20

Apps                 38

Appalachian State Football: Appalachian @ The Citadel 10/3/2009

Here we go with Week 4:

#10 Appalachian State (1-2, 1-0 T1) @ The Citadel (2-1, 0-0)
10/3/09

Time: 1pm

TV: None
Stadium: Johnson Hagood Stadium
Surface: Natural Grass

Capacity: 21,000
Jeff Sagarin Rankings:
ASU:     60.53
Cit:    59.57
Home advantage: 2.91 points

The Citadel is favored by the Sagarin rankings by 2 points (rounded).

Series: ASU leads 26-11
Last Meeting: ASU 47, The Citadel 21, October 4, 2008

 

Getting back in the winners column sure felt nice, even if it had to occur during a Boone downpour. A win is a win, whether its wet, windy or warm, no matter how you slice it, it’s still a win. Appalachian took out its first conference opponent and did so in convincing fashion. The Mountaineer defense shut down the Samford running game and their passing game was nearly non-existent. It wasn’t flashy, but you don’t need to look pretty to win a conference game. The next task at hand is a familiar opponent. One we have seen every year for quite a while, not once every thirty years(ECU), or for the first time(McNeese),or the fourth time(Samford). Familiar is good. It gives you an idea of what the other team is going to bring to the table. It also gives you some good notes to reflect on from the previous year. That is the best thing about the rest of the schedule. We are familiar with the rest of our opponents. Maybe the results can start looking familiar as well.

 

It seems like Citadel wide receiver Andre Roberts has been around forever. He has some ridiculous career numbers. He has scored 37 career touchdowns in almost every way imaginable, besides passing the ball. Roberts recorded three return touchdowns in 2008 to go along with 14 receiving touchdowns and one rushing touchdown. He also caught 95 passes for 1,334 yards. He can simply do it all. Roberts has scored three of his touchdowns against Appalachian. In 2006, he scored a junk touchdown in the fourth quarter of a 42-13 Mountaineer beat down and in 2007 he scored in the first quarter on a 30 yard pass from Bart Blanchard. In 2008, Roberts scored on a punt return in the third quarter to cut the ASU lead to 41-14. Even with Cortez Gilbert matched up on Roberts in 2008, Roberts got his touches, as he had six catches for 52 yards. That is the most important thing to remember. They will get Roberts the ball and the Appalachian defense must have the same intensity as it did against Samford to corral him. He can, and will, hurt a team all by himself.

 

Bulldog junior quarterback Bart Blanchard threw six touchdown passes last week in the 46-21 win over Presbyterian, including four to Roberts. Blanchard first start came against Appalachian in 2007. In his career he has 33 touchdown passes and four rushing touchdowns. He will run if the pocket collapses and is an accurate passer. Blanchard has completed right at 60% of his career completions, despite 16 interceptions. However, against Appalachian Blanchard has completed only 48% of his attempts including two interceptions and was sacked five times in 2007.

 

The theme of the article thus far has been about familiarity and past history. The most staggering numbers heading into this game are the numbers that have been put up by Armanti Edwards against The Citadel. The last time Edwards visited Johnson Hagood Stadium, he only ran for 291 yards, averaging 13.9 yards per attempt. I don’t think anyone expects a performance like that this weekend, but if it happened, it wouldn’t surprise you. Edwards has scored more on The Citadel than any other team in his career. His 953 yards of total offense and 12 touchdowns against the Bulldogs speaks for itself. The Mountaineers have scored 45 points a game against The Citadel in the Edwards era. The Bulldogs know Edwards is coming, but they have not come close to stopping him in three years.

 

The most noticeable improvement last week for Appalachian came on the defensive side of the ball. After giving up nearly a third of a mile in offense to McNeese, Appalachian responded by limiting Samford to 192 yards and came as close as one unfortunate penalty of keeping the shutout in tack. Samford’s Chris Evans got his yards, but he was well contained from making any big plays. Dustin Taliaferro never got comfortable and rarely gave his receivers a chance to make a play. The Appalachian coaching staff simplified the defensive play calling and let the defense rely more on instinct. That is something that I think was the most key to the victory. Appalachian has tremendously skilled players at many positions on defense and they need to take advantage of that raw talent. There are not many offenses in the Southern Conference that can match up athlete for athlete with the Mountaineers and they need to make the most of their opponents weaknesses.

 

The Sagarin rankings confuse me to no end this week. Generally, the rankings do not give fans a good idea of what teams really have until about midway through the season. In fact, in the previous three seasons, Appalachian has only been a single digit favorite to win in each game. However, predicting a Citadel win is interesting. There can be only one explanation. There is simply not enough data. I am not saying that there is no way the Bulldogs can win, but I see it as highly unlikely. The Bulldogs have given up 197 yards a game on the ground and had a tough time of slowing down the spread offense of Presbyterian. The difference between Presbyterian and Appalachian’s version of the spread is enormous. Appalachian defeated The Blue Hose last year quite handily and the Mountaineers most certainly have better athletes across the board. Presbyterian tailback Trandon Dendy ran for 147 yards by himself against the Bulldogs. Dendy ran for 143 yards in his three previous games against Furman, Elon and Chattanooga. Stopping the run is not something that can be cured overnight, or in one week, especially not against Appalachian. Take out Armanti Edwards and Appalachian will throw Devon Moore at you. Moore has only gone for over 100 yards in two straight games, while averaging 6.5 yards a carry. He is well on his way to a 1,000 yard season. The better Appalachian can run the ball, the easier it will be to throw. Appalachian has spread the ball around well this season with three players having caught ten or more passes. Appalachian can pick apart the Citadel defense as they have shown for the past three years. I think The Citadel will be able to score some points, but I don’t think their defense is stout enough to stop Appalachian on a consistent basis. Appalachian’s offense will only stop itself.

 

The First Pick:

Bullpups Part 2        21

Mountaineers           50

Appalachian State Football: Appalachian vs. The Citadel 10/16/2010

Here we go with Week 6:

The Citadel (2-4, 0-3 9th) @ #1 Appalachian State (5-0, 3-0 1st)
10/16/10

Time: 6:00pm

TV: None
Stadium: Kidd Brewer Stadium
Surface: FieldTurf

Capacity: 21,650
Jeff Sagarin Ratings:
ASU: 70.06
Cit: 46.01

Home advantage: 3.91 points

Appalachian is favored by the Sagarin ratings by 28 points (rounded).

Series: Appalachian leads 23-11
Last Meeting: Appalachian 30, Citadel 27 OT, October 3, 2009

Finally, the bye week is over, the hoopla that surrounds homecoming is over with, and we get down to serious business. There are six weeks left in the season, five conference games, and fortunately for Appalachian three of those five conference games are at home. And when you talk about home, it might finally start feeling like it this weekend, just in time for the flatlanders from Charleston to visit. Much cooler weather is expected as is another electric atmosphere at Kidd Brewer Stadium as the Mountaineers play their only night game of the year at The Rock.

The Citadel’s football program survived a nasty offseason on the wrong page of the newspapers, and the result of that is a new offense being headed by a couple of knobs. Freshmen quarterbacks Sam Martin and Matt Thompson have slowly guided the triple option for the Citadel Bulldogs. The Citadel has opened the conference slate with three straight conference losses to Furman, Western Carolina, and Chattanooga, and points have been hard to come by. The Bulldogs have only managed 12.3 points per contest in conference play, despite averaging well over 34 minutes of possession in each of those games.

The statistical leader for the Cadets is fullback Terrell Dallas, who is averaging close to 80 yards per game and leads the team with five touchdowns. Dallas is a tough physical player who rarely loses a yard and also leads the team in carries. However, the quarterback position leads the Citadel in overall carries. Between Martin and Thompson, there have been 125 quarterback keepers in six games, although only averaging 2.7 yards per tote. After the quarterbacks, there is not another Citadel back that has received more than 24 carries on the season. Seven different players have carried 10 times or more.

The midseason bye week once again played havoc with the Mountaineers. In recent years, Appalachian has played very close ballgames with almost every opponent coming off of a bye. All recent losses came by three points, most notably, Georgia Southern in 2007 and Furman in 2005. In fact, before last week, the victory over Samford last season was the first time Appalachian has won following a bye week in the spread offense era, not counting a 2006 playoff win over Coastal Carolina.

The Mountaineer defense reverted back to form on Saturday, but not the form that many fans wanted to see. It appeared like a replay of the Chattanooga game. Time after time, Scott Riddle was able to throw over the heads of the Mountaineer defenders. Luckily, the bulk of the conference passing attacks are behind the Mountaineers, and they can focus on stopping the run. Outside of Western Carolina, the remaining Mountaineer opponents prefer to run the ball, while three of them use some form of the option. This Saturday will be a huge pretest for the Mountaineers to see where they stand playing assignment defense and not missing tackles. A missed tackle against an option team is a first down, and not only that, but a whole new set of downs.

The Citadel is going to be a team that later in the season may get it all together and beat someone that they really should not beat. I am thinking that team could be Georgia Southern or Elon. I do not think that is going to happen this weekend. In the past, The Citadel has played terrible in Boone, no matter the time of year. This will be the twentieth time the two schools will face off in Boone and the Mountaineers have won sixteen times. This Citadel team is very new to the triple option and they are also very young at key positions on offense. Their game plan will be to control the clock and they must eliminate turnovers. The Bulldogs have lost 12 fumbles in six games and they cannot do that and have a chance against Appalachian. Even though the Bulldogs do a really good job of possessing the ball, they must take advantage of their opportunities. The Citadel has only scored eight touchdowns on twenty red zone possessions. They will need to be perfect in that department to compete with the Apps. If they can control the clock, make this a short game, and score close to 24 points, they will have a good chance at the upset. I think it could be difficult for Appalachian to transition from playing pass defense, to playing run defense, at least for the first couple quarters. The key for Appalachian will be not to beat itself. The Mountaineers committed way too many penalties last week that bailed out Elon over and over.  An upset could be in the making if that trend continues. The health of DeAndre Presley is also a huge concern for Appalachian. Several Appalachian players were quite outspoken over a questionable late hit on their star quarterback in the closing minutes of the win over Elon. Jamal Jackson could get his first start, which would also favor The Citadel. Whether or not Presley can play is yet to be seen, but I do not think it will matter. Jackson has shown that he can also run the spread and his numbers back it up, even in limited action. I think the Mountaineers come out with a bit of a chip on their shoulder. They want to show everyone that the Elon game was a fluke and plan to take it out on an undeserving Citadel team

The First Pick:

Cadets             14

Mountaineers 56

Appalachian State Football: Appalachian @ The Citadel 10/15/2011

Here we go with Week 6:

#7 Appalachian State (3-2, 1-1 5th) @ The Citadel (2-3, 1-3 7th)        

Time: 2:00

Live Video: www.citadelsports.com 

Johnson Hagood Stadium         

Surface: Natural Grass

Capacity: 21,000

Jeff Sagarin Ratings:

ASU: 64.00

CIT: 51.64

Home: 3.08 points

Appalachian is favored by the Sagarin ratings by 10.5 points (rounded).

Series: Appalachian leads 28-11

Last Meeting: Appalachian 39, The Citadel 10, October 16, 2010, Boone, NC       

WXAPP’s Charleston Gameday Weather Trends:

Sunny, Upper 70’s  

            The open week probably came at the best time for the Appalachian football team, coaches and fans. It has given fans time to sound off and get past a somewhat disappointing loss to Wofford two weeks ago. It has given the coaches time to reflect on what has and has not been working, and more importantly, given the players an extra week to rest, relax and focus on the remainder of the season. All is not lost on this season even at the midway point. Six conference games remain and last week we saw the results that prove just that. Chattanooga, a team that has lost all of its conference games by four combined points, gave everyone in the conference the blueprint on how to beat Georgia Southern. Samford travelled to Paladin Stadium, which was once a tough place to play, and picked up a statement win over Furman. The conference race will be the tightest one we have seen in awhile, and one measly conference loss is not going to knock anyone out of a race that will most likely be decided on the last week of the season.

            The Citadel has always given Appalachian teams trouble in Charleston, especially in the last ten years. Despite owning a 4-1 record against the Cadets in that time frame, only the 2006 win can be categorized as being an easy win for the Mountaineers. Two years ago, Jason Vitaris saved Appalachian by kicking three field goals in the second half and overtime to seal the win. Four years ago, The Citadel scored ten third quarter points to pull within a touchdown before Armanti Edwards finished off the Bulldogs with his 291 rushing yards. In 2004, Appalachian had just switched offenses and lost all of their road games. In 2002, place kicker Erik Rockhold led Appalachian with his right foot to an 8-6 victory.

            The 2011 Citadel Bulldogs are nothing to laugh at either. In the second year of going back to the triple option offense, they have held Pioneer League front runner Jacksonville to their lowest scoring output of the season. Two weeks ago, they stormed back from being down 27 points at Chattanooga and won 28-27. They also lost to Furman where they were only down one touchdown in the fourth quarter and also lost a tough one in overtime at Elon. The Bulldogs tout the fourth best rushing offense in the nation, behind only Georgia Southern, Wofford and Portland State. The difference between those four schools is putting the ball in the end zone. The Bulldogs have only scored eleven touchdowns on offense and average only 18.8 points per game and have yet to score in the first quarter all season long.

            Preparing for Wofford and The Citadel are two different animals. Wofford runs a wingbone offense, which has some spread tendencies with shotgun formations, while The Citadel is strictly a triple option attack that resembles Georgia Southern. If you are on the roster, chances are you are going to get a couple carries. The triple option depends heavily on quarterback Ben Dupree of The Citadel. Dupree has carried the ball twice as much as any other teammate, with 431 yards and four touchdowns on the season, despite only gaining 4.1 yards per carry. Darien Robinson is the “B” back, which generally lines up directly behind the quarterback when under center, for the Bulldogs and has rushed 320 yards at 7.4 yards per carry and three touchdowns.

            For Appalachian, another good omen for the timing of the bye week, was to forget about distractions that caused several defensive players to miss some time. Ed Gainey and Lanston Tanyi emerged in the second half against Wofford after being sidelined by off the field accusations. Jeremy Kimbrough served his time for an ejection way back in the win over Chattanooga. Having those three veteran players back, especially linebackers Tanyi and Kimbrough will certainly be a boon to the Mountaineer defense.

            The Mountaineer offense has been a different story, if you can call it that. For the first time in the spread era, Appalachian is averaging less than 400 yards offense a game. Against quality opponents, the Apps have only scored 13.6 points per game. Across the board, the Mountaineer offense has just looked average. The inexperience of the left side of the offensive line has yet to open enough holes in the running game or provide enough protection in the passing game. Outside of Brian Quick (26 catches, 384 yards 4 TD’s), and maybe Andrew Peacock (13-163-1), the receiving corps has yet to live up to lofty expectations. On top of that, mix in the inconsistency of DeAndre Presley, and that is a recipe for blandness. Presley has been unable to run the ball like last year and his passes have been erratic all season long. Now, there is doubt about who starts at quarterback this weekend as well. In garbage time, redshirt sophomore Jamal Jackson has not been impressive, but neither has he been unimpressive. We all know he can run well, and has the frame to stand in the pocket, but what we do not know is if he can handle the pressure. For his career he is 12 of 28 passing for 270 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. He also has 180 yards rushing on 39 carries and five touchdowns on the ground. Yet it still remains, that Jackson has yet to take a meaningful snap in his career. The uncertainty of Presley’s injury and Jackson’s inexperience is very troubling. If Presley has not practiced, he should not play. However, it is a scary thought to add yet another young player on an offense that has been downright tough to watch.

            With The Citadel’s history of playing Appalachian tough in Charleston, and the Mountaineers recent offensive struggles, this is almost a very tough game to pick. The Citadel has only been running the triple option for two years now, and it shows. The Bulldogs are last in the conference in third downs, fourth downs, first downs gained, red zone scoring and red zone touchdowns. Appalachian’s defense will play better, based on having an extra week to prepare and getting back the services of Tanyi, Gainey and Kimbrough. Appalachian has not been scoring a lot, we all know that. The Citadel has been scoring a lot less. It is tough to look at common opponents sometimes and judge scores and statistics based on matchups, but is what we have to compare with. Chattanooga had the Citadel beat, but let them back in the game. Wofford never let Citadel in the game. Appalachian was able to defeat Chattanooga, despite an interesting method to reach the result. Appalachian was in the game with Wofford until the fourth quarter, but could not overcome being dominated at line of scrimmage and in time of possession. Appalachian had its chances against Wofford with several possessions inside the Wofford 20 yard line. Sam Martin uncharacteristically missed all three of his field goal attempts. When you only have eight possessions like Appalachian had against Wofford, you must take advantage of your opportunities. Appalachian cannot allow another team with a running mission to simply eat up clock and shorten the game. This Appalachian team, whether it is Presley or Jackson starting at quarterback on Saturday will need possessions in order to find a rhythm and hopefully put points on the board. I think this game simply comes down to the Citadel’s offense against Appalachian’s defense. Until further convinced, every game from here on out will be a tight one.

The First Pick:

El Citadel                    15

Mountaineers              23