App State heading back to Camellia Bowl


App State will face Toledo in the Camellia Bowl on December 17 Photo By: Dallas Linger

Jason Huber

Almost a year after winning in a thrilling 31-29 comeback over Ohio University in the Raycom Camellia Bowl, the Appalachian State Mountaineers will be making a return trip to play Toledo (9-3, 6-2 MAC) on December 17 at 5:30 E.T on ESPN in Montgomery, Alabama where they picked up their first ever bowl victory last season.

Clinching their first ever Sun Belt Conference championship last week, the Mountaineers finished the season with a 7-1-conference record and 9-3 overall record. Arkansas State finished 7-1 in the conference to have a share of the conference championship.

“I am happy for our players and coaches to win a conference championship and it shows our consistency over the last two years,” head coach Scott Satterfield said. “We have won 20 games over the last two years and are 20-2 in our last 22 Sun Belt games and hopefully this gives us confidence heading into bowl season.”

With their only losses coming to then No.9 Tennessee in an overtime battle, No.25 Miami and conference rival Troy who fell in their last two games after being in the Sun Belt champions driver seat, the Mountaineers finished first in the Sun Belt in total defense, rushing offense, and interceptions. They finished in the top two-in 18-team statistical categories.

Only being in the FBS level for three years and in their second bowl eligible season, the Mountaineers have showed they are here to stay clinching two straight bowl games and a Sun Belt championship.

“It’s exciting for our program and fans to continue to go bowling and going to back to the Camellia Bowl,” Satterfield said. “We had a great experience last year and it was new to everyone and they treated us great last year.”

Satterfield is pretty familiar with Toledo himself, being the co-offensive passing coordinator and 2009 and was on the same staff with Toledo current head coach Jason Candle.

“It is a different opponent, but a team in Toledo I am very familiar with and I am pretty knowledgeable about their program,” Satterfield said. “The have a whole new team as far as players but I am looking forward to getting on them and it should be a great game.”

Toledo’s running back Kareem Hunt has 4,825 career yards and will join App running back Cox (4,960 yards) in the chase to 5,000 career-rushing yards.

Having a very fast offense and solid team, Satterfield had a lot of praise about Toledo’s program.

“They are a tempo offense and like to throw the football but can run it as well,” Satterfield said. “They are averaging a lot yards per game, they spread you out, go fast and defensively they have been solid and will show you different looks and bring pressure. They are used to winning. They are a lot like our program with the edge they have.”

The Rockets are making their 16th all-time bowl appearance have posted a 10-5 all-time record. They making their third straight bowl appearance and most recently beat #24 Temple in the Marmot Boca Raton Bowl 32-17.

Six Sun Belt teams are heading to Bowl Games this season, shattering the Sun Belt all-time record of four teams set in 2012.

University of Louisiana Lafayette will head to the R&L Carrier New Orleans Bowl, Troy will play in the Dollar General Bowl, Arkansas State will play in the AutoNation Cure Bowl, South Alabama will head to the Home Loans Arizona Bowl and the Idaho Vandals will play in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.

Despite the conference champion usually getting a bid to the New Orleans Bowl, with so many Sun Belt teams being bowl eligible, bowl commissioners selected teams based on geography and best attendance opportunities.

“We thought we had a good shot to go to New Orleans had Lafayette not won, and bowls like to have champions,” athletic director Doug Gillin said. “It continues to be interesting to us and knowing it’s not necessarily what record or champion, but it is also about tickets sales, proximity and the matchup.”

Led by sophomore running back Jalin Moore who led the team with and conference with 1,367 rushing yards, junior quarterback Taylor Lamb with 14 passing touchdowns and senior running back Marcus Cox who missed five games but finished with 872 yards and became the App State all-time leading rusher, the Mountaineers offense began to click in the second half of the season after struggling in the first couple of games.

On defense, the Mountaineers finished tied for second in the nation with 20 interceptions led by freshman Clifton Duck, who had five, linebacker Eric Boggs, who had 92 tackles and three interceptions, cornerback Mondo Williams, who had four picks and senior linebacker John Law.

Also playing a big part in the “Legion of Boone” (LOB), were juniors A.J Howard and Devan Stringer, and seniors Kennan Gilchrist, Dezmin Reed and Tee Sims. The Mountaineers only allowed 94 total points in conference, the least amount ever by a Sun Belt team through an eight game conference schedule.

The Mountaineers will look to pick up their second bowl win in school history in only their second year of eligibility.

Story By: Jason Huber, Sports Editor