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Keys to the Game: What Appalachian State Must Do to Beat Campbell

After last week's 52-14 beat-down at the hands of Michigan, the Mountaineers get a chance to rebuild their confidence with a home game against FCS squad Campbell, who were also beaten soundly last week. What must Appalachian State do to give the Camels their just deserts?

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Mountaineers may have started the season on a bum note, losing to Michigan, but they face an FCS program in Campbell who are entering just their sixth year of football (after a 57-year hiatus). Unlike many of these upstart new teams who are making some noise, even in the FBS, the Fighting Camels are still struggling to find their fight, going 3-9 last season and 17-51 overall. In week one, the Camels lost 33-9 to Charlotte.

Stuff the run

After getting run over by the Wolverines last week, ASU need to stiffen up - a lot - up front. They have made a change to that effect, with Olawale Dada replacing Deuce Robinson as the starter. The sophomore had some moments last week, with 3 tackles, 1 for loss, better than Robinson's single tackle, and earned the start this week. They face a Campbell team that likes to run the ball, averaging 233 yards per game last season, but they struggled against the 49ers last week, gaining just 110 yards on 37 carries.

The Camels are replacing their top two rushers from 2013, but Keith Goss and DeShawn Jones combined for nearly 1000 yards and 7 TDs. Last week though, they combined for just 33 yards on 14 carries. The leading rusher against Charlotte was quarterback Dakota Wolf, who had 35 yards on 13 carries. He's started occasionally over his career, and won't back down against the Mountaineers. He's capable of racking up far more yardage, so the front seven better be on their toes.

"No more bubble screens"

Okay, maybe some, but Bryant and the receivers have to attack downfield more than they did against Michigan. And when I saw downfield, I mean further than 3 yards. Last season, the Camels gave up 263 yards passing per game, allowing 29 TDs against just 9 interceptions. Bear in mind that many opponents felt no urge to pass against them too. Against Charlotte, the Camels held up well enough, allowing just 14 completions in 31 attempts, with 189 yards and an interception.

The have a couple of decent starters in corner Brandon Mobley and free safety Aaron Nichols, but the other two starters are new. Bryant completed an outstanding 71.2% of his passes last season, with 14 TDs and 4 interceptions, but completed just 8 of 19 passes for 58 yards and a TD against the Wolverines. The receivers should find better running room against the Camels secondary.

"Three things happen when you pass, and two of them are bad!"

Is there any need to throw the ball? Marcus Cox is likely still a bit gimpy, but should be healthier, and will get a share of the carries, while Terrence Upshaw is coming off a fine performance against Michigan with 109 yards on 18 carries, and was the first Mountaineer to crack 100 yards rushing in his debut in 40 years. So how about a gameplan of feeding them the ball frequently?

The Camels gave up an average of 177 yards per game on the ground last season, but benefited from playing teams who weren't particularly effective on the ground. Last week against the 49ers, Campbell were run over to the tune of 264 yards and 4 TDs, and it wouldn't be ridiculous to expect a similar performance from ASU, who looked good running the ball against Michigan, and an offensive line that acquitted itself well should find the going a lot easier this week.