Game Time: Saturday, October 28 at 3:30 PM
Location: McGurk Stadium, Amherst, MA
Where to Watch: NESN/Eleven Sports
Betting Odds: UMass +3.5
The UMass Minutemen won their first game of the season last week, shellacking Georgia Southern 55-20. Now, they will try to keep that momentum going against Appalachian State. The 5-2 Mountaineers will make for a much tougher test than their Sun Belt colleagues, however. Below we’ll take a look at reasons to like and not like both teams’ chances to pull out a win in Amherst.
Reasons to like UMass: In a battle of winless teams, UMass looked great against Georgia Southern. They only gave up 20 points, and scored 55, both of which are pretty darn good. UMass’ offense has been explosive all year, and they’ve scored 50 points in two straight games. Adam Breneman is one of the best tight ends in the country and a matchup nightmare, at 6’5, 260 and with the speed to stretch the field. Additionally, running backs Bilal Ally and Marquis Young both ran for over 100 yards against Georgia Southern, showing off the Minutemen’s diverse offensive attack.
Reasons to not like UMass: Pretty much all the reasons they were 0-6 before playing Georgia Southern. Mark Whipple’s team is more talented than their record, but it hasn’t been all bad luck. UMass has a porous defense (they gave up 58 points to Ohio in the first game the offense scored 50), and a tendency to make gaffes at untimely moments. With App State’s offensive attack and ballhawking secondary, those two weakness could play right into the Mountaineers’ hands.
Reasons to like App State: Logically speaking, the 5-2 team is a safe pick over the 1-6 team. That’s just common sense. Additionally, App State boasts one of the best quarterbacks of the G5 in Taylor Lamb. Lamb threw for 427 yards against Coastal Carolina last week, and has thrown for 1,624 yards and 13 touchdowns. He’s App State’s all-time leading touchdown passer, and is 6 touchdowns away from becoming the Sun Belt’s all-time touchdown leader too. Additionally, they have Jailin Moore in the backfield. While the Preseason Sun Belt player of the year has struggled, he’s still a dangerous weapon and could have a breakout game.
Reasons to not like App State: Road games are always tough, and it’s a very real possibility that the Mountaineers could underestimate UMass. They’ve already shown a tendency to play down to their competition this season. The Minutemen are always a threat to win because they’re so explosive and App State must keep that in mind.
Prediction: App State wins, 35-17