Appalachian Football vs East Tennessee State

Appalachian State (0-0, 0-0 Sun Belt) vs. East Tennessee (0-0, 0-0 SoCon)

Saturday, August 31st, 2019 3:30pm

TV/Video: ESPN+

Radio: Boone/Blowing Rock: WATA 1450 AM & 96.5 FM; North Wilkesboro/Hickory/Charlote WKBC 97.3 FM; Asheville WZGM 1350 AM; Hendersonville WHKP 107.7 FM & 1450 AM; Charlotte/Gastonia WCGC 1270 AM; Charlotte WAVO 1150 AM; Raleigh/Durham Buzz Sports Radio 96.5 FM, 99.3 FM, The Ticket 620 AM; Greensboro/Winston-Salem/High Point WSJS 101.5 FM & 600 AM

Kidd Brewer Stadium

Capacity: 30,000

Surface: FieldTurf

Jeff Sagarin Ratings

App State: 74.54

East Tennessee: 45.39

Home: 2.25

App State is favored by the Sagarin ratings by 31.5 points (rounded)

Line: App State -32.5

Series: App State leads 31-14-1

Last meeting: Appalachian 21, East Tennessee 7, October 28, 2003, Boone, NC

WxCrum Forecast: Sunny, Mid 70’s thoughout the game

After an offseason of quotable quotes in the media and instagram stories from Willow Valley, it’s finally time to see what new head coach Eliah Drinkwitz can do in Boone. We have all been lucky. We have not done this that often. A new football coach. For this particular corner of the internet, it’s just the second time, even though the first time didn’t really feel like much of a change. Sure, Jerry Moore was an outside guy when he was hired, but nobody considers him as such today. Scott Satterfield was about as far away from being¬†an outsider as you can get. Former player and assistant turned head coach. This was his school. Now it’s for time for Drinkwitz, who may be as much of an outsider as Jerry Moore was in 1989. Or perhaps not. Jerry Moore did not really have much of “mid-major” resume in college football outside a few years at Southern Methodist and North Texas. But hey, that’s Texas football. It’s a big deal in the Lone Star state. Drinkwitz has spent several years in Group of Five football, and he understands what he is up against. Additionally, Drinkwitz has spent time with coaches who know about App State, and coached in the state of North Carolina prior to his arrival, unlike Moore did thirty years ago. One thing is for certain. The expectations remain. The shelves are stocked. It’s just a matter of time before we see how a new piece of the puzzle fits.

Welcome back to the party, East Tennessee State. The last time Appalachian and ETSU met in 2003, it was the last season of football for the Buccaneers. In 2015, East Tennessee was back on the field after the Tennessee Board of Regents approved a $125 student fee in order to restart the program. After one season as an FCS independent, the Southern Conference welcomed back the Bucs like they also did with VMI when they left the conference for over a decade. The 2015 season for ETSU looked much like a typical startup football program. They played a bunch of schools whose names belong on the play-in game line of the NCAA tournament and they went 2-9. After two more seasons with better results, but still below .500, something clicked. In 2018, the Bucs went 8-4, shared the Southern Conference title with Furman & Wofford and advanced the the FCS Playoffs. That was just their second ever appearance in the FCS playoffs. The season included six wins over conference opponents by a combined 16 points.

Buccaneer head coach Randy Sanders is an old school Tennessee homeboy. Most of his coaching and playing career has been spent in the eastern part of the Volunteer State outside of a few years at Kentucky and Florida State. His hometown of Morristown is about halfway between Knoxville and Johnson City, so if anyone knows about the Blue Ridge area of Tennessee, it’s Randy Sanders. This will be Sanders second season at the helm for the Bucs, and also just his second as a head coach.

Most of the news out of Bucs camp this summer has been surrounding the quarterback battle. East Tennessee made headlines when it was announced that former Miami quarterback Cade Weldon and Coastal Carolina quarterback Chance Thrasher were transferring in to the program. Since, Weldon has been hurt, and Thrasher has won the job. Thrasher has worked through injuries throughout his entire collegiate career. Thrasher played sparingly last year against App State. And I mean, sparingly. Three plays. That’s it.

1st and 10 at APP38 Thrasher, C. rush for 1 yard to the APP37 (Diarrassouba, E).
2nd and 9 at APP37 Thrasher, C. rush for 4 yards to the APP33 (Flory, Anthony;Willis, Chris).
3rd and 5 at APP33 Thrasher, C. rush for 1 yard to the APP32 (Willis, Chris).

Quay Holmes is back for the Bucs. The sophomore returns after a really good redshirt freshman year where he did most of the work on offense. Holmes fell just short of 1000 yards rushing on the season, but was heavily involved in the passing game as well, catching 34 passes for 279 yards. He is a preseason SoCon first-team running back and also adds another dimension in the return game. Holmes had a long kick return of 69 yards, and sported a 27.3 yard average on ten total returns. And oh yeah, he scored fifteen! touchdowns last year.

Most of us are familiar enough with what App State returns, just about everyone on both sides of the ball. The team has had a spring and a fall full of practices and meetings. Learning the plays should not be an issue, but execution in live game action, against another opponent will be key. How will the players react when they look to the sideline, and an unfamiliar face is waiting. Of the losses that could impactful, many mention the defensive backs, mainly because of who is gone. The first two weeks of the season should be plenty of time to get adjusted to the pressure of a starting defensive back. I could have sat here and spouted off everyone’s names and stats from last year, but honestly, you have been doing that for nine months. No need to waste your time. We’ll dive into the statistics as soon as we have some.

Make no bones about it, Randy Sanders understands the difficult task his team has in front of him. He was quoted not once, not twice, but three times, saying that playing App State will be tough. Sanders also harked on the twelve years that ETSU didn’t have a program, and mentioned how App State has elevated just about everything about their program while the Buccaneers were without their own. He’s marveled about App State’s speed on defense, which just about every coach has done ever. Not exactly breaking news to the Mountaineer faithful. The real question before us, is what exactly can ETSU do to App State in 2019. Last season, the two schools had one common opponent, Gardner-Webb. I don’t believe you can take much out of one school beating a team by 65 points, and another beating that same school by 45 points. It is a wash. But, ETSU is unequal to 2017 Savannah State, 2015 Howard and 2014 Campbell. Those teams have been the FCS teams the Mountaineers have played since moving up. When this game was scheduled, ETSU was just bringing the program back, and it appeared like a fairly easy win. As we all know, a lot can change in a few short years. You either believe that ETSU will continue their winning ways from last year, or you believe that 2018 was a complete outlier. I believe the latter. They won too many close games for my liking. They are breaking in a new center, a new quarterback, and a middle linebacker. That is a lot of pieces missing in the middle of the field. Additionally, the Bucs will have freshmen manning the kicking and punting duties, and that’s a tough deal for a team that won six games by three points or fewer a season ago. A big part of that was with a decent defense that kept them in games a lot. The Bucs have a solid secondary, and nightmare at defensive end in Nasir Player, but other than a couple young running backs, these Bucs just don’t have the firepower to hang.

The First Pick

Easy Teezy 12

Mountaineers 42

Women’s Basketball 85 ETSU 57

Appalachian continues its non-conference schedule for their first game of the season while school is on break as they travel to long time rival East Tennessee State. The Mountaineers (6-1) are looking for the sixth straight win since dropping their road opener at Virginia Tech by three points. Appalachian has won three straight games in the series, most recently a twenty-four point win last season in Boone.

East Tennessee State (2-3) owns wins over Morehead State and Memphis, while they have lost by double digits in all of their three losses. Most recently, the Bucs lost to Louisiana State by thirty four points, and to Chattanooga by thirty three points. The Bucs have only made fifteen three pointers in their five games, while giving up 5.8 three pointers to their opponents. The Bucs do a really good job on the offensive glass, averaging seventeen offensive caroms a game. The Bucs are sloppy though, giving up 22 turnovers a game, which holds them to 61.2 points per game.

Appalachian has been on an extended break, not playing since a December 3rd win over conference opponent Georgia Southern. Appalachian held the Eagles to 43 points, in what could be considered their best defensive performance of the season. Appalachian forced 24 turnovers while only allowing sixteen made field goals. Georgia Southern was 1/21 from behind the arc.

Anna Freeman is eight points away from scoring her 1,500th point. Freeman leads the team with 21 points and 7.9 rebounds per game. Playing a strong second fiddle is senior guard Courtney Freeman who graduated over the weekend. Courtney is averaging 18.6 points and 6.6 rebounds per game, good enough for second on the team in both categories. Maryah Sydnor is scoring 10.6 points per game after a slow start to the season. Sydnor is also grabbing 5.9 rebounds a game, good enough for third on the team in both major categories. As a team, Appalachian is outscoring their opponents by almost twenty points per game.

Update: Raven Gary will not play tonight.

Postgame:

Appalachian shook off a sluggish first half on defense to run away with a 85-57 win on the road at East Tennesee State. Appalachian led by four points at the break after leading by as many as 13 points in the first hald before allowing the Bucs to climb back into the game before halftime.

The second half was tight for the first seven minutes, and saw ETSU take their first lead of the game with 12:59 to play in the second half. That is where the game changed drastically. The lead ETSU took was their last of the game, and the field goal that put them on top was also their last made basket of the game. Yes, ETSU basically went the last thirteen minutes of the game without a bucket. From that point, Appalachian went on a 36-7 run to end the game. Appalachian scored nine points in the first seven minutes of the second half, but averaged 2.7 points per minute in the final third of the game.

The top free throw shooting team in the country, Appalachian improved that number hitting 18 of their 19 attempts, with the only miss, ironically, coming from the team’s best free throw shooter in Anna Freeman. Maryah Sydnor led all scorers with 23 points. Courtney Freeman finished with a monster double-double with 16 points and 14 rebounds. Katie Mallow chipped in with 16 points. Anna Freeman was plagued with foul trouble and only played twenty-five minutes, but still managed 13 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists and 4 steals. The Mountaineers move to 7-1 on the season and will play at West Virginia on Friday evening.

C-Note: Anna Freeman scored her 1,500th point of her career and moved into fourth place on the all time scoring list. She is on pace to eclipse 2,000 points sometime in the SoCon tournament.

 

Appalachian State Baseball (25-9, 10-5 SoCon) vs. Eastern Kentucky (16-17, 8-4 OVC)

Eastern Kentucky has been through an up and down season that has been filled with streaks of winning and losing. After winning three of their first four games, the Colonels went on to lose their next 6 games before winning their next seven games. Since then, they have won two and lost two. During their six game losing streak the Colonels averaged three runs per game. In their seven game winning streak, they averaged 8.8 runs per game. The offense has tailed off some in the last week, but they are still scoring 7 runs per games in the last four games, which works out to 8.2 runs per game their last 11 contests. In turn, eight of those last eleven games were at home in Richmond, Ky. The Colonels have several common opponents with the Mountaineers. EKU won two games out of three over East Tennessee State and Wofford. The Colonels split two games with UNC-Greensboro.

The recent four game road stretch was brutal to the Mountaineers. After gaining their highest ranking in school history, the Mountaineers faltered to a 1-3 week. The week saw the team batting average fall from .311 to .308 on the season. Just a couple weeks ago, Appalachian had two players above .400 on the season, and a third hitting just below that level. Currently, four Mountaineers are batting between .377 and .396 on the season. Daniel Kassouf continues his run for the SoCon triple crown. Kassouf is batting .337 with 13 homers and 41 RBI’s, which is good enough for seventh, second and second in the league, respectively.

Predicting the starting pitchers for this week should be fun. Jamie Nunn has pitched three straight weekends and still made his normal Tuesday start for Appalachian. Jeffrey Springs was the Wednesday starter when Appalachian was playing two midweek games a week. This will be the first week with two midweek games since March 13-14 when the Mountaineers played Duke and South Carolina. Eastern Kentucky has not played one midweek game since March 27th when they defeated Marshall 10-3. The Colonels used nine pitchers in that game and everyone threw exactly one inning. In a two game midweek series against UNC-Greensboro and Indiana, the Colonels used Blake Bottoms and Cody Creamer.

UPDATE: Tuesday game was rained out. Doubleheader scheduled for Wednesday.

UPDATE Wednesday 11:26 AM: Doubleheader cancelled due to rain.

#30 Appalachian State Baseball (22-5, 7-2 SoCon) vs. East Tennessee State (14-12, 3-6 A-Sun)

Appalachian State and East Tennessee State will renew their rivalry for the 125th time on Tuesday evening at Smith Stadium. Appalachian leads the all time series 71-53, but lost both meetings to the Buccaneers last season. The East Tennessee State lineup does have some solid hitters. They currently boast three hitters batting at least .300 or better and a fourth who is batting .297. Clinton Freeman leads the Bucs with a .363 average with 37 hits, twelve of those for extra bases. Matthew Scruggs brings the power for the Bucs with 11 home runs and 21 RBI. Keuhl McEachern will be making his first career start for ETSU. McEachern has six apperances and only 6.2 innings thrown this year, but allows a team low .167 batting average to his opponents.

Appalachian is back in the national polls after a one week hiatus. The Mountaineers were voted in at #30 in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Poll. Previously, Appalachian was ranked 29th in the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper. Appalachian has been led by the strong bats of Daniel Kassouf, Will Callaway and Tyler Tewell. Those three rank in the top six in the Southern Conference in batting average with Kassouf leading the trio batting .409, while Callaway is .406 and Tewell is batting .385. The trio has a combined 47 extra base hits.

Projected Starters

ASU Fr. LHP Jamie Nunn (3-0, 1.69) vs. ETSU Fr. RHP Kuehl McEachern (0-0, 2.70)

Game was rained out in the middle of the third inning. All statistics will be wiped from the record and a make up date may be scheduled.

Appalachian State Men’s Basketball: Appalachian vs. East Tennesee State 12/10/2011

Just like the previous game in Johnson City, the line was very late to post, and eventually did not post. Despite homecourt advantage, the Bucs had too much experience and too many mismatchs for Appalachian. Luckily the students were on break and didnt have to witness another beatdown as the Bucs rolled to a 65-48 win. My record remained at 2-3.

Appalachian State Men’s Basketball: Appalachian @ East Tennessee State 11/15/2011

The line for this game was placed right before tipoff. It was officially ruled as a PK, and most likely I would have picked ETSU as the Mountaineers have never played well in the Mini-Dome. I did not make a pick for this game. Obviously my record stands at 0-0.

ETSU won 81-68, but the game was never that close.