Week 4: App St 49- Gardner Webb 10
Week 5: App St 27- South Alabama 13
Week 6: Ark St 35- App St 27
Record: 4-2, 1-1 Sun Belt
Week 7 - vs Louisiana (2017 Record: 5-7)
A new head man takes the reigns in Cajun country for 2018 and one has to wonder where things go after last year. A Cajun defense that gave up 40 points per game and just south of 500 yards per game last season has to be fixed in some capacity if they want to be competitive. Another glaring hole to fill is at Quarterback. Jordan Davis left in the spring, leaving two guys who battled injuries as fill in QBs a season ago in Andre Nunez and Levi Lewis.
The skill positions show to be a strong point as all of their main ball carriers and wide receivers return. The offensive line also looks to be a strong spot as the unit looks to mostly consist of redshirt juniors and seniors. The Cajuns added a couple grad transfers to try and help out the defense but holes still remain.
Appalachian State rolled Louisiana 63-14 a year ago on senior day in Boone. One has to wonder if so many glaring holes can be sewed or semi patched up for a team breaking in a new head coach. I don’t foresee a blowout like 2017 but I still see a “W” in the win column.
Prediction: App St 37- Louisiana 17 (Record: 5-2, 2-1 in Sun Belt)
Week 8 - @ Georgia Southern (2017 Record: 2-10)
Ladies and Gentlemen welcome to “Hate Week”. App State and Georgia Southern meet once again in primetime under Thursday night lights. I think I can begin by saying Georgia Southern fans have nowhere to go but up with their expectations for this 2018 season. Lunsford is bringing back a more shotgun option scheme that Willie Fritz ran with great success for Southern in 2014 and 2015. Shai Werts is back as QB1 for the Eagles and will look to garner more improvement from a season ago.
A big help will be the return of Wesley Fields at running back as going back to the traditional Georgia Southern system should lead to a great year from him along with some stability upfront. Defense is where things could be a little rocky for 2018. Southern will be switching from a 4-3 to a 3-4 and they lack depth at linebacker. However, the Eagles may have one of the best corner duos Monquavion Brinson and Joshua Moon as they combined for seven interceptions in 2017.
App State and Georgia Southern is always a big game. I see a tightly contested first half lending to App State slowly pulling away late.
Prediction: App St 28 - Southern 17 (Record: 6-2, 3-1 Sun Belt)
Week 9 - @ Coastal Carolina (2017 Record: 3-9)
To quote WCW, it’s time for a little “Bash at the Beach”. Appalachian will travel down to Conway to take on the Chanticleers who will have their biggest asset back with head coach Joe Moglia back on the sideline. One huge question sits on the table for this Coastal team in 2018: Who will be the Quarterback? One would think the job would go to Senior Kilton Anderson or freshman Bryce Carpenter.
Last season Appalachian State slugged its way to a 37-29 victory against Coastal in Boone. Coastal was able to find more of its Sun Belt grove by the end of 2017 as the Chants gave away what would have been the biggest win in program history away against Arkansas, but would go on to grab a pair of season ending wins against Idaho and Georgia Southern. Size is not going to be something CCU will reap benefits of as they lack a defensive lineman that weighs 300 pounds or more.
Coastal struggled to put pressure on QBs last season and with only four defensive starters returning someone is going to have to step up and try and help fix some key issues on that side of the ball. I look for the App State front to be a little to much for CCU’s small defensive line and look for Moore to find is way in this game.
Prediction: App St 31 - CCU 19 ( Record: 7-2, 4-1 Sun Belt)
Next week we close out our 2018 season preview as Appalachian has its eyes set on a possible birth in the first ever Sun Belt title game but first dates with Bobcats, Panthers and Trojans await what is sure to be a grand finale to the 2018 season.