Appalachian Football @ Georgia

Here we go with Week 10:

Appalachian State (2-7, 2-4 SoCon) @ Georgia (5-3, 4-2 SEC)

Time: 12:30 pm

TV/Video: ESPN GamePlan, ESPN3

Radio: WKBC 97.3 Wilkesboro, Charlotte, Winston Salem, Hickory & High Country; WATA 1450 Boone, Blowing Rock; WCOG 1320 Winston-Salem, Greensboro; WMFR 1230 High Point, Greensboro; WSML 1200, Burlington, Greensboro; WCMC 99.3 Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill; WZGM 1350 Black Mountain, Asheville; WTOE 1470 Spruce Pine; WPWT 870 Bristol, Johnston City; WZGV 730 Charlotte, Rock Hill, Salisbury; WDNC 620 Durham, Raleigh; WHKP 1450 Hendersonville; WAZZ 1490 Fayetteville; WLON 1050 Lincolnton

Sanford Stadium

Surface: Natural Grass

Capacity: 92,746

Jeff Sagarin Ratings: 

App State: 48.73

UGA: 83.93

Home: 3.49

Georgia is favored by the Sagarin ratings by38.5 points (rounded).

Series: First Meeting

Last Meeting: n/a

WXAPP’s Athens Gameday Weather Trends

Mostly Sunny, Lower 60’s at kickoff, Mid 60’s by the end of the game

            Growing pains are never easy. Sometimes the same mistakes are made over and over and learning from them is easier said than done. The Mountaineers seem to be repeating history with each passing loss. With a team full of freshmen, mistakes are unavoidable. Making mistakes are what they do more often than making the right play or read. Saturday’s loss was a good game to watch from a football perspective, but not from a black and gold point of view. The difference was the turnovers. Both teams turned the ball over once with the Mountaineers offense sputtering with a punt following their takeaway. Chattanooga took advantage on their interception, by returning it for a touchdown. Unfortunately, that was the difference on the scoreboard. Another crummy way to end a game, by letting it slip away late. There is no cure to being young, other than dealing with it. At this point in the season, we are almost at a loss for words. Going back to drawing board is getting old, but still a necessity. This week the Mountaineers have to dig real deep, and look for some motivation as they travel to one of college football’s most mystical stadiums for a battle in which they are severely overmatched. Georgia is constantly stocked with some of the best talent in the country at all positions, but has had plenty of issues having one of those truly special teams over the years. They are comparable to those Appalachian teams prior to national championships as they are never an easy win and always considered one of the best. Finally these two schools will face off after the game being moved to different seasons on two occasions. We’ll just say the Dawgs were avoiding the Mountaineers, waiting until the time was right.

            It has been difficult seeing Appalachian struggle to stop a team that is dependent on aspect of their game. Many games this season, the Mountaineers could have focused on one player to contain defensively and it would have dramatically increased their chances of winning. Jacob Huesman did to the Mountaineers almost exactly what Darien Robinson of The Citadel did. He didn’t force the action, and let the game come to him. Nothing Chattanooga did last week was special in the least bit. Huesman ran endlessly it seemed, always getting enough yards to move the chains and shorten the game. He averaged 8.2 yards per rush, while the remainder of the Mocs averaged 3.2 yards per carry. The Mountaineers couldn’t contain him. Huesman didn’t throw a lot, but when he did, it was worked well enough to keep the defense honest. Huesman completed thirteen passes to seven different receivers and both of his touchdown passes were over twenty yards.

            The Mountaineers looked decent on offense, but unlike the previous week, they could not hit the big play in the passing game with regularity. There were a couple twenty yard plays, but the thirty, forty and fifty yard gains were absent. Kam Bryant continued his streak of being incredibly accurate. He completed 72% of his passes in the game, which actually lowered his completion percentage for the season. Bryant has completed 73.2% of his passes on the season, and if he keeps pace for three more games, would break a record that goes all the way back to 2009, when Armanti Edwards completed 68% of his passes for the season. Bryant has now thrown a touchdown pass in seven straight games and has eclipsed 250 yards passing for the third straight game. Marcus Cox continues to churn out the yards. His 29 carries were the most in a game in his short career, and fell one yard short of tying his career high in rushing yards in a game with 158 on the ground. Cox scored three touchdowns, another career high for a single game, and now has fourteen combined scores on the season.  Cox is 296 yards away from breaking the school record for rushing yards in a season by a freshman, which is also held by Armanti Edwards when he ran for 1,153 yards in 2006. Edwards had the benefit of playing in three more games than Cox will this season.

            Georgia entered the season ranked fifth by the Associated Press and were considered by many to be a national championship contender. That goal took a small hit when they lost on opening weekend to then #8 Clemson and the injury bug caught up with them midseason in stunning losses to Missouri and Vanderbilt in consecutive weekends. In Georgia’s first four games, they were averaging 42 points a game, and since then have fallen to just under 27 points per contest in their last four games. The Dawgs needed overtime in Knoxville to get past Tennessee and a game winning drive last week in the fourth quarter to defeat Florida. The Bulldogs have played fourteen true freshmen this season at some point, and ten of those have been on the defensive side of the ball. In the defensive secondary, Georgia has used five different lineups in eight games. In all, Georgia has started 17 different players for the first time of their career this season.

             The Georgia injuries have not been as plentiful on the offensive side of the ball, but they have hit the Bulldogs in some very key places. The one that has gained the most attention is tailback Todd Gurley, who is likely to play this weekend. Gurley is going to be a problem for the Mountaineers if he is at full strength. He is only a sophomore and list of accolades are already a career’s worth of work for any average player. The most important superlative that stands out: Gurley is only the second Georgia running back to gain 1,000 yards as a freshman. The other guy was Herschel Walker. Gurley is a sure fire draft pick, likely the first running back taken, whenever he decides to leave school. He is 6’1 and 232 pounds and has 4.4 speed as well. Appalachian has to hope he is limited, or that the Bulldogs try to save him for #7 Auburn the following week.

            As if Gurley was not enough offense, the Dawgs also have Aaron Murray at quarterback, who is one touchdown pass away from tying Danny Wuerffel’s SEC career record. Murray has been a four year starter and is another future NFL draft pick. Murray has 18 touchdown passes in eight games this season and will likely get a huge roar from the Bulldog faithful when he breaks that record on Saturday. Murray and his offense have been quick starters all season, scoring nearly a third of their points in the first quarter. However, Georgia’s offense tails off as the game wears on. Sixty percent of their points scored this season have come in the first half of games. Meanwhile, the Georgia defense has had trouble finishing in either half this season, giving up 64% of their points in the second and fourth quarters. If the Mountaineers want to compete, they must find a way to get the offense going early, and keep the Bulldogs at bay at the start of the game. Recent FBS games at Florida and Virginia Tech may remind Appalachian fans how important it is to get off to a good start. In both of those games, the Mountaineers were steamrolled by the end of the first quarter. In neither of those games did Appalachian score a meaningful touchdown. That is the basics of this game on Saturday. Appalachian must avoid the early onslaught and contain Georgia as best they can. The Bulldogs are so young and hobbled on defense and the Mountaineers must attack on offense, especially in the passing game. Marcus Cox might be the key for the Mountaineers though. It is doubtful we see another game with close to thirty carries, but he needs to be effective enough to keep Georgia and their defensive line away from Kam Bryant. The Bulldogs have sacked opposing quarterbacks 23 times this season, which is second in the SEC. Georgia does give up 7.5 yards per pass play, and 31.6 points per game on the season, which are both dead last in the SEC. Both teams are in the red on turnover margin, the Bulldogs giving the ball up six more times than their opponents and the Mountaineers are three in the hole. Georgia most likely will win this game going away, but Appalachian will have their chances to stick around and keep the Georgia faithful uneasy.


The First Pick:

Hair of the Dawg        42

Mountaineers              21

Appalachian State Football: Appalachian @ Michigan 9/1/2007

Here we go with Week 1:

Appalachian State @ Michigan

Time: 12pm

TV: Big Ten Network
Michigan Stadium
Surface: FieldTurf
Capacity: 107,501
Jeff Sagarin Rankings:
ASU:     66.40
UM:    88.36
Home advantage: 3.08 points
UM is favored by the Sagarin rankings by 25 points (rounded).

Series: First Meeting
Last Meeting: n/a


The summer gets longer every year. Especially when your team is the two-time defending national champions. It gets even longer when you open on the road against a high profile opponent. The 2007 edition of Mountaineer football may play its toughest opponent in program history this weekend when it heads to Michigan’s famous “Big House”, which comes in just a few seats shy of 108,000. In 2005, many of the same players played in front of 93,000 fans down in Baton Rouge. That was a lot of people. Add on another town the size of Boone to Tiger Stadium and you get Michigan Stadium. The way the Mountaineer nation sees it, it’s just that many more people to prove that we have a good football team. This will be the first time that Michigan has played a team that is not in the NCAA’s highest division. That stat alone shows the respect that the Michigan athletic department shows our Mountaineers. Well, that and a small scheduling quirk, but lets not talk about that. Let’s talk about football. It is that time again. Labor Day weekend is finally here, so let’s get down to business.


In its history, which dates back to 1878, when Michigan defeated Racine (WI), by the score of one touchdown to none, the Wolverines have an all-time record of 860-284-38. On the other hand, ASU defeated Montana State in last years playoffs to record the schools 500th victory. Michigan has gone to 38 bowl games in their history, including twenty Rose Bowls. Appalachian has seen eight bowl games, shockingly no Rose Bowls. Michigan has 11 national titles, Appalachian, 2. This is a game for the ages, right? Most will not see it that way, but for every fan, coach, player and drummer wearing black and gold, it will be.


Of course, we live in the ESPN era of sports. Some of you out there, likely most, have seen a college football preview show or twelve, and we all are aware, that this could be Michigan’s best offense ever. I tend to agree. Chad Henne is your typical pocket passer who has accuracy that can’t be taught. Mike Hart has not fumbled since junior high football. Mario Manningham is about as fast as they come with big soft hands at wide receiver. They have it all, on the offensive side of the ball. The questionable part about Michigan’s team is their defense. The secondary was less than spectacular last season against Southern California in the Rose Bowl. Don’t get me wrong, the Trojans had some pretty good receivers, but they were not going to run past anyone. Michigan must also replace three-quarters of their front line, a unit they gave up the fewest rushing yards in the nation last year. However, defensive captain Shawn Crable leads the linebackers, as he is Michigan’s active leader in tackles for loss(14.5) and sacks (8.5).


For the Apps, its almost as easy. Armanti Edwards is the cool as a cucumber sophomore quarterback who became only the 5th player in NCAA history to run for 1,000 yards and pass for 2,000 yards in the same season. Kevin Richardson has been ASU’s leading rusher for two years in a row, amassing over 3,100 yards on nearly 5.5 yards per carry. The offensive line has been solid over the last two years, dominating opposing teams in the trenches. The Mountaineers have arguably the deepest receiving corps in the Championship Subdivision, lead by the speedster Dexter Jackson, including freshman standout CoCo Hillary, and super sophomore Josh Johnson, to go along with veterans James Hill, TJ Courman and Hans Batichon. Last years Mountaineer offense was the most prolific in school history, scoring over 35 points a game.


The ASU defense also to plug a few holes on the defensive front, but are anchored by their “back” seven defenders. Cam Speer, Jacques Roman and Pierre Banks are the linebackers that cover sideline to sideline. Free safety Corey Lynch is an absolute ball hawk who needs only 8 interceptions to become the schools all time leader. On the corners, Justin Woazeah and Jerome Touchstone are always in position to cover as they both intercepted two passes last year. Titus Howard will replace Jeremy Wiggins at the strong safety position. The lone returning starter on the defensive front is Gary Tharrington, who thrived on the double teams of Marques Murrell, to the tune of 7.5 sacks. Rotating on the front line will be a combination of LSU transfer Tim Washington, Daniel Finnerty, Anthony Wilson, Anthony Williams, Gordy Witte and freshman Bobby Bozzo.


It is going to make than a few bounces of the ball for Appalachian to knock the mighty Wolverines. The mindset for the Mountaineers in this game is to get better with each play. Both teams will likely be a little rusty since it’s the first game of the season. ASU must hope the Big Ten referees are not too flag happy in the opening game. The Mountaineers are going to have to force a couple turnovers, and not give the ball to Michigan in turn, in order to stay with Michigan. The Apps must turn those opportunities into points, and not missed chances. Appalachian will be playing from behind before the kickoff. Each controversial play must go in favor of the Mountaineers. On top of that, Armanti Edwards will have to play like the calm freshman from last year. The ASU receivers will gave to grab every ball thrown their way, and avoid costly drops. Michigan will most likely try to find out how good they are. They will pass the ball just to get some rhythm back. They will also run between the tackles so much it will make the game boring at times. The ASU defense must contain the Wolverines offense, and avoid giving up big plays. Michigan will probably score more points than ASU when the final seconds tick away, but that is not saying that Appalachian will have lost. The experience from this game will pay dividends later in the season at some point. I think ASU has a chance to win this game, unlike most others. A lot of things will have to go the way of the Mountaineers. But when the final bell tolls on Saturday, I will be just as proud to be a Mountaineer as before the game. I hope our offense gives Michigan fits all day long. I hope ASU gets enough pressure on Chad Henne, that it gets him scrambling, and he throws an interception or two. I hope the Apps block a field goal and take it to the house. I just hope none of things happen to Appalachian. Michigan has more horses than Appalachian and they will use them all. ASU will fade in the fourth quarter, but will keep all 108,000 people on the edge of their seats until then. Too much Mike Hart for the young ASU defensive line.




The First Pick:

Black and Gold     16
Maize and Blue     35

Appalachian State Football: Appalachian @ Louisiana State 8/30/2008

Here we go with Week 1:

Appalachian State @ LSU

Time: 5pm EDT

Stadium: Tiger Stadium
Surface: Natural Grass
Capacity: 92,400
Jeff Sagarin Rankings:
ASU:     69.22
LSU:    92.51
Home advantage: 2.87 points
LSU is favored by the Sagarin rankings by 26 points (rounded).

Series: LSU leads 1-0
Last Meeting: LSU 24, ASU 0, November 5, 2005


“The summer gets longer every year. Especially when your team is the two-time defending national champions. It gets even longer when you open on the road against a high profile opponent. The 2007 edition of Mountaineer football may play its toughest opponent in program history this weekend when it heads to Michigan’s famous “Big House”, which comes in just a few seats shy of 108,000. In 2005, many of the same players played in front of 93,000 fans down in Baton Rouge. That was a lot of people. Add on another town the size of Boone to Tiger Stadium and you get Michigan Stadium.”


That right there is how I started the 2007 campaign. I think its significant, because in the first few sentences, I could have written the same thing, changed a couple words around and nobody would have noticed. The ironic part is the reference to Tiger Stadium. Who would have known we would be kicking off the 2008 campaign against LSU. Would have gone something like this:


“The summer gets longer every year. Especially when your team is the three-time defending national champions. It gets even longer when you open on the road against a high profile opponent. The 2008 edition of Mountaineer football may play its toughest opponent in program history this weekend when it heads to Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, aka “Death Valley” , which registered on a seismograph during a game in 1988 against Auburn.”


Enough irony and talk for now, it’s time to talk football.






Louisiana State University has many questions heading into this weekend and some of those questions have nothing to do with football. In the wake of Katrina, officials are taking all precautions with Hurricane Gustav looming as it enters the Gulf Of Mexico. Gustav has already claimed 22 lives in Haiti and that certainly hasn’t helped matters as those in charge are having to make decisions on whether to have a football game or not this weekend. In 2005, ASU was to play LSU on the same Labor Day weekend before the game was rescheduled to later in the season.


The other question facing LSU, is who will start at quarterback for the Bayou Bengals. After Les Miles’ decision to let go of the troubled Ryan Perrilloux, it left a huge void in the backfield. Miles then had three unproven quarterbacks in a virtual dead heat going into spring drills. Andrew Hatch and Jarrett Lee were the front runners through fall drills. Lee injured his back a couple weeks ago in practice, which opened the door for Hatch, but Miles has still yet to name a starter as of prediction thread press time. Supposedly Lee’s back issues are not a problem and Miles says there is a good possibility that Hatch, Lee and true freshman Jordan Jefferson will see time under center on Saturday evening.


Besides the obvious uncertainty of the quarterback situation, LSU seems to be stacked at all other positions on offense. The running game will be led by a couple of bruisers, Keiland Williams and Charles Scott. Both backs are about 5’11 and tip the scales right around 230 pounds and that will pose a tough task for the Mountaineers defensive line that will be outweighed by nearly 35 pounds per player. Clearing the way will be veterans Ciron Black, Herman Johnson and Brett Helms, who were voted as preseason All-SEC players.


Defensively, LSU lost arguably one of its best lineman ever in Glenn Dorsey, but they return another couple of studs who will do their best to slow down the ASU offense. Tyson Jackson and Ricky Jean-Francois are both on the Bednarik watch list for the Best Collegiate Defensive Player. Linebacker Darry Beckwith is also on the Bednarik watch list and looks to be a sure fire first round NFL draft pick as well.


For Appalachian the story begins and ends with Armanti Edwards. After the victory over Michigan last year, Edwards started gaining national attention as one of the best spread quarterbacks in college football. It seems though, that all of the best quarterbacks in college football are in an offense the implements some form of the spread offense. Armanti Edwards will surely be the “best” quarterback on the field on Saturday, but Edwards isn’t the only player that makes the Mountaineers tick. Containing Edwards rushing abilities may help LSU win, but there are plenty of other players the Tigers must contain.


Appalachian lost a good core of their offensive line to graduation, but stepping in are young players who received invaluable playing time throughout the 2007 season. Brett Irvin is solid at the center position and shouldn’t be fazed by the stadium or crowd noise. His first career start came against Michigan. Daniel Kilgore played tight end at times last year, but has changed his number and has moved to right guard. Brad Coley takes over at left tackle as Mario Acitelli moves back inside to his normal position at left guard, which was vacated by Kerry Brown.


Although ASU lost some of its top receivers from 2007, it may be the Mountaineers deepest position on the field. Sophomore CoCo Hillary returns from a season in which he logged total yards in five different positions: quarterback, wide receiver, running back, punt return and  kick return. He may be ASU’s best offensive player not named Edwards. Rounding out the receiving corps is senior T.J. Courman, possession receiver Josh Johnson and redshirt freshman Brian Quick who blocked one of Michigan’s field goal attempts last year.


Despite losing all-time leading rusher Kevin Richardson, Appalachian is as deep at running back as it is at wide receiver. Although Devon Moore is the only proven returnee with 459 yards and 7 touchdowns in 2007, backups Robert Whelton and Cedric Baker have been impressive in spring and fall practices and will surely get carries as the season progresses. Virginia Tech transfer Devin Radford is one of the fastest Mountaineers on the field and will certainly get a couple touches against the Tigers.


The Appalachian defense lost some key players from 2007 to the tune of the entire secondary and perhaps one of the best defensive backs in school history, Corey Lynch, who was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals. However, the entire line backing corps return including SoCon preseason player of the year Pierre Banks, leading tackler Jacque Roman and D.J. Smith who has been compared to ASU’s best ever linebacker Dexter Coakley. Vanderbilt transfer Quavian Lewis looks to provide a pass rush along with 2007 leading sacker Tony Robertson. Stopping the run will be Georgia Military transfer Malcolm Bennett and All-American Anthony Williams.


This is first game in college football history that matches up the defending BCS and FCS champions. LSU is the first two time BCS champion and Appalachian has won three straight titles of its own. In the past 5 years, there have been 10 national titles awarded on the Division I level of football and these two schools own half of them. Talk about a battle of the champions. Both programs get the best athletes available to them. Across the nation, LSU is after the top ten high schools athletes at every position. At Appalachian, they are after what other BCS conferences don’t want. It is not rare to see Mountaineer recruits mention other BCS schools in the same breath as Appalachian in the recruiting circles. This is one reason why this game will be exciting. Both teams have lost important players and the newcomers want to prove they belong, especially in the first game of the season. Surely there will be some rust being the first game of the year. LSU has been noted to have a power running game and nobody blames them with their big running backs and lineman. ASU will use all of their weapons the field in order to keep defenses guessing. LSU is certainly favored in this game, seeing that they are one of the top programs year in and year out, but ASU plays and practices as if they have a chip on their shoulder. Despite the love fest for Armanti Edwards, many sportswriters in the past weeks have come out and said that history will not repeat itself. The win over a Michigan was a fluke. Appalachian’s speed will not be a difference against LSU. I am not here saying the Mountaineers will win by any means, but everyone knows that its not impossible that they could win. LSU will start an unproven quarterback, whoever it is, and that is enough in my mind to feel like this game isn’t as safe for LSU as some college football experts think. Eventually  LSU will have to throw the ball and hit some completions down the field, to keep ASU from stacking the box. ASU’s spread attack will be able to move the ball up and down the field and will score some points. I am guessing at least three touchdowns. I will be surprised if LSU is able to score at will, especially with an untested quarterback. Neither team can afford to give the other a short field. I would not be surprised at all by a shootout. My only question for ASU is the fact that they return only 12 starters from last year. Those 12 guys are playmakers on both sides of the ball, but I think the inexperience in this game may lead to ASU’s demise. ASU’s unbeaten record (12-0) on ESPN is in jeopardy.

The First Pick:

Mike                    31
Yosef                   21

Appalachian State Football: Appalachian @ Florida 11/20/2010

Here we go with Week 11:

 #2 Appalachian State (9-1, 7-1 1st) @ Florida (6-4, 4-4 SEC)

Time: 12:30pm

TV: ESPN Gameplan
Stadium: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium
Surface: Natural Grass

Capacity: 88,548
Jeff Sagarin Ratings:
ASU: 68.66
UF: 80.10

Home advantage: 2.94 points

Florida is favored by the Sagarin ratings by 14 ½ points (rounded).

Series: First meeting
Last Meeting: n/a

Twelve weeks ago, Florida was the last team on the mind of Appalachian fans, and same goes for Gator fans toward the Mountaineers. Both schools have played their respective conference slate, and many would have guessed this game would consist of at least one conference champion. Some would even have figured it could consist of two undefeated teams. However, not many would have correctly guessed which team was 6-4, and which one was 9-1. Both teams had to replace once in a generation quarterbacks. Both teams consistently compete for conference and national championships. The biggest difference for Florida was having juniors leave to play at the next level. At Appalachian, juniors go to summer school. That kind of leadership and experience is needed in football to consistently win. Appalachian will play this game to win. Florida may see this season as a lost cause, after last week missing their chance to play for an SEC championship, and having a rivalry game next week. This game has come off an emotional low for Florida, while Appalachian is fresh off winning their conference, and emotions could not be any higher. Can Florida pick themselves up off the mat, and play against a perceived inferior opponent? Can Appalachian continue to play at a high level after an emotional win? The mental game may be just as important this weekend at the Swamp.

Florida really needs no introduction. Appalachian fans know all about the Gators and their prestige. They have won three national championships in their history, all in the last 15 seasons. They have also captured eight SEC championships in the last 20 seasons. They recruit nationally, and get the best talent in the country, year in and year out. They send numerous players to the NFL each year, and are showcased on national television every week. They have one of the most feared home field advantages in all of college football. They are simply the Florida Gators.

Unless you have not left your house recently, you know that Florida is not having that typical Florida season. Florida experienced a three game losing streak after starting 4-0, losing to Alabama, Louisiana State, and then on homecoming to Mississippi State. The Mississippi game was the real head scratcher, losing 10-7. The Gators then got it together after a bye week, and beat Georgia and Vanderbilt. Last week, Florida did the unthinkable, and lost their third home game of the season to South Carolina, with the SEC East title on the line.

Florida plans to platoon three quarterbacks against the Mountaineers, as they have done for the last few weeks. They are looking to jumpstart an offense that has had some serious issues moving the football. The more the Mountaineers see of John Brantley, the better their chances to win. That would mean that Jordan Reed and Trey Burton have not been successful running the football. Brantley is a mediocre quarterback with a 117.4 efficiency rating. He has eight touchdowns, but also seven interceptions. He averages 174 yards passing a game. If the Mountaineers see a lot of Reed or Burton, it could be a long day. Burton is the more accomplished runner of the quarterbacks, with a 5 yard per carry average and ten touchdowns. Reed has seen most of his work in the last two games, is really a mix of the two, good runner, and decent passer.

The Mountaineers certainly responded after their mistake filled loss tat Georgia Southern. It appeared to be a totally different team on the field. Appalachian took advantage of costly Wofford turnovers and turned a 17-0 lead late in the second quarter into a 31-0 lead early in the second half. Florida will certainly take note that they cannot give the Appalachian offense a short field. Appalachian also shut down one of the best rushing offenses in the FCS. Wofford was held way below their average for rushing the football, and did not complete a pass until the second half. The biggest key for Appalachian is to make sure that the defense continues to play at that level. Florida has some of the best football players in the country, and any missed tackles or assignments by Appalachian will be exploited and go for big plays.

Simply, this is a game that Florida should not lose, but, they should also know, that a loss is possible if they do not play well. There will be no Michigan Part 2. Appalachian State will never sneak up on an opponent ever again. Although victories for FCS teams over FBS squads are rare, the talent level has shrunk significantly over the last few seasons. For Appalachian, the tide began to turn in 2005. The LSU game where the Mountaineers were only down 14-0 in the fourth quarter is about the only other game that can compare to this Saturday. Usually, the Mountaineers play their money game at the beginning of the season. In 2005, much like this season, Appalachian is peaking at the right time of the year, before the FCS playoffs. Prior to the LSU game in 2005, Appalachian learned that it controlled its own destiny to win the conference title, based on a result from an earlier game, and were able to play loose and relaxed. This season is almost identical to 2005, take away the Kansas game. Start the season with a tough road game (E. Kentucky, Chattanooga), take care of the conference despite a tough road loss (Furman, Georgia Southern) , and play a power SEC program at the end of the year (LSU, Florida). The LSU game in 2005 gave that Appalachian team all the confidence they needed before the playoffs. They proved to themselves that they could play with anyone. That game really put into gear what has now become the Appalachian football program as we now know it. The Mountaineers do not feel as if they are underdogs, like they are supposed to lay down for the big boys. They want to show the world what they are all about. A Mountaineer win is not what many fans are expecting this weekend, but they also would not be shocked if it happened. It will be tough, but it is not uncalled for. This one should be fun to watch, but I think Florida might have more points after sixty minutes.


The First Pick:

 Crocodiles                  34

Mountaineers              23