Chattanooga @ Appalachian Football

Here we go with Week 9:

Chattanooga (6-2, 4-1) @ Appalachian State (2-6, 2-3)

Time: 3:30 pm

TV/Video: AppState TV 

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

Kidd Brewer Stadium

Surface: FieldTurf

Capacity: 23,150

Jeff Sagarin Ratings: 

App State: 48.56

UTC: 57.06

Home: 3.47

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

Series: Appalachian leads 26-10

Last Meeting: Appalachian 34, Chattanooga 17, September 22, 2012, Chattanooga

WXAPP’s Boone Gameday Weather Trends for the “Dirty”:

Mix of clouds, breezy, gusty and chance for a shower

Temps in lower 40’s for tailgate, warming to the mid 50’s by kickoff. Low 50’s end of game

            For as many bad breaks and bounces, the Mountaineers endured most of the season; it seemed to turn around all at once for Appalachian in a game against its biggest rival. Neither Georgia Southern or Appalachian are the same teams they have been in the past, for various reasons. It was terribly noticeable at times, with countless penalties and otherwise sloppy play. The passion on the field was not missing. You could sense it in the air on Saturday that both teams badly wanted to beat the other. Perhaps the turning point occurred on the Eagles second drive when an illegal block was called on an Eagle lineman, with Southern up 7-0 and driving. This play put the Eagles behind the chains with a 2nd down and 23 yards to gain. Eventually the Eagles had to punt, and the Mountaineers went to work on the Eagle secondary. Kam Bryant completed three of four passes on the drive for 70 yards and ran twice for fourteen yards, including the equalizing touchdown that tied the game. The Mountaineers struck quickly, in an old fashioned drive that lasted less than two minutes. The following Mountaineer drive saw Appalachian penalized for 40 yards, but in effect they were good penalties. A couple of them were borderline, which forced the crowd into the game. Appalachian persevered through it all, eventually gaining 96 yards on the 15 play drive that technically only covered 56 yards due to penalties. In a strange way, despite the penalties, those extra plays got the Mountaineers in rhythm that carried them to a 38-14 blasting of Georgia Southern. The big thing about those flags that were thrown on that drive is that they were not procedural, but plays of passion and hustle that got the crowd back in the game. So what if Marcus Cox tried to get the crowd going when he was twenty yards away from the playing field? He was not taunting the other team. Shaq Counts may have held a little bit, but it is on the official to make the call. Everyone holds in football, sometimes you just get unlucky. What is important is that the Mountaineers have not quit, because any day Georgia Southern loses is a good day, especially when the Mountaineers win.

            Before we get too overly confident and ahead of ourselves, we must understand how this game unfolded. Georgia Southern is down this year, primarily to blame due to the injured list. Without Jerrick McKinnon, the Eagles were a different team. McKinnon is a workhorse, and the attention a defense has to give to him opens up things for the rest of their offense. Without him, the Eagles became average on offense. The Georgia Southern defense played well overall, outside of the yardage they allowed to the Mountaineers. Several Mountaineer passes were well defended and were just beyond the outstretched fingertips of many Eagle defensive backs. On other instances, Eagle defenders were knocking each other down at the spot where a pass was completed which could have resulted in fewer completions for the Mountaineers. At times, Bryant was looking so good it was almost hard to believe how the Eagles didn’t get more hands on his passes.

             Last week, our thoughts were that Appalachian could have missed their last chance to win a game for the remainder of the season. It is easy now to come off those statements. Once again, anytime you beat Georgia Southern, it makes you think differently. Looking back after seven games, it’s possible that the new Mountaineer offense needed to use some games to really get their feet under them, after losing two starters that were expected to produce on a weekly basis. Kam Bryant has played well this season, considering he has completed 67% of his passes in seven of the eight games he has played in. In three games, he has completed over 80% of his passes. Saturday was easily his best game, combing accuracy with passes of all distances, throwing for nearly 400 yards, and most importantly, not turning the football over. For the game, eleven of Bryant’s twenty-seven attempts were completed for 15 yards or longer.

            Chattanooga has slowly climbed the ranks over the last half decade, trying to return to some level of competiveness in the conference. This year appears to be the year they have made the final push to return to relevancy. The Mocs opened the season with an ugly loss to UT-Martin that put their playoffs hopes in jeopardy, even if it was still August. Chattanooga already had a whale of schedule, with two FBS teams on the road, and two unconvincing non-conference opponents at home. Eventually, they were going to have to win same games that they had not been winning in the past to make a postseason push. Luckily, the Mocs throttled Georgia State in their second game, and have only suffered one hiccup since then, a two point loss to Georgia Southern. Chattanooga now sits at 6-2, but has three road games remaining, one being this weekend against Appalachian, which is followed by a trip to first place Samford, a home game against tricky Wofford, and then a trip to see Nick Saban and his elephants down in Tuscaloosa. The Mocs could easily be 6-6 in a month, or they could be sitting at 8-4, squarely on the playoff bubble. Either way, Chattanooga will be hungry this weekend for their first win in Boone since Ronald Reagan was in his first term as commander in chief.

             Chattanooga has always been a tough test over the years for Appalachian. Even though the Mountaineers have won their last four games against Chattanooga, none have been really easy. Two games were decided by a combined three points, and two others were double digit margin of victories for the Mountaineers, but were played closer than the score indicated. The reasoning behind that is improved defensive play for the Mocs. To date, the Mocs have only given up 17.6 points per game, which is pretty good in this era of college football. Granted, their schedule to date has not been a powerhouse one. After allowing 31 points in the opener, the Mocs have held every opponent to 24 points or less, and three teams were held to 10 points or fewer. Chattanooga likes to shorten the game on offense, thus keeping their defense fresh and able to attack the quarterback. The Mocs are second in the conference in time of possession and third in sacks with 13, which equates to a sack every 14 times the opponents drop back to pass.

            If you want to stop the Mocs, you must get in the face of Jacob Huesman, the quarterback and son of the head coach. Huesman is the Mocs leading rusher with 127 attempts, but trails injured running back Keon Williams by 39 yards. The ball is going to be in Huesman’s hands on every play from scrimmage, but about 35 times a game, he will be the one making the final decision, whether that be by running or throwing. Huesman rushes less often on the road, averaging 14.6 carries compared to at home, where he averages nearly 17 carries per game. Huesman also has lower numbers passing on the road, as he has yet to hit 100 yards passing in any game. Huesman has four passing games over 100 yards, all at home. It’s all in the numbers. Contain Huesman, and the Apps will have given themselves a chance to win. Offensively, the Mountaineers will have to do what they did last weekend. Bryant does not need 381 yards passing, but he needs to continue to be his accurate self and take care of the ball. The Mountaineers must also remain committed to the running game. Marcus Cox has proven he will get his yards steadily, and sometimes in bunches. It is amazing to think his longest carry of the year is only 23 yards, but we all know he has that ability to break a long one at the drop of a hat. Lastly, this game is all about tackling. The Appalachian defense attacked the ball well and wrapped up against Southern. Six Mountaineers had eight stops or more and none of them were John Law. Doug Middleton had his best game, probably of his career, along with Deuce Robinson. Middleton made seven solo stops, including one tackle for loss, a forced fumble, and an interception. Robinson had the lone sack, which was included in 3.5 tackles for loss and nine total tackles. This game will not be about offense, but which defense plays better. This one could be a high or low scoring game, but neither team is going to walk away with this one. The margin may ten points or greater, but it will be a one possession game in the fourth quarter.  


The First Pick:

Locomotives               18

Mountaineers              21

Women’s Basketball 55 Chattanooga 59

This game is just about as big as it gets for the Appalachian Women. This game has enough story lines that we might just leave something out. First place Chattanooga (15-3, 8-1) and third place Appalachian (12-3, 6-1) will battle for supremacy in the SoCon this evening. All of the other SoCon games will have tipped off before App and Chattanooga play, so this game may very well be for first place when the night is over with. Both teams have suffered only one SoCon loss, Chattanooga to a quicker Elon team, and Appalachian to a bigger Davidson team. Both teams have defeated teams from higher rated conferences on the road, and tonight will mark the first time Appalachian will play on the same court as ex-Mountaineer Ashlen Dewart since the 2011 SoCon Championship game, where Dewart conveniently missed two free throws that would have given Appalachian the championship.

Chattanooga began thir season with a surprising win over Tennessee. The Volunteers are to Chattanooga as UNC-Chapel Hill is the to the Mountaineers. Their nemesis from the ‘big city” who wears a color that dominates the state. Since, Chattanooga, has lost only on the road, to St. Mary’s, Auburn, and Elon in overtime. The Mocs are perfect at home.

Star center Faith Dupree was injured early in the season, which gave way for Ashlen Dewart to shine while Dupree was sidelined for nearly three months. Dewart transferred from Appalachian after her sophomore season, and is in the same recruiting class as Anna Freeman, Kelsey Sharkey and Courtney Freeman. Story says she was asked by Darcie Vincent to drop some weight. She refused, and transferred to Chattanooga to play with her sister on a whim. Dewart is the team’s leading scorer at 15.9 points per game, but is not nearly as dominant as her numbers would suggest. She is a tempo player, and simply cannot run with Appalachian’s pressing style of play. Dewart averages 24.2 minutes played per game and can be clumsy at times, as she leads the team in fouls and turnovers. To put it simply she can be beaten easily. I am sure Appalachian has circled this game on their calendar for awhile, not just because of the impact it will have on the conference standings, but because of how Dewart left. You just don’t leave Appalachian and get away with it. I can guarantee, no matter the result, Anna Freeman will have the last word in this rivalry before the season is over.

The Mocs play a frusturating style of offense. Their three pointers need to be falling for them to be successful. Coach Wes Moore may think he can pound the ball inside the post with Dewart and Dupree, who are both similarly sized women, and open up the long ball, but Appalachian plays some of the best defense in the conference. As soon as Dupree or Dewart put the ball on the floor, Appalachian will double down and force mayhem for the Mocs on offense. This will be a great game to watch, and it should be available for free at


This game stunk for so many reasons. First off, listening to Chattanooga’s play by play broadcaster was atrocious. He called out officials by their name, Told to stick their whistles where the sun does not shine, and made sexist comments that suggested male officials do not know how to officiate the women’s game. How he still has a job is beyond me. Secondly, Chattanooga won this game how they always do, by hitting their three pointers. Get them out of their gym, and the story is different and always has been. Chattanooga did not shoot a great percentage from three, but did hit seven of them. The difference, Appalachian was 0/9 from behind the arc.

Ashlen Dewart had a huge double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds, but did not score in the second half. Taylor Hall also had a big double-double for the Mocs with 15 points and 11 rebounds. The rebounds were also another big story of the game. Chattanooga secured sixteen offensive rebounds in the game. Appalachian managed three double digit scorers, but neither was Anna Freeman, who only scored eight points.

These two teams are very close to each other in talent, and it all comes down to who hits the clutch shots. Chattanooga won this time around, but the Mocs will have to visit Appalachian in a month on senior day. Appalachian has now lost both conference games on the road that we considered big games. Davidson at the beginning of the month, and Chattanooga with Samford looming on Monday night. Appalachian really needs to steal one on Monday before returning home next weekend. The top five schools in conference play have separated themselves in the conference race. Appalachian has Samford on Monday and Elon at home next Saturday.

SoCon Women’s Basketball SoCon Overall
Team Record Pct Home Away Neutral Streak Record Pct Home Away Neutral Streak
Chattanooga 9-1 .900 5-0 4-1 0-0 W6 16-3 .842 8-0 7-3 1-0 W6
Davidson 8-1 .889 5-1 3-0 0-0 W3 11-8 .579 6-1 4-6 1-1 W3
Elon 7-2 .778 4-1 3-1 0-0 L1 10-8 .556 7-2 3-6 0-0 L1
Appalachian State 6-2 .750 3-0 3-2 0-0 L1 12-4 .750 5-0 5-4 2-0 L1
Samford 6-3 .667 4-1 2-2 0-0 L2 9-9 .500 6-2 3-7 0-0 L2

Men’s Basketball 88 Chattanooga 91 (OT)

The hottest team in the Southern Conference will face the “western” road trip this weekend when they play Chattanooga on Thursday and Samford on Saturday. First up is the Chattanooga Mocs (7-10, 2-2), who are returning from a four game road trip. The Mocs were 2-2 on the road trip, falling to Georgia Tech and Charleston while defeating Samford and The Citadel. If the Mocs have any true quality wins on the season, you can count the High Point team that Appalachian could not beat on their own home floor and most recently, a surprising Samford team that is 3-1 in SoCon play. The Mocs are a streaky team,with most of their wins coming with single digit margins, while their defeats are by double figures.

This is a big game for both Chattanooga and Appalachian. Not only does the game feature North Division opponents, which we knew mean so much as far as tiebreakers are concerned for the SoCon Tournament, but Appalachian currently holds a one game lead in the standings over Chattanooga. Appalachian (7-8, 3-1) is a half game out of first place behind Western Carolina who has one more win. Although Chattanooga is only a game out of second place in the North, they are only a half game out of the cellar in front of Greensboro, who defeated Wofford on Wednesday.

Chattanooga is led by a man named Z Mason, who leads the team in scoring (13.2)s and rebounding (7.1). Backing up Mason is Gee McGhee (9.6) and Ronrico White (9.4). Without a doubt, Chattanooga gets the award for having the all name team in the SoCon. I doubt there is another trio in the conference with such unique and repetitive names. As a team, Chattanooga shoots poorly from every area on the floor. Their three point shooting is last in the conference at 29.6%, while their field goal shooting stands at 41%, barely good enough for 10th in the twelve team SoCon. The Mocs are 11th in the conference shooting free throws at 65.6%.

In a matter of a few days, Appalachian has five players averaging double figures on the season: Jay Canty 15.3, Nathan Healy 14.3, Mike Neal 10.6, Tevin Baskin 10.3, and Tab Hamilton 10.2. The return of Mike Neal has been a huge lift. His absence at the beginning of the season was extremely undervalued. Neal has been a decent distributor, while adding the ability to get to the rim when needed. Tevin Baskin has also played better, becoming a valuable sixth man that can come off the bench and play thirty minutes if needed. Nathan Healy has been especially solid, creating mismatches on the perimeter for just about every one who defends him. Appalachian has started slow the last couple games, but has finished the first half of those games very strongly and carried it over into the second half to close out wins.

We are having a hard time not gushing over the Mountaineers and their unbelievable covers streak that have going this season. Appalachian is the only team that is perfect against the spread in the NCAA with a minimum of ten lines games at 10-0. On Tuesday, we hypothesized the spread for Thursday, and noted that a pick’em was possible. The first line we have seen is Appalachian being favored by one point. That is just about as good as a guess you can ask for. I would not be surprised if the line snuck up toward to -2 for Appalachian tomorrow. At this point, our hands are tied, and we are going to stick with Appalachian until it burns us. We are 9-1 this season, with our only miss coming in the opening game against East Carolina.

7:05 AM UPDATE: Line opened as a pick’em on our regular book. App stills looks solid here.

12:43 PM UPDATE: Line is now spotting the Mountaineers two points. Appalachian actually plays well at Chattanooga. I do not understand the movement. Everyone must be expecting Appalachian to lose eventually.


For thirty-four minutes, Appalachian looked like the team Mountaineers fans had seen for close to a month. Whatever happened in the final six minutes would be the most embarrassing moments to date this season if it were not for an infamous free throw attempt, which has only garnered 17.9 million YouTube hits. The Mountaineers managed to lose a nineteen point lead in the final 6:36 of the game. Chattanooga scored fifteen points in the first thirteen minutes and change of the second half, which is just over a point a minute. In the final third of the second half, the Mocs scored 33 points. They doubled their point total in the second half, in only half the time. This was an utter collapse of epic proportions.

Once Appalachian gained the nineteen point lead, at the 6:36 mark of the second half, the Mountaineers only grabbed one rebound for the rest of regulation. That was a rebound by Nathan Healy with 5:56 to play. Over the same period of time, the final 6:36 of regulation, Chattanooga grabbed 11 rebounds, six offensive and five defensive. Those six offensive rebounds led to ten second chance points for the Mocs. Ten of their twelve second half points came in the final 6:36. That is inexcusable.

Four Mountaineers scored in double figures. Most importantly, Tab Hamilton scored 21 points and may have broken out of his slump. Although the Roundhouse has been a horror house for Appalachian as a team over the years, it has been a place where Mountaineer shooting guards have had some of their best games. Nathan Cranford hit ten three pointers in a game there in 2007, and Noah Brown hit nine threes in a game in Chattanooga in 2004. Hamilton hit five threes on the night. Nathan Healy added 22 points and 10 rebounds. Jay Canty scored 19 points and Tevin Baskin scored 11 with 7 rebounds.

For the first time all season, Appalachian lost against the spread. The line closed at +2, and of course the the Mountaineers (10-1 ATS) lost by three in overtime. We are not quite sure if this collapse was an anomaly, or a sign of things to come. This was a game that Appalachian had in hand, and literally gave it away. Our record falls to 9-2 on the year. This one stung, which is also why we needed a day to “cool off” before writing about it. Appalachian should still be favored over Samford on Saturday evening, but it will not be by many points. Every home team in the SoCon won on Thursday night, including Davidson and Western Carolina losing on the road in very winnable games.

Samford 4-1 .800 2-1 2-0 0-0 W3 6-12 .333 3-4 3-6 0-2 W3
Western Carolina 4-2 .667 2-1 2-1 0-0 L2 7-11 .389 4-2 2-8 1-1 L2
Elon 3-2 .600 1-1 2-1 0-0 W2 10-7 .588 6-2 4-5 0-0 W2
Chattanooga 3-2 .600 1-1 2-1 0-0 W1 8-10 .444 5-6 3-4 0-0 W1
Appalachian State 3-2 .600 2-0 1-2 0-0 L1 7-9 .438 5-2 2-7 0-0 L1
UNCG 2-3 .400 2-0 0-3 0-0 W1 4-12 .250 4-4 0-8 0-0 W1