Men’s Basketball 76 Virginia Tech 87


Virginia Tech is off to hot start with a sparkling 4-0 record and its brand new head coach, James Johnson who replaced the fired Seth Greenberg. No matter how hard he tried, Greenberg could not get his teams to the NCAA tournament often enough. Johnson is somewhat of an unknown to the common basketball fan. He spent the past five seasons at VT as an assistant and was hired to be Clemson’s coach in April before the Hokies lured him back. Johnson spent three years of his career in the Southern conference, one year as an assistant at College of Charleston and two years at Elon.

The Hokies have been impressive on both ends of the court this season. In their four wins over East Tennessee State, Rhode Island, VMI & UNCG, the Hokies have averaged 85 points per game, good enough for second in the ACC. Although Tech has given up close to 70 points on the defensive end, their statistics are impressive. Tech’s opponents are shooting under 40% from the floor, and 21% from three point range.

The Hokies are led by senior guard Erick Green who is lighting it up in his final season. Green is averaging nearly 24 points per game while also dishing out 5.5 assists a game, both numbers which lead the team. Green has contributed eight made three pointers this season, for a team that has already made 42 trifectas on the season.

Appalachian’s defense has been atrocious this season, but it seems they might have found a partial solution against East Carolina. The real question is if Appalachian can put together an entire game of offensive and defensive production. The Mountaineers are playing only seven players in their normal rotation, with only seven players seeing action in every game this season. Nathan Healy has been solid after a rough game against High Point. Healy is shooting 60% from the field, and 46% from three point land. Jay Canty leads the Mountaineers in several categories, including points per game, rebounds and free throws made and attempted. Canty could warm up from three point range, as he has only hit one of his twelve attempts.

The Mountaineers are massive 20.5 point underdogs on the road. We were way off with our guess of what the line would be. We were expecting a double digit line, but nothing as high as twenty points. Virginia Tech has covered in both of their games that were lined this season, as have the Mountaineers. Something will have to give. Appalachian could hang tight in a game that is likely to be lightly attended by fans on Black Friday. As we have mentioned in the past, Appalachian has been good against major conference opponents on the road in the double digit spreads the last two years, covering three of four such games. Virginia Tech is bound to have a rough shooting game sometime in their future, and it could be today. I’ll take the Mountaineers to cover this big spread, as I should have done earlier this week.

UPDATE: In the time it took me to write this article, the line dropped from 20.5 to 19.


Appalachian kept the margin close with Virginia Tech for most of the game before fouls caught up with them in the second half. Virginia Tech led for almost the entire second half, outside of Appalachian tying the score at 50 with 14:57 remaining. It was the game’s ninth and final tie of the game. From that point, Tech went on a 23-10 run over the course of the next ten minutes of game action and never looked back.

The game was decided completely on the free throw line. Virginia Tech was awarded thirty-nine free throw attempts on the afternoon and hit thirty of them, a 77% clip for the day. Appalachian countered with only 21 attempts, knocking down only twelve. The Mountaineers have been solid for a good part of this short season at the free throw line, but when they shoot a lower percentage, they do it in the worst way. Tevin Baskin and Michael Obacha were both 1/4 from the line. Even Nathan Healy missed a rare free throw. The bigger story outside of the poor shooting were the opportunities at the foul line. Even though the Mountaineers were only whistled for seven more fouls than Virginia Tech, the Hokies were able to shoot 18 more free throws. The officials even tried to nail Nathan Healy with two flagrant fouls. The first offense, the officials went to the video monitor to review if the flagrant was warranted, but it was not. On the second offense, Healy chased down a wide open layup and blocked the shot, but came down on the opponents arm on the follow through, which caused the shooter to land awkwardly, but on his feet. That foul was called a flagrant in live action, and the officials went to review the play again, and confirmed call. It was obvious at that point in the game, that the officials did not want Appalachian to win. It was one of the worst calls I have seen in college basketball, especially considering the officials could have changed the call by reviewing the play.

When all was said and done, the Mountaineers held on to cover the spread, and we made the right call. It was fourth cover in five games against opponents from the ACC/Big Ten/C-USA that the Mountaineers covered as double digit road dogs. We have evened up our record at 1-1 on the season and will look to go over .500 on the season next week as the Mountaineers return home against Duquesne. The Dukes have covered twice as underdogs this season while they have been favored twice and won, but did not cover.

Women’s Basketball 68, Virginia Tech 71


Appalachian State will look for an upset in their first road game of the season tonight versus Virginia Tech. The Mountaineers and the Hokies are both playing their second game of the season, as Appalachian dominated Lees-McRae while the Hokies fell at home to Old Dominion on Friday. The Hokies return four starters from a team that went 7-23 last season and finished tenth in the ACC. The Hokies were picked to finish eleventh this season while the Mountaineers were tabbed the preseason favorite in the Southern Conference.

The Hokie roster includes four seniors, highlighted by Alyssa Fenyn who has started 79 of her 91 career games. Fenyn led the team in assists last year with 88 while averaging 8.2 points and 4.2 rebounds per game. Aerial Wilson led the Hokies in minutes played last year, averaging 35 minutes a contest while averaging 12.1 points per game. Wilson scored two points in the season opener.

The Hokies and Mountaineers have had a few common opponents over the last couple years. Last year, the Hokies fell to NC State last year at home, while the Mountaineers defeated the Wolfpack in the WNIT in Raleigh. Both Appalachian and Virginia Tech lost to Virginia twice last year. Two seaons ago, Virginia Tech notched a seven point win over Elon, while the Mountaineers defeated Elon by an average of 23 points per game in three games. The Hokies also lost twice to Wake Forest two seasons ago, while the Mountaineers defeated the Deacons in Winston Salem.


A very physical game finished in heartbreaking fashion for the Mountaineers. Appalachian had the ball with a chance to tie on the game’s final possession and Raven Gary’s layup attempt rolled off the rim with just under five seconds remaining. Virginia Tech hit a free throw and intentionally missed the second free throw to provide the final margin.

Virginia Tech led the game early before the Mountaineers went on a 12-0 run midway through the first half to push their lead out to six points. The Hokies battled back slowly with three point shooting to draw within three points at halftime. The Mountaineers shot 52% in the first half along with hitting six of seven free throws. The Hokies did not get to the foul line in the first half.

The second half saw Virginia Tech run out to their biggest lead of the game at seven points just five minutes into the final frame. The Mountaineers forced Tech into several fouls as they slowly clawed back throughout the entire second half. Five Hokies finished with three fouls and another finished with four. Appalachian was brilliant from the free throw line in the second half, nailing fourteen of their sixteen attempts.

Appalachian could not find answer for Tech’s set plays. The Hokies did a great job of cutting to the baseline after dribbling out of the corner and finding an open shooter time and time again. Four Hokies finished in double figures with Alysssa Fenyn leading with 13 points. Monet Tellier netted 12 points, including a trio of three pointers. Conversely, the Hokies simply could not stop Anna Freeman, who finished with a career high 36 points, adding 8 rebounds, three assists, two blocks, and two steals. Freeman hit six of her eleven three points attempts, falling just one three pointer shy of tying a school record. Courtney Freeman added 11 points and nine rebounds.

The game was a homecoming of sorts for Maryah Sydnor, who grew up in nearby Radford, Va. Sydnor was perhaps nervous playing in front of a swarm of friends and family which included members of her high school basketball team. Sydnor played twenty three minutes recording a steal and two points. On any other night, this Appalachian team would have handled Tech easily with better defense, and another scoring threat outside of the Freeman duo.

Appalachian State Football: Appalachian @ Virginia Tech 9/3/2011

Here we go with Week 1:

#2 Appalachian State (0-0) @ #13 Virginia Tech (0-0)

Time: 12:30

TV: ACC Network
Stadium: Lane Stadium
Surface: Natural Grass

Capacity: 66,233
Jeff Sagarin Ratings:
ASU: 68.90
VT: 87.32

Home advantage: 3.08 points

Appalachian is favored by the Sagarin ratings by 21.5 points (rounded).

Series: Virginia Tech leads 3-0
Last Meeting: VT 34 Appalachian 0 Blacksburg, VA October 23, 1982

WXAPP’s Blacksburg Gameday Weather Trends:

Kickoff: Upper 70’s to low 80’s Partly Cloudy

End of game: Mid 80’s Chance of Shower or Thunderstorm

During what perhaps has felt like the longest offseason in several years, has been filled with plenty of news about the Appalachian State football team. Within the last few weeks, talk of changing subdivisions and future games has dominated the conversation. Here is where that all stops. This is where we talk about what happens in a couple short days, in a town that is very similar to Boone, named Blacksburg, VA. For the first time in nearly 30 years, Appalachian and Virginia Tech will rekindle on old series that should be titled the Battle for the Blue Ridge, aptly named for two schools that are separated by only 162 miles. Appalachian took a one year hiatus from playing their FBS money game during the first week of the season in 2010. In recent past two years, Virginia Tech has routinely played a made for TV game in their opener, against the likes of Alabama and Boise State. As it has been well documented, the Hokies fell in their opener last year and lost five days later to FCS James Madison at home. Even years later, Appalachian’s win over Michigan is still mentioned quite often. I am sure Tech fans have heard enough James Madison talk in the last year as well. How will the result of this game be remembered in history? Will it be another banner victory for Appalachian, or back to back losses for Virginia Tech to an FCS program?

Virginia Tech lost a lot of key players from their 2010 team, and several that were selected in the NFL draft. Tech lost running backs Darren Evans and Ryan Williams (Arizona Cardinals) and Tyrod Taylor (Baltimore Ravens) and CB Rashad Carmichael (Houston Texans). All four were huge contributors to the Hokie success the last couple seasons. Redshirt sophomore Logan Thomas will start at quarterback for the Hokies. Thomas is a different breed than the Hokie quarterback from the past. Including Taylor, you think of the Vick brothers, Michael and Marcus, who were all dual threat quarterbacks. Thomas is 6’6” and 242 pounds and has played in 7 career games, has completed 12 of 26 passes for 107 yards and no touchdowns. Thomas will likely lean a lot on junior tailback David Wilson, who also returns kicks for the Hokies. Wilson is 5’10” and 205 pounds and can run like the wind. Wilson, who is also an All-American at the triple jump, has averaged 5.5 yards per carry over his short career and also averaged 26.5 yards per kick return last season. Wilson returned two kicks last year for touchdowns, against NC State and Georgia Tech.

Virginia Tech isn’t alone with their three NFL draft picks. Appalachian had three key players from last years’ teams they will also have to replace. Gone is offensive lineman Daniel Kilgore to San Francisco, linebacker DJ Smith to Green Bay and safety Mark Legree to Seattle. Smith ranked second all time in tackles in Appalachian history while, Legree finished in the top five in schools annals in interceptions. How do you replace that defensive talent? Well of course, you change your base defense. Appalachian’s switch to a 3-4, (three down lineman and four linebackers), has appeared to stifle the Appalachian offense in spring practice into fall camp. How well it works against Virginia Tech and beyond is the question. Virginia Tech likely doesn’t own a lot of tape of Appalachian’s new defense. At the same time, Appalachian hasn’t played another opponent in live game situations besides their own teammates. There is no question that there will be growing pains, but the attacking style seams to fit the personnel on the mountain.

Offensively, the Mountaineers have two critical questions: the lack of experience on the offensive line, and the receiving corps. Appalachian will start two redshirt freshman in Kendall Lamm and Kalan Jones at the left tackle and left guard respectively, which is also quarterback DeAndre Presley’s blind side. From the center position to the right tackle, Appalachian will feature three seniors who have played in a combined 109 games. Center Orry Frye can play anywhere on the line, and Matt Ruff and Xan Thomas will play at guard and tackle on the right side. It’s hard to imagine Appalachian’s receivers are young, but most of them are. Besides Brian Quick and tight end Ben Jorden, the Mountaineers will feature redshirt sophomores Tony Washington, Andrew Peacock, and Jamill Lott and freshman Bobo Beatherd will get looks in four wide receiver formations. Appalachian’s line only gave up nine sacks last year, and the young receivers must pick up quickly after losing cagey veterans Matt Cline, CoCo Hillary and Blake Elder to graduation for Appalachian to be successful on Saturday.

There always seems to be some who feel Appalachian is slow to start a season, and that it usually takes a couple weeks for the offense to get going. Sometimes, that logic has been correct, and other times it has not. Three of the last four openers for Appalachian, all on the road, have been what some would call a good games. Without a doubt, the 2007 opener was a good game for Appalachian. The 2008 opener against LSU would not qualify as being “good” to Appalachian fans. It should be forgotten from memory considering the hurricane and the moving of the start time to six hours earlier in the day. However, in 2009 and 2010, Appalachian was outscored by East Carolina and Chattanooga by a total of 55-14 in the first half. That wasn’t good. What was good was the effort in the second half, by two different quarterbacks in each game. DeAndre Presley started both of those games. Travaris Cadet, now the Mountaineer starting running back fell short at East Carolina by 5 points while Presley revived the Mountaineer offense in the second half against Chattanooga by engineering five scoring drives and leading the Apps to a 1 point win. What’s the point in all this? Before 2007, Appalachian took their lumps in their openers, which were mainly against FBS programs, such as NC State, Wyoming, Hawaii, Marshall, Kansas, Clemson and the list goes on. I am not trying to say the tide has turned but it appears it somewhat has. Frank Beamer and Jerry Moore are both old school coaches. They both prefer strong defenses and running games. That is their roots. I do not believe Virginia Tech is going to light up the scoreboard on Saturday unless they have too. Something tells me this game could go into the fourth quarter, and then it could go either way. Is it likely that Appalachian pulls off another “upset”? No, it really is not likely, but I believe there are many questions for both teams. Frank Beamer said it himself in his teleconference: “(Playing Appalachian) probably seemed like a better idea then when we scheduled it than it does now”


The First Pick:

Hokie Pokey                           35

Mountaineers                         21