App State Football vs James Madison

Appalachian State (2-1) vs James Madison (2-0)

Saturday, September 24th, 2022 3:30pm EST

TV/Video: ESPN+

Radio: FLAGSHIP 97.3 FM (North Wilkesboro), 96.5
FM/1450 AM (Boone), 99.1 FM/1060 AM/1030 AM (Charlotte),
105.3 FM/1320 AM (Greensboro), 790 AM (Johnson City),
107.7 FM/1450 AM (Hendersonville), Varsity Network App

Kidd Brewer Stadium

Capacity: 30,000

Surface: Astroturf

Jeff Sagarin Ratings

App State: 72.97

JMU: 71.57

Home: 2.11

App State is favored by the Sagarin ratings by 3.51 points

VegasInsider Line: App State -7

Series: App State leads 12-4

Last Meeting: James Madison 35, App State 32 September 20, 2008, Harrisburg, VA

Caught your breath yet? Maybe we can use a different lede next week. College football has been upside down through three weeks, and it seems as if App State has been in the center of it all. Forty-point fourth quarters? Check. Knocking off a top ten opponent on the road? We have that too. Winning on a hail mary touchdown pass? Why not. App State has played just three games with nearly a seasons worth of moments. What could possibly happen next? We welcome in an old rival that also plays the part of a conference newcomer. The Dukes landed in the Sun Belt East along with Old Dominion and Marshall. This will be the seventeenth meeting between the two schools and first matchup as conference opponents. Among the more recent FCS-FBS transitions, the Dukes have the pedigree, with two national championships, and a winning history. They were rumored to have declined an invitation to the Sun Belt years ago, but could not pass it up a second time. This will be the Sun Belt opener for the Dukes, and their fans could not be more excited to renew a budding rivalry.

For the Mountaineers, this will be the fourth game of the season this weekend, but the Dukes were blessed/cursed with a Week 3 bye after playing Middle Tennessee and Norfolk State at home to begin the season. Having an extra week to prepare for an opponent could turn out beneficial, but having one so early in the season might not be. This schedule is partially a result from existing contracts and changing conferences, and subdivisions with less than a year’s notice. James Madison is still in transition and will only play eleven games this year. That means a bowl game and a Sun Belt championship is not in the cards. The Dukes administration hopes to cut the transition period in half from two years to one year. In the meantime, they are playing for pride knowing that they have just the schedule in front of them to play. Transitioning is hard enough, and during the NIL and portal era, it has to be downright difficult for roster management and recruiting.

We can say that James Madison has played just two games this year, but really, it was maybe one and a half games. Against Middle Tennessee, the Dukes started somewhat slow, with a fourteen play drive to start the game that ended with a missed field goal. That drive ate up more than six minutes of game clock. They turned the ball over on their next drive, but then scored touchdowns on three of their next four drives. Those touchdown drives did not eat up a lot of clock, using less than four minutes each. The Dukes love pouncing on your defense when they think they have you on your heels. The threat of tempo exists, and when the quarterback sees something he likes, he’ll be aggressive and attack single coverage. The run-pass-option offense is still alive and well at James Madison. The Dukes worked the Middle defense early, keeping them on the field for thirty plays in their first three drives, and then sped up the pace with 29 plays on their next six drives. The defense has to stay ready for anything when the James Madison offense is on the field.

James Madison has run up the score and racked up a lot of yardage in their first two games. That includes eye-popping numbers that are likely unsustainable over the course a full season, especially when you get into conference play. Beyond outscoring their opponents 107-14, and giving up just 21 total rushing yards, the Dukes have yet to turn the ball over. Todd Centeio has been flawless at quarterback. He’s thrown for 452 yards in essentially three halves of football, completed 66% of his passes and has nine touchdown passes. He’s hard to get a hold of and will not give up sacks. He can scramble and extend plays. The main job of the defense will be to contain him in the pocket and make sure he does not get his feet set when passing. He’ll run on design plays and also bail quickly sometimes when his first read is not there. Centeio has 139 rushing yards in addition to his near perfect passing stats. His primary target has been senior Kris Thornton, who has already amassed eighteen catches in two games, along with 247 yards and five touchdowns.

At no point this past Saturday, did the Troy game feel like one that would be decided by whoever had the ball last. But that is exactly what it turned into. Each team had nine possessions. Both teams scored four touchdowns. The difference in the game was a field goal made and a safety given. Sure, that’s five points, and the final margin was four. A certain point after attempt was not necessary, nor remotely possible. In a game of who has the ball last, its best not to give the other team points. Troy punted just twice, but ultimately their opening drive interception led to App State points, they missed a field goal, and then gave up a safety. This game really came down to situational football. One play ultimately resulted in the final tally, but it was a mixture of just enough from App State that kept them within striking distance. Consider the Mountaineer defense that came through for three sacks and an interception of Gunnar Watson. On the flipside, Chase Brice was sacked once, threw two touchdown passes, and didn’t turn the ball over.

It’s fair to say, that Madison and App fans are really not quite sure what to think about their teams. And that is just fine. It’s still September. The Dukes have played two games where they thoroughly defeated their opponents. Norfolk State is 0-3 with losses to Marshall, Madison and Hampton. Middle Tennessee sports a 2-1 record, but all they have done is get spanked by JMU, and beaten two teams with 0-3 records in Colorado State and Tennessee State. Based on the App State results, a handful of plays in each game could have changed the trajectory in those contests. App’s record could be anywhere from 0-3 to 3-0, and it wouldn’t shock you. The reason why we watch, is to see if your team eventually evolves over the course of the season. Peaking in September will not do you any favors in November. Well, we also like to win. We want to feel good. James Madison also wants to feel good. They want to know that they made the right decision to enter FBS. They’ll hit some stumbling blocks. There is not a program out there that has not or will not. But they will also have those moments that validate that decision. Their schedule sets up nicely, with only five road games, but they are big ones, and every game is on Saturday. But keep an eye on a stretch of games where they are on the road four out of five weeks with a bye week sandwiched in. But this JMU team knows nothing about App State from the past. This rekindling of a predictive rivalry is among fans alone. Still, players on both sides of the ball have known nothing but winning within their program. Although Madison may have not been tested this year, they have known how to get it done for sometime. Conversely, App State has been tested several times in three games. Are we expecting a game into the fourth quarter? Is that more likely than a multiple score game going either direction? I believe so. But there is one theory at play here not many have touched on. The scoreboard said the Mountaineers scored more points last week. However, I think this team comes out and plays like they lost. Offense will be crisper and the defense will play better. That should be more than enough for a comfortable win.

The First Pick

Miracle Whip 28

Mountaineers 38

Appalachian State Football: Appalachian vs. James Madison Playoffs Round 1 11/24/2007

Here we go with the First Round:

#12 James Madison (8-3) @ #5 Appalachian State (9-2)

Time: Noon


Kidd Brewer Stadium

Surface: FieldTurf
Capacity: 16,650

Jeff Sagarin ratings:

ASU:     70.62

JMU:    64.92

Home advantage: 2.59 points

ASU is favored to win by 8 points

Series: ASU leads 11-3

Last Meeting: ASU 21, JMU 10


The season is finally over for all but 16 teams who have dreams of a National Championship dancing in their heads. For about eight of those teams, the opportunity to win it all is realistic. Two of those eight teams will face off in first round action in Boone, NC. One team is the two-time defending champions who will be playing at home. The other is the last national champion to win it not named Appalachian State. The Mountaineers opponent, James Madison feels as if they were given the shaft again by the NCAA by not being awarded a home playoff game. Some feel that ASU might have received the same sentence by being forced to the road in a possible second round match up with the playoffs’ number two seed in McNeese State. It’s really irrelevant. These two teams will not be thinking about where they should have been come Saturday. It’s the playoffs. It’s put up or shut up time. On Saturday, The Rock will be just as it is every weekend during the season. The Mountaineers will expect to win and James Madison will expect to pull off the upset. One team will play prepared and one will win and the other will be eating leftovers, dreaming of what could have been.


The James Madison team that will be taking the field at Kidd Brewer on Saturday is not the same team that Appalachian fans saw at the beginning of the 2006 season. That team was all about running between the tackles and play action passing. The Dukes have now adopted a style of offense that features the quarterback, Rodney Landers, who is questionable for Saturday’s game with a sore ankle. Despite his health, chances are he will probably play if necessary, so the Mountaineers must prepare as if he will. Landers has run for 1194 yards and passed for 1554 yards on the season and has had a hand in 24 touchdowns. In the last two games against Towson and William and Mary, Landers ran for 321 yards on 45 carries. That averages out to 7.1 yards a carry compared to the regular season where he averaged 5.9 yards per carry. However, against playoff teams, Delaware, New Hampshire and Richmond, Landers carried for only 5.4 yards per carry and was held well below is his season average in games against Delaware and Richmond.


They one way to stop Landers is get him off the field or force him to pass. In James Madison’s three losses, Landers’ touchdown to interception ratio was 1 to 2. In fact. Landers’ threw all of his four interceptions in the losses to North Carolina, Richmond and Delaware. On the opposite side of the ball, Appalachian is a prefect 19-0 when Corey Lynch incepts a pass. Landers must keep his passes away from Corey Lynch and the rest of the ASU defense if the Dukes are to advance to the second round.


The James Madison defense is considered one of the better defenses in all of the country. They have allowed only 21.5 points per contest and don’t allow teams to gain yards on the ground. They have only allowed 8 field goals and 31 touchdowns all season long. If there is a weak part of the JMU defense, its their pass defense, which gives up 205 yards per outing. ASU has shown in a couple games this season that they can throw the ball whenever they please. Madison only has eight interceptions on the season and has allowed teams to convert 63% of their passes.

For Appalachian the offense is similar that it revolves around the production of Armanti Edwards. When the Mountaineers can get to running the ball like they want, they are hard to beat. Although James Madison only allows 120 yards a game against the run, something has to give. I am not sure that James Madison has enough speed to contain the ASU running game as a whole. All season, teams have tried to focus on stopping Kevin Richardson, and if that worked, they were unable to contain Edwards. At the same time, when teams focused on Edwards, that is when Richardson would shine. Both players did their best running last year in the 2006 playoffs, when they blew away teams with their speed and elusiveness.


The ASU defense must step up to the plate this week as they face another strong running team. Take away Wofford and Western Carolina, and the rest of the schedule is full of teams that are considered run oriented. The Mountaineers have struggled at times this year with stopping the run, yet rank 10th in the nation in tackles for loss. If the Apps allow a somewhat injured Landers to run wild, it could be a long afternoon.


The tone of this game will be set from the very beginning. When I say that, I don’t mean whoever scores first, I mean whoever wins the coin toss. Both teams will likely prefer to take the ball if given the option and that is when either someone will score or get stopped. I think ASU holds the upper hand if they can get on the board first. In the games ASU lost this season, they had to fight back from behind and get out of their offense while doing so. Appalachian is much better team when they play with the lead. James Madison will need to move the ball and keep it out of the hands of the ASU offense early. Against Richmond, James Madison held the ball for only 23 minutes of the game and eventually lost by one point. ASU thrives on the quick score. The majority of ASU’s scoring drives this season have occurred in less than two minutes of possession. Penalties and turnovers are bigger when you play in the playoffs because everyone you play is better and they take advantage of those situations. I think another big factor in this game is field position. Anytime you can pin a team inside of its ten yard line, you force them to scrap half of their playbook. ASU punter Neil Young was able to control the spin on two punts last week to give Chattanooga bad field position. Whether it be Dexter Jackson or CoCo Hillary returning punts, both players have the breakaway speed that has the ability to flip the field on opposing teams. When you talk about field position and punting, the expectations are for a potentially low scoring game. Appalachian has not been held under 30 points all season long and although James Madison is talented defensively, I don’t see why the Mountaineers will not put points on the board. James Madison must make Appalachian play from behind and force the running game, and play mistake free. I think the home field advantage will come into play when it’s over. In 2005, ASU had 6,327 fans for a non-regional opponent in the first round. In 2006, 16,223 fans showed up to watch ASU pummel Coastal Carolina. More ASU fans will pack Kidd Brewer because they have expected to have a game this time of the year. James Madison has not won this year in front of large crowds and the health of their quarterback will certainly be an issue. The Mountaineers should advance to the next round.

The First Pick:

Black and Gold                35

Men don’t wear Purple      26

Appalachian State Football: Appalachian @ James Madison 9/20/2008

Here we go with Week 3:

#1 Appalachian State @ #5 James Madison

Time: 7pm

Stadium: Bridgeforth Stadium
Surface: Field Turf
Capacity: 15,500
Jeff Sagarin Rankings:
ASU:     68.16
JMU:    62.79
Home advantage: 2.87 points
ASU is favored by the Sagarin rankings by 2 ½  points (rounded).

Series: ASU leads 12-3
Last Meeting: ASU 28, JMU 27 Nov 17th, 2007; 1st round FCS Playoffs


Now the fun really starts. For Appalachian, the “scrimmages” are over. For James Madison, their shot at revenge is finally in sight. This weekend may bring about the most anticipated game in modern FCS history. It has certainly been anticipated by Dukes followers. Since the exit from the playoffs, every James Madison fan, player, coach, and water boy has had this date circled. The excuses are plenty. They shouldn’t have lost, if games were played on paper. They gave it away, if by “gave it away” you mean, they lost the lead. Does it really matter how it happened? It only matters that it did, which leads us to this weekend. Duke fans thought they should have won the National Championship. Appalachian fans knew, when Pierre Banks fell on “The Fumble: Part 2”, that their team wanted it more. (“The Fumble: Part 1” starred Jason Hunter and Ingle Martin.) That is the reason they play the game. The game is played by everyone on the field, not just the quarterbacks or running backs or wide receivers. Who is going to step up this Saturday and make a play that will not be forgotten?


In the Jacksonville game, Appalachian went up against a team and program they had never played before. This weekend will be the exact opposite. James Madison and Appalachian State are very familiar with one another. Coaches Mickey Matthews and Jerry Moore have known each other for the better part of their lives. The schools will have played each other three times in the last three seasons. Armanti Edwards was discovered against James Madison, and this will be the first team in his career that he will have played three times.


Senior quarterback Rodney Landers is the key to the JMU offense. He is a terrific spread quarterback that has plenty of speed and will finish plays off by lowering his head and punishing opposing defenses. He is responsible for 57% of the James Madison total offense and has improved his passing, completing 65% of his attempts for a total of 300 yards on the season and has only thrown one interception. Landers has carried the ball more than any other Madison back this season and leads the team with 7.4 yards per carry and has scored four touchdowns on the ground.

James Madison’s back and receivers are equally as talented as their quarterback. Griff Yancey has carried for 171 yards and is averaging 6.1 yards per tote. Eugene Holloman, despite missing the UMass game to injury, has carried for 143 yards and has averaged 5.3 yards per carry. Punt returner Scotty McGee will be someone the Mountaineer special teams will have to keep an eye on. McGee leads the CAA in punt returns at 17.1 yards per clip and kick returns at 29 yards per return. McGee returned one punt for 38 yards and a touchdown against North Carolina Central and has a long return on the season of 49 yards.


Appalachian fans are still curious as to what kind of team the Mountaineers will put on the field. The first two games sure felt like exhibitions against two teams on the opposite ends of the college football spectrum. The offense has looked somewhat bland and very run oriented. The passing game was not impressive in the win over Jacksonville. Some seem to think that ASU isn’t showing their hand. I don’t think it was so much that, as it was just trying a few different things on offense and giving younger guys some very valuable playing time. Injuries cannot be predicted and it gives those players some confidence when they have to step on the field and be counted on in pressure situations. James Madison is putting everything into this game, making it their season almost. Appalachian needs to play with a similar type of urgency. The season wont be over, but this game this weekend is the true test and battle of the best teams in FCS football.


Appalachian will certainly feature a mixture of Devon Moore and Robert Welton. Moore had 94 yards on nine carries against Jacksonville and Welton carried for a career high 161 yards on ten carries while scoring three touchdowns. Armanti Edwards added 77 yards on eight carries and will certainly be a factor in the game. Depending on how much JMU focuses on stopping Edwards will determine how the ASU game plan will play out. Edwards will have to be successful through the air, for the offense to put points on the board. If Edwards is only able to complete 41% of his passes like he has thus far, it will be a long day for the Mountaineers. A lot of the passing game woes have fallen on the wide receivers. Several players will have to step up in order to keep the chains  moving and keep James Madison off the field.


The advantage I see in this game for Appalachian is when the defense is on the field. James Madison was able to put 52 points on the board against a very good Massachusetts team. The Appalachian defense has speed at every position. Where there isn’t speed there is sure tackling and spot on assignments. Playing Rodney Landers is very much like defending the old Georgia Southern triple option and the wing-whatever you want to call it down at Wofford. JMU will be at a disadvantage every time Landers lines up under center.  Landers in the shotgun is very dangerous because he can turn the corner with such ease and gather so much momentum and fall forward while dragging tacklers. On the other hand, I feel as if the ASU offense is going to come out of its shell on Saturday. I don’t envision many three and outs and when ASU has the ball they will be deliberate. JMU played a pass heavy team last week and allowed close to 300 yards passing in the second half. Granted, UMass was behind and needed to pass, but JMU could not seem to get a good pass rush going. Liam Coen isn’t exactly a scrambling quarterback. If the ASU offensive line can protect and give Armanti time to throw, receivers will get open or Armanti will have time to make magic happen when he decides run.


Night games always bring out the best in college football. The players have had all day to rest and wait to get all of their adrenaline flowing for what will be a great game. The fans will have had plenty of time in the parking lots getting ready as well. The atmosphere will be electric. However, Appalachian players have played in big games. Over the past few years, the Mountaineers have played their best when the lights have been brightest. The James Madison following has hyped this game to no end. It really says something about desperation when fans start chanting to play a team that isn’t in their conference. It will be interesting to see if JMU can press pass the anxiety of the last nine months. Appalachian fans alike, just want as much to show the game last year was a fluke. Their team should have played better too. This game will certainly have playoff implications. The selection committee will look back to this game and the winner, as long they are playoff eligible, will be given serious consideration for home playoff games. Alas, there is lots of football to be played and it will start on Saturday night in Harrisonburg. The coin toss will mean so much in this game. If you are Appalachian, as the away team, you want to receive the ball and get down the field and score. If you are James Madison, you might want to do the same thing, to send the message and get your crowd into the game early. An opening drive defensive stop will also do the trick for the Dukes. Field position will be extremely critical. For both teams, even if they don’t score on their first drive, it will important to at least move the ball for 30 or 40 yards in order to “flip the field”. Play calling is much more conservative if a team is inside their own 20 yard line. Turnovers played a big part last November and will likely be equally as important. James Madison capitalized on an early ASU fumble and then a key fourth down stop by the ASU defense completed the comeback. If I am JMU, I am worried about being a little over prepared. Their coaching staff has admittedly looked at ASU tape all summer long. Jerry Moore and his teams look at games one at a time. It may come back to haunt them. This game has all the makings of a classic, and finally, JMU gets Appalachian in their house. Who is going to step up this Saturday and make a play that will not be forgotten?


The First Pick:

Mickey the Mouth          30
Moore of the Same        34