Appalachian State Mountaineers at Georgia Southern Eagles Preview


The Appalachian State Mountaineers are back on the road this week, still in search of that first win over an FBS opponent. They came nose-scratchingly close at Southern Miss, needing only an extra point and overtime, but were denied when the Eagles blocked the kick. Now they are headed to more familiar territory, as former FCS power Georgia Southern waits for them. Georgia Southern has shown a powerful running game over the early part of the season, with an upset victory over Sun Belt dark horse South Alabama.

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Date: September 25

Time: 7:30 PM


Venue: Allen E. Paulson Stadium (Statesboro, GA)

Last Time: 2013, Mountaineers 38 Eagles 14

Georgia Southern struck first, but it was Appalachian State who rolled with the next five scores of the game. Kameron Bryant scored two rushing touchdowns and two passing touchdowns as the Mountaineers ran away from the Eagles. In an up and down year, it was a game of surprising dominance. The rivalry lives though, it just now lives in the Sun Belt Conference.

Sep 13, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Georgia Southern Eagles quarterback Kevin Ellison (4) reacts after scoring a touchdown against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets during the second half at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Georgia Tech defeated Georgia Southern 42-38. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Opponent: Georgia Southern Eagles

Familiarity, as they say, breeds contempt. The Eagles and the Mountaineers have had the distinct pleasure of both being good and in the Southern Conference where they played each other constantly. These are the old familiar faces that you would like to see. Or would you?

Georgia Southern still favors that high powered running game based on the principles of the triple option, at least until head coach Willie Fritz develops his own identity. The Eagles have three players with more than forty carries this year. They are running backs Matt Breida, Alfred Ramsby, and quarterback Kevin Ellison. While Breida is the true work horse of the bunch (445 yds 7 TD), Ellison has mixed it up enough to throw for three touchdowns. There are a number of players that have a handful of touches to add around those three.

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  • The offensive line is almost all juniors and seniors, bringing good needed experience to the option.
    Playing an option team requires a team to hold the initiative. You cannot trail an option team for long, because their goal is to grind the clock on you. This will put pressure on the Appalachian State offense to find scores of their own, if the defense cannot provide stops. App played well against this system last year, but that was at home.

    There is lots of experience in the 4-2-5 set that Georgia Southern runs on defense. The notable weakness would be the lack of pass rushers. App quarterbacks should have some time to pick what they want to do. There also should be openings to run the ball given the personnel that occupy the line in a normal 4-2-5 set.

    Prediction: Eagles 31, Mountaineers 20
    ONJ Season Record: 14-2

    The Eagles have done a lot of improving since last year, when they beat Florida. They have looked good even in their losses to NC State and Georgia Tech. Since this is a rivalry game, do not underestimate the revenge factor. GSU knows App beat them last year, and they definitely want to make the bigger splash in the Sun Belt Conference this season.