Mountaineers, Cajuns put winning streaks on line


The Appalachian Online

Cory Spiers

Saturday’s matchup is between two of the hottest teams in the Sun Belt conference, when Appalachian State (5-5, 4-2 Sun Belt) travels south to take on Louisiana (7-3, 6-0 Sun Belt). App State is currently riding a four-game winning streak, while the Ragin’ Cajuns have ripped off six consecutive wins.

The Mountaineers offense, led by red-hot sophomore running back Marcus Cox, is second in the conference in scoring (34.8 ppg), rushing (246.2 ypg) and total offense (468.1 ypg). For a fifth-consecutive victory, App State will surely have to rely on Cox to shoulder a majority of the rushing attack.

Louisiana, however, boasts the top run defense in the conference, and will look to bottle up the Mountaineer tailbacks.

“It’s gonna be a tough one, they come in with the number one run defense in the conference,” running backs coach Chris Foster said. “They have two studs inside and also have great linebacker play. It’s a great defense and we have our work cut out for us, there’s no doubt about it. But you know what they say, to be the best you got to beat the best and that’s kind of our mentality as a team. It will be a great test for us to kind of see where we are as an offense and overall as a program.”

Cox, the reigning Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Week after scampering for 229 yards last week, has been playing well since fumbling issues plagued him earlier in the year.

“Marcus is a great back and the sign of a great back is that he gets better as the season goes on,” Foster said.” “He had some injuries early on in the season and he wasn’t at full speed. Overall, the running backs, tight ends and offensive line are doing an awesome job right now of blocking for us and those are a great group of guys up front.”

On defense, App State has certainly raised its level of play. Now, the Mountaineers are ranked first in the conference in yards allowed per game (354.6) after limiting Arkansas State to just 314 total yards.

The Ragin’ Cajuns will pose an even bigger threat.

“Sometimes coming off a big win, you maybe tend to say, ‘OK, we’re great and we don’t have to show up’,” head coach Scott Satterfield said. “We’re certainly not in that boat. We’re in a boat where we better show up. I think more so this time than any. If you don’t show up, you’re going to get beat very soundly. Louisiana-Lafayette is certainly capable of putting a pounding on somebody if you don’t show up.”

Now, instead of trying to overcome yet another excruciating loss, App State must keep the positive momentum going. Each week is a different game, and Satterfield said the focus must be on the opponent at hand, not on who you beat last week.

“I think the thing we’ve done well is forgetting about what happened the week before, especially early on in the season when we won game out of the first six,” Satterfield said. “You really can’t dwell on what you just did. You have to find ways to get better. I think we’ve done that the last half of the season as well.”

Kickoff has been bumped up to a 2 p.m. slot at Cajun Field after reports of possible thunderstorms in the area. Previously, the game was scheduled for 5 p.m.

With a win over Louisiana, the Mountaineers would be in third place behind the Ragin’ Cajuns and Georgia Southern.

Story: Nick Joyner, Senior Sports Reporter