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The Appalachian

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The Appalachian

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Last season’s success should inspire high hopes for football

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The Appalachian Online

It didn’t result in another national championship, but last season’s App State football season should give fans hope.

With spring practices ongoing, it’s never too early to start thinking about next season.

Two seasons ago, App State finished 4-8 and exited the Southern Conference on an extremely sour note.

The campaign started even worse, as the Mountaineers started out 1-6 with home losses to NC A&T, Charleston Southern and Samford.

With seven SoCon championships since 2005, App State isn’t used to hanging around the bottom of conference standings.

Surely a team that struggled to compete at an FCS level would get obliterated at the FBS level – college football’s highest division, right?

Wrong.

Although last season began eerily similar with one win in App State’s first six games, the Mountaineers rebounded with six consecutive wins to close out the 2014 season.

Despite the massive increase in competition, App State recorded three more wins playing FBS schools as a member of the Sun Belt Conference, than they did a year before playing FCS schools in the SoCon.

Being able to make the leap from the FCS level to the FBS level is no small task. Just two seasons ago, App State was losing to teams such as Furman and The Citadel.

Fast forward to 2014, and this App State team is not only competing at a higher level – they are beating higher level teams.

The Mountaineers traveled to Arkansas State and Louisiana in consecutive weeks and came away with two convincing road victories.

Arkansas State played – and lost to Toledo 63-44 – in a bowl game and Louisiana went undefeated in Sun Belt play outside of the loss to App State.

That same Ragin’ Cajuns team also nearly rattled off nine consecutive victories and nearly won the Sun Belt Championship, but the Mountaineers put a stop to both of those feats during a 35-16 road victory.

The Ragin’ Cajuns went on to defeat Nevada in the New Orleans Bowl, 16-3.

The point of all of this is that despite the disappointing 2013 season, what App State accomplished down the stretch during Sun Belt play last season was remarkable.

Instead of stepping back and saying “Hey, maybe the FBS level is a bit over our heads,” App State turned things around and looked like a force to be reckoned with.

The future is bright for Mountaineer football, so even if you haven’t jumped on the bandwagon yet, the 2015 season doesn’t officially begin until Sept. 5 at Kidd Brewer Stadium.

Column: Nick Joyner, Senior Sports Reporter 

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