Week 7: App 38 CCU 10
Week 8: App 31 UMass 14
Week 9: App 42 ULM 14
Record: 8-1, 5-0 in Sun Belt
Week 10: Vs Georgia Southern ( 2016 Record: 5-7)
No matter what Appalachian State or Georgia Southern look like by the time Week 10 rolls around you can expect this game to be a hard nosed battle between two old SoCon foes. Last year’s matchup looked like Southern was going to take control and deal App a deadly loss in Sun Belt play but the Apps recovered and Taylor Lamb led a strong second half rally as Appalachian State walked out of Statesboro with a 34-10 victory.
Seth Shuman Shai Werts will take the reigns as QB 1 for the Eagles this year and it will be interesting to see if Werts has the durability to run the option as depth behind him is young. Shai Werts is good fit for the option based offense so we could see a much better offense from Southern in 2017. L.A. Ramsby will be the lead back now that Matt Breida has graduated.
Anything can happen when the bright lights of Thursday night football take place as these two have played on Thursday night every year since moving to the Sun Belt. Appalachian State owns a 2-1 lead in the series since the move up to FBS and with the talent difference one could see Appalachian State claiming their third straight victory over the Eagles. Georgia Southern has a ton of questions surrounding the program not just on the field but also around the staff as well, as its never a good sign when your AD has to send out a letter of support for a head coach in year one.
Prediction: App- 28 Southern- 17 ( 9-1, 6-0 in Sun Belt)
Week 11: @ Georgia State (2016 Record: 3-9)
The Apps will make a visit to Turner Field on Thanksgiving weekend but it won’t be for a baseball game. Appalachian State will battle Conner Manning and the Georgia State Panthers inside their brand new stadium. You can make the argument that Conner Manning and Penny Hart is one of the best duos in the Sun Belt as both look to be in line for a good year in Atlanta.
With four linemen returning things senior running back Kyler Neal could have a breakout season. Georgia State ranked 10th in the Sun Belt in rushing yards per game last year at only about 88 yards per game. GSU may try to become a little more balanced but that remains to be seen. The Panther defense was pretty good last season against the pass. GSU ranked 1st in the Sun Belt in Pass Defense and eighth in the country as they were led by corner tandem Chandon Sullivan and Jerome Smith.
The Appalachian defense will need to pounce on the Panthers early in this matchup as Clifton Duck will have the job of covering Penny Hart. If Appalachian can get to Manning early and often to deflate his confidence, this is a game App State should take and head back to Boone riding a 10-game win streak.
Prediction: Appalachian State 31 GSU- 14 ( Record 10-1 7-0 in Sun Belt)
Week 12: Vs UL- Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns (2016 Record: 6-7)
Thing should look better for head coach Mark Hudspeth now that he may finally have consistent play at quarterback now that Anthony Jennings is gone. Jordan Davis steps in and will look to lead the Cajuns back to another bowl game (I should say the New Orleans Bow). The problem I see with the Cajuns is that I don’t think there is a true identity to this team right now.
The defense has a good mix of upper and lower classmen for the Cajuns but they struggle against the pass. If UL struggles defending the pass then it could lead to 2017 all over again.
I see them as a fringe six-win team. Appalachian State took this matchup 24-0 last season in Lafayette. This year UL comes to Boone on the first Saturday in December and there is a chance they could be playing in snow so the Cajuns better bring some warm weather gear up to Boone. I don’t think you will see another 24-0 shutout in 2017 but one would think App State pulls out a W here behind a strong day from Jalin Moore and Terrance Upshaw.
Prediction: App 24 ULL- 7 (Record: 11-1 8-0 in Sun Belt)
*Next week we will close out our 2017 preview with who I think Appalachian State will meet in their 2017 Bowl Game.