Location: Kidd Brewer Stadium, Boone, NC
Kickoff: Saturday, November 23rd 1:30 p.m. CT
TV/Radio: ESPN+/San Marcos: AM 1300, 930 AM, 89.9 FM. Boone: WATA 1450 AM, 96.5 FM
Series Record: Mountaineers lead series 4-0.
Last Meeting: App State won 38-7 in 2018
Betting Line: App State -29, O/U: 52
Well this matchup honesty looks like a mismatch on paper.
I’m not talking about the fact that App State has taken down two P5 programs and Texas State has more L’s than Aunt Becky’s real name and reputation. Again, if you’ve kept up my chronicling of Texas State football for the past few years, you know I’ve leaned more toward the optimistic side. It’s more about the trajectory of each program.
Appalachian State has a storied history, entered the FBS in 2014 with no slowing down and has managed to crack the Top 25 in the rankings a couple of times. Meanwhile, our good friends at Texas State who have a storied history, entered the FBS in 2012, but have managed to flounder in every major aspect of the program.
It isn’t necessarily needed for the preview of the game; I just like to point out two programs are playing each other this weekend with basically the same potential, facilities and eager fan bases, and yet, here we are.
APPettite For Destruction
Like I said earlier, the Mountaineers are rolling along, taking out four Carolina teams along the way, including U of Texas’ former Johnny Carson and David Letterman in Mack Brown and Will Muschamp of the North Carolina Tarheels and the South Carolina Gamecocks, respectively.
The Mountaineers flex a powerful run game that ranks 18th in the nation. As a team they’ve racked up over 2,200 yards of rushing and the unit has had two 300-yard rushing performances.
Junior Darrynton Evans is leading the team in rushing with 1,014, and is not only on pace to smash his career high in yardage from 2018 (1,187) but he also ranks 20th in the nation in rushing. His second consecutive 1,000-yard season marks the eighth consecutive season Appalachian State has produced a quadruple-digit yardage back. That is second only behind Boise State (10).
Under center, the Mountaineer signal caller Zac Thomas has been having another great year with a 18-5 touchdown to interception ration, making him one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the nation. In last year’s win over State, Thomas had 247 yards passing and two touchdowns with 76 yards rushing tacked on.
What makes the App State offense go is there solid offensive line, led by preseason all-conference linemen Noah Hannon and Victor Johnson. Hannon, whose been the solid center anchoring the line with 36-straight starts, is also on the Rimmington Trophy watch list for the nation’s best center. Johnson himself is also on the Outland Trophy watch list for best interior lineman.
Into The Fire
After an emotional Senior Day last Saturday, the Bobcats will have to go toe-to-toe with a perennial Sun Belt heavyweight.
Without crapping all over the Bobcat administration, we have to remember that coach Jake Spavital is in his first year of taking over a program that was free-falling to the bottom of the FBS with some of these seniors playing for four coaches.
Now that Texas State has been officially eliminated from post-season play, Coach Spav will see that many younger players get a chance to see some action on Saturday.
Spavital on playing the depths of his roster: “It’s a great opportunity to go out there and cut loose and develop for the future.”
Texas State needs to control the clock which is something that they have lost in terms of time-of-possession in nine out of 10 games.
To remedy that, they need to get the running game going, and fortunately for the Bobcats, they get the return of running back Caleb Twyford. Twyford leads the ‘Cats in rushing with 468 yards and has an additional 154 yards receiving.
They’ll need Twyford and fellow back Anthony D. Taylor to have productive afternoons because as we saw last week against Troy, Texas State cannot keep up in shootouts.
In the seven losses this year, the opposing team has jumped out early, giving the Bobcat offense no time to develop and go into red alert.
Defensively, the Bobcats need to be aggressive on pass defense. Against Troy, the defense allowed the first 300-yard game of the season and having six passing touchdowns dropped on them was the fruit of that stat.
For opposing teams, Boone is a horrendous she-devil of a place to play.
The stadium sits majestically next to mountains and woods giving the impression that this place can be peaceful, but of course, with this elite team and crowd, it is deceitful.
As coach Spavital said in playing a top 25 team, “If you’re not fired up to play this game you shouldn’t be in this sport.”
You are damn right coach. Gimme the 28-27, RobertCat win.