Date: Saturday, December 16th
Time: 3:30 PM ET
Location: FBC Mortgage Stadium - Orlando, FL
Betting Line: Appalachian State -3.5
Appalachian State Mountaineers
2023 Record: 8-5
Form: Winners of five of their last six games, lost to Troy in Sun Belt Championship Game
Key Players: QB Joey Aguilar, LB Andrew Parker Jr., WR Kaedin Robinson
The Story So Far: The first half of Appalachian State’s season was a roller coaster. The Mountaineers were 3-4 to start the season with five of those results being decided by a touchdown or less. Following their October 22 loss to Old Dominion, App State won five straight to clinch the SBC East and reach the league championship.
The Mountaineers had the second-best total offense in the SBC with an average of 450.3 yards per game. App State also scored more touchdowns than any other Sun Belt team with 56.
Of note, App State will be without star running back Nate Noel, who entered the transfer portal last week.
2023 Record: 11-2
Form: Winners of each of their last five games, MAC Champions
Key Players: K Graham Nicholson, LB Matt Salopek, RB Rashad Amos
The Story So Far: On their way to a MAC championship and their highest win total since 2003, Miami lost original starting quarterback Brett Gabbert to a broken leg. Aveon Smith stepped in admirably for the final five games of the season (all wins) but Smith has entered the transfer portal.
Kicker Graham Nicholson had one of the most accurate seasons by a kicker in recent FBS history, which made him the first MAC player to ever win the Lou Groza Award. The Miami defense, led by linebacker Matt Salopek, allowed only nine touchdowns in eight conference games in 2023.
The two programs are meeting for the first time ever on Saturday.