The Appalachian State Mountaineers (4-1, 1-0) will be on the road in the bayou as they face the Louisiana Monroe Warhawks (1-4, 0-1) in a Sun Belt Conference matchup Saturday night. Appalachian State claimed a 31-29 victory in the most recent meeting on November 8, 2014. Louisiana Monroe covered in that game as they were a 4 point underdog.
Appalachian State won their third straight as they whipped Georgia State 37-3 last week. Louisiana Monroe dropped their third straight game as they were defeated 34-24 on the road by Tulsa. This game is expected to kickoff at 7:00 pm ET from Malone Stadium in Monroe, Louisiana and can be seen on ESPN3. Appalachian State is currently a 13 point favorite in this contest with the over/under set at 50 points.
Appalachian State put this game away pretty early as they jumped to a 17-0 lead after one quarter and kept Georgia State out of the end zone. The Mountaineers outgained the Panthers 498-225 in the contest and forced two turnovers while committing one of their own. Appalachian State had a pick six in the fourth quarter that closed the scoring and generally controlled the contest from beginning to end. The Mountaineers held the ball for 36:08 while limiting Georgia State to 23:52 and picked up 24 first downs.
The Mountaineers are 99th in the nation in passing offense (187.2 yards) and 10th in rushing offense as they roll up 270.2 yards per game on the ground. Appalachian State is scoring 35 points per game and they are extremely good when it comes to keeping opponents off the scoreboard; they are 4th in the nation in scoring defense by allowing 11.4 points per contest. Taylor Lamb has completed 57 of 100 passes for 847 yards with 12 touchdowns and five interceptions while rushing for 131 yards and a score. JP Caruso is the backup if Lamb goes down; he’s hit six of 10 passes for 89 yards and a touchdown while running for 107 yards. Marcus Cox is the main man in the ground game for the Mountaineers; he has 93 carries for 565 yards and two scores. Terrence Upshaw (38 carries, 182 yards, TD), Jalin Moore (19 carries, 142 yards, 2 TD) and Josh Boyd (31 carries, 139 yards) have done decent work in their limited efforts. Shaedon Meadors (219 yards, 3 TD) and Simms McElfresh (139 yards, 2 TD) lead the Mountaineers with 10 receptions each. Zach Matics has booted all 23 extra points and five of five field goal attempts with a long of 51 yards.
Louisiana Monroe found themselves down 20-7 at the half but rallied to take a 24-20 advantage entering the final quarter before running out of gas. The Warhawks were outgained 563-404 in the game and committed the only three turnovers in the contest, which hurt them as far as staying in the game. Two of those turnovers came in the fourth quarter and set Tulsa up with the ball on the Warhawks 29 and 33 yard line; the Golden Hurricane cashed both turnovers into touchdowns that made the difference in the game.
The Warhawks are 68th in the nation in passing offense (228.6 yards) but they are just 124th in rushing offense as they average 95.2 yards per game on the ground. Louisiana Monroe scores 29 points per game while they stand 102nd in scoring defense as they allow 32 points a night. Garrett Smith is the starter at quarterback and has hit 112 of 183 passes for 1,113 yards with nine touchdowns and four interceptions; he’s second on the team with 136 yards and two scores on the ground. Louisiana Monroe averages 3.2 yards per carry on the ground; Kaylon Watson leads the team with 39 carries for 155 yards while Ben Luckett has 20 carries for 100 yards plus a score. Ajalen Holley leads the Warhawks with 39 receptions for 480 yards and three scores while Rashon Caesar chips in 26 catches for 272 yards and two scores; Watson has 11 catches out of the backfield. Craig Ford has hit all 14 extra points and has booted three of five field goals this season.
Appalachian State is 3-0-1 ATS in their last four conference games, 4-0-1 ATS in their last five after picking up at least 450 yards of offense, 5-1 ATS in their last six road games and 5-2-1 ATS in their last eight overall. Louisiana Monroe is 2-6 ATS in their last eight after throwing for more than 280 yards, 1-4-1 ATS in their last six at home and 0-4-1 ATS in their last five in October.
The Warhawks have struggled of late as they can’t keep opponents from moving the ball and they commit turnovers at the worst possible time. Last week’s loss was a prime example as they basically handed Tulsa 14 points and the game in the final quarter by turning it over twice. Appalachian State crushed Georgia State and they have shut down opposing offenses barring their loss to Clemson. Look for the Mountaineers to cruise to a fourth straight win here.