Rapid Reaction: App State vs. Savannah State


Ian Taylor

The App State Mountaineers football team (1-1) faced off against the Savannah State Tigers (0-1) in their first home game of the season. Appalachian looked to bounce back from a crushing season opener against Georgia, with the hopes of a good game being a kick-starter for a season they hope will end in a bowl game.

The Mountaineers got the kick-starter they wanted, as their high-powered offense seemed to be able to do whatever they wanted to their FCS opponents. The starters only played the first half, where they outscored the Tigers 45-0. Leading the way was senior quarterback Taylor Lamb, whose career day was the highlight of the dominant performance.

The Good:

The defensive starters were lights-out, pitching a shutout in the first half. The Tigers only had 65 total offensive yards and two first downs in the first half. That’s as close to a perfect half as you’re going to see in a college football game.

Taylor Lamb played like a man possessed today, posting 327 yards on 12-of-15 passing. That was in the first half alone. Putting up good numbers on an FCS opponent is not doing Lamb too many favors, but it does help make up for a 47.9 QBR against Georgia.

Tight end Collin Reed made a strong run at the player of the game award, hauling in three receptions for 106 yards and two touchdowns. Reed is only a sophomore, and should be expected to see more playing time after a big game like this. An athletic tight end who can box out anyone smaller than him is a mismatch nightmare, and can be a valuable weapon down the stretch.

Appalachian showed a killer instinct today that has sometimes been lost in the Taylor Lamb-era. Lamb has a history of dink-and-dunk passing which was thrown by the wayside today. Lamb aired it out on every drive, and his long shots translated into a couple of long touchdowns.

After being run over by Georgia’s rushing attack to the tune of 221 yards allowed, the Mountaineers’ defense bounced back in a big way today. The starters allowed 44 yards on the ground in the first half, and the rest of the team allowed a paltry 33 yards in the second.

Defensive Line focused for the upcoming play at Kidd Brewer Stadium on September 9th against Savannah State. The final score was 54-7 Appalachian State

Savannah State’s ground game wasn’t spearheaded by a Heisman candidate, but it is some momentum the team can carry with it as it heads into conference play.

A note on the new visuals at Kidd Brewer Stadium: the new video board is big, bright and beautiful and the ribbons are a wonderful addition.

The Bad:

The defense lacked big plays throughout the day. The defense as a whole had three sacks and no interceptions. The Mountaineers’ offense coughed up two turnovers, and a negative turnover ration in any game is unacceptable.

The second half was all backups and it was a good chance to look ahead at the future of Appalachian State football. The second stringers put on an okay showing against the Tigers, which itself was not okay. There was a massive drop in the quality, with the backups playing on-par with Savannah State. To go into the half with a score of 45-0 and to then score only nine points and lose the shutout isn’t stellar. The offensive line looked shaky at best, and redshirt freshman QB Zac Thomas appeared to have little to no confidence despite the team having such a big lead.

Special Teams pressuring Savannah State’s returning team at Kidd Brewer Stadium

Three Points:

  1. Taylor Lamb has shown flashes of greatness a few times in his career as a Mountaineer, the problem is they were just flashes. If the Lamb that showed up today is the Lamb we get for the rest of the season, the Mountaineers could have one of the most electric offenses in college.
  2. Lamb spread the ball around well today, but at some point one player is going to have to step up as the alpha so long as Shaedon Meadors is out. Nine players caught passes, with no one catching more than three. Collin Reed was able to put 106 yards on the board, but the second most receiving yards by a Mountaineer was Jalen Virgil’s 58.
  3. Savannah State isn’t a pushover, but they are still an FCS team. So far this season, the Mountaineers have played a top-25 team and a team from a lower division. The first was a soul-crusher and the second was a blowout of epic proportions. What will the middle ground look like?

What’s Next?

The Mountaineers now sit at 1-1 and will next go on the road to play their first conference foe Texas State, who also sit at 1-1 after a blowout loss to Colorado. Appalachian played the Bobcats last year and won 35-10. Expect the Mountaineers to stick with the hot-handed passing game against a team that gave up 330 passing yards in their last game.

Story By: Ian Taylor, Sports Reporter

Photos By: Lindsay Vaughn, Senior Staff Photographer