Match up: WCU versus ASU

Anne Buie

The Matchup

Appalachian State and Western Carolina will face off for the 77th time this Saturday in the Battle for the Old Mountain Jug.

ASU and WCU have battled for the Jug 37 times, and ASU has taken it home 29 of those times.

The Catamounts’ head coach is former App assistant coach Mark Spier. Spier is in his first year at Western after spending the past nine seasons at Appalachian.

WCU lost their past seven games, although the team did pick up a win at the beginning of the season.

This seems like an easy win for the Mountaineers, but anything can happen in rivalry games.


How ASU can win

App’s offense should be able to get back on track this week after putting up only 14 points last week.

Western’s defense ranks near the bottom in the FCS in most defensive categories and is last in rush defense, giving up 333 yards a game, according to

A strong running game should open the field up for the Mountaineer’s deep receiving core and the SoCon’s leading passer, ASU quarterback Jamal Jackson.

The longer Western stays in this game, the more the Catamounts will believe they can win, so App should look to put them away early.

How WCU can win

The Catamounts will need to play a near perfect game if they want to upset the Mountaineers.

Their defense does not have the best numbers but they are lead by the SoCon’s leading active tackler, linebacker Rock Williams.

WCU quarterback Troy Mitchell is coming off of the best performance of his career Saturday against Elon, and was named the conference’s Freshman of the Week.

But WCU’s true advantage comes from Speir – he spent nine seasons coaching the Mountaineers and knows ASU’s weaknesses.

His motivation to win this game might provide the spark his team needs.

The Bottom Line

The Mountaineers have dominated this rivalry. Western hasn’t beaten App since 2004 and are riding a seven-game losing streak coming into this game.

But these numbers can be thrown out when the Old Mountain Jug and Western North Carolina’s bragging rights are on the line.

This would be quite a statement win for Speir in his first year at Western if the they were to pull off the upset.

Story: JORDAN DAVIS, Sports Reporter