Grounding the Eagles


The Appalachian State University football team storm the field before their 66-0 victory over the Campbell University Camels. Photo by Carson Hager | The Appalachian

Cory Spiers

The Matchup
App State opens up Sun Belt play Thursday night against a familiar foe: former SoCon rival Georgia Southern.

Georgia Southern is off to a solid start, most recently beating South Alabama on the road 28-6 for its first Sun Belt win ever.  The Eagles also defeated Savannah State 83-9, and its two losses came on the road at the hands of ACC programs – N.C. State and Georgia Tech.

Thursday’s game is Georgia Southern’s second home game of the season and is App State’s third road game this year. The Mountaineers were edged 21-20 by Southern Mississippi in its last game and have won only one game in a 66-0 thumping of Campbell in Boone.

How App State can win
The Mountaineers have a tough road test Thursday night and will have to rely heavily on their two-pronged attack at running back. Sophomore Marcus Cox and redshirt freshman Terrence Upshaw will have to hope for good blocking from their offensive line to open up running lanes.

App State has announced that redshirt freshman Taylor Lamb will start  at quarterback for the second consecutive game. Lamb made his first-career start against Southern Miss. and went 28-40 through the air for 264 yards and two touchdowns in the loss.

Lamb’s 28 completions were the most ever by an App State quarterback in his first career start and his 264 yards ranked him second in program history among quarterbacks in their first start.

Lamb will be playing in another hostile environment and will have to stay composed.

The App State defense will have to be strong up front as the Georgia Southern rushing attack is ranked second in the FBS with an average of 357 yards per game.

Georgia Southern’s sophomore running back Matt Breida has 50 carries on the season while starting sophomore quarterback Kevin Ellison has run 47 times.

Sophomore linebacker John Law and the rest of the App State linebacking corps will have to keep an eye on Ellison is they hope to slide out of Georgia with a win.

How GA Southern can win
The Eagles are playing good football and they will look to stick to what has worked so far for them – running the ball well and holding the opposing offense down.

Georgia Southern outscored Savannah State and South Alabama by a combined 111-15 in its two wins this season. Conversely, the Eagles two losses, both of which came to ACC programs, were by a combined five points.

Ellison will look to keep the Mountaineers unbalanced. He has thrown three touchdown passes and found the endzone on the ground twice this season.

App State is still searching for its first road win and Paulson Stadium is a place the Mountaineers know well.
Georgia Southern leads the series against App State 9-4 in Statesboro, so the Eagles know what it takes to win at home.

The Eagles won’t pull any punches as they look to jump out to a 2-0 start in the conference.

The bottom line
When the Eagles and Mountaineers meet, it’s always a special occasion.The Mountaineers are hungry for a road win after dropping a close one against Southern Miss., and Thursday night is a great opportunity to notch a big win.