The Appalachian State Mountaineers (3-1, 0-0) will travel to face the Georgia State Panthers (1-3, 1-0) in Sun Belt Conference play Saturday afternoon. Appalachian State crushed Georgia State 44-0 on November 1, 2014 as an 11 point favorite in the most recent meeting between the two schools.
Appalachian State is coming off a 31-13 victory at home over Wyoming last week for their second straight win. Georgia Southern was upset as they fell 41-33 by FCS school Liberty at home last week. Kickoff from the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia is scheduled for 3:30 pm ET and can be seen on ESPN3. Appalachian State is currently a 15 point favorite in this contest with the over/under set at 59.5 points.
Appalachian State was outgained in the contest by 59 yards, 373-314, but still had a relatively easy time putting Wyoming away. The Mountaineers took advantage of three Wyoming turnovers, including one that was a pick six, to help make up for their struggling offense. Clearly, Appalachian State will need to get more from Taylor Lamb, who was just 3 of 12 for 65 yards with one touchdown and one pick. Still, the Mountaineers went ahead on the first play from scrimmage on a 59 yard scoring run by Marcus Cox and didn’t look back.
Appalachian State is a run first offense; they are averaging 161.2 yards a game through the air but are 11th in the nation with an average of 286 yards per game on the ground. They are scoring 34 points a game while ranking 10th in the nation by allowing 13.5 points per game. Lamb has connected on 51.3 percent of his throws for 556 yards with nine touchdowns and four picks. The run game has a quartet of backs with triple digit yards on the year: Cox (74 carries, 489 yards, 2 TD), Terrence Upshaw (38 carries, 182 yards, TD), Jalin Moore (19 carries, 143 yards, 2 TD) and Josh Boyd (19 carries, 101 yards) all can do the job when given a chance. Sixteen different players have caught a pass for the Mountaineers this season but no one has more than Shaedon Meadors’ eight grabs for 185 yards and two scores. Zach Matics has banged through all 19 extra points and his two field goal attempts of the season.
Georgia State simply couldn’t make it happen against Liberty as they were carved up on defense by a FCS program. The Panthers were outgained by 97 yards, 502-405, in the game; both teams turned it over once. Liberty was dominant in the game as they had 24 first downs to 14 for Georgia State; the Flames controlled the clock as they held the ball for 43:33 to Georgia State’s 16:27 in the game. Georgia State simply couldn’t get off the field: Liberty had scoring drives that covered 11, 18, 11, 13 and 14 plays.
The Panthers are 12th in the nation with an average of 345.8 yards per game while they average 106.8 yards on the ground. Georgia State is scoring 28 points a game but they’ve been giving up 39.2 per contest; that number puts them 117th in the nation in scoring defense. Nick Arbuckle has completed 100 of 150 pass attempts for 1,383 yards with 10 touchdowns and five interceptions. Kyler Neal is the feature back for the Panthers but he’s only picked up 171 yards and two scores on 47 carries; as a team, the Panthers average 3.5 yards per rushing attempt. Penny Hart leads the team with 24 receptions for 393 yards and four touchdowns while Robert Davis contributes 20 grabs for 298 yards and a pair of touchdowns on the year. Wil Lutz has hit all 13 extra point attempts and six of nine field goals on the year.
Appalachian State is 4-1-1 ATS in their last six overall and 4-1 ATS in their last five on the road. Georgia State is 1-4 ATS in their last five conference games, 1-4 ATS in their last five after allowing at least 40 points, 1-5 ATS in their last six on fieldturf and 0-5 ATS in their last five at home.
This one is pretty simple: when you lose to a FCS team on your own home field the week before, you’re not going to be taken seriously the next week, especially against a decent team. Appalachian State has their issues, where they need to work on throwing the ball more effectively, but they can run the ball as well as anyone in the country. The Mountaineers should win this one rather easily given their ability to move the ball on the ground. Look for them to win by at least three touchdowns.