Mountaineers clash with Red Wolves, seek fourth straight win


The Appalachian Online

Cory Spiers

App State (4-5, 3-2 Sun Belt) looks to make it four wins in a row when it visits Jonesboro, Arkansas, for a matchup with Arkansas State (6-3, 4-1 Sun Belt).

The Mountaineers are confident having won three straight since starting the season 1-5. The black and gold have outscored opponents by an average score of 43-14 and out-gained the opposition by an average of 499-223 yards.

Redshirt freshman quarterback Taylor Lamb and sophomore running back Marcus Cox have been important parts of a resurgent App State offense that has scored 31 or more points in the past four games, scoring under 44 only once during that stretch.

Lamb was named Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Week after throwing for 276 yards and two touchdowns in the 31-29 win over ULM on Nov. 8.

Lamb said after that game that the offensive line kept him clean – a theme that has been consistent for the Mountaineers this season.

“The offensive line did a great job all night and I don’t think I got touched on the last drive,” Lamb said. “We love the fourth quarter more than our opponents do and it started with the big guys up front. It was fun.”

Lamb wasn’t the first conference offensive player of the week this month, however. Cox was the recipient of the same honor after a blowout 44-0 win over Georgia State in the snow in Boone on Nov. 1.

Cox just missed the century mark in App State’s last game, running for a team-high 94 yards on 21 carries while finding the endzone once.

As good as Lamb has been, Cox said he knows the running game needs to be a focus for the Mountaineers to wear opponents down.

“In practice, we are told that as the running backs go, the team goes, so we believe that the running game is the focal point of the offense,” Cox said. “If we have a good game on the ground we believe we can compete with anybody.”

The Mountaineers will have to rely on continued offensive success as well as continued strong efforts from their defense, which held ULM to 299 yards of total offense in the win.

App State and Arkansas State rank second and third, respectively, in the Sun Belt in total defense and offense.

Leading the way for the home-standing Red Wolves is junior quarterback Fredi Knighten, who leads the Sun Belt in total offense per game, averaging 290.2 yards.

However, Lamb isn’t far behind. Lamb has emerged as a leader, starting the past seven games for the Mountaineers while averaging 263.9 yards of total offense per game.

Head coach Scott Satterfield said the win over ULM showed that his team has the ability to come from behind, which was important after convincing wins over Georgia State and Troy.

“Over the past four weeks the players have gained confidence and belief in each other,” Satterfield said. “There are several building blocks to a team and that is one of them: the ability to fight back into a game.”

App State and Arkansas State are set to kickoff at 3 p.m EST in Jonesboro, Arkansas. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN3.


Story: Cory Spiers, Sports Editor