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The good, bad and ugly from App State vs. Georgia State

Defensive+coordinator+Scot+Sloan+speaks+to+his+players+during+a+timeout+against+Marshall+Nov.+4.+Over+the+last+two+games%2C+the+Mountaineers+have+only+allowed+23+total+points.
Evan Bates
Defensive coordinator Scot Sloan speaks to his players during a timeout against Marshall Nov. 4. Over the last two games, the Mountaineers have only allowed 23 total points.

In a must-win game for the Mountaineers to stay in the race for the Sun Belt Championship, they left their mark Saturday against the Panthers in a 42-14 victory. The dominant effort was led by complementary football, but the Black and Gold face a more challenging test ahead. 

The Good

App State put together another complete game and have won three in a row. This comes at the right time, as the season is coming to a close and the team is playing their best football. 

Three weeks ago, the Sun Belt Championship was an afterthought as the Mountaineers were 4-4. Now, there’s a clear path to clinch a spot in the championship game. 

The offense has continued to put up big numbers as they’re led by junior quarterback Joey Aguilar, who had a three-touchdown performance against the Panthers. With Aguilar continuing his superb play, the addition of a healthy junior running back Nate Noel adds another explosive element to this offense.

The defensive side has grown tremendously these past two games, allowing 23 total points since giving up 38 points to Southern Miss Oct. 28. Additionally, the Mountaineer defense is forcing turnovers, an element that wasn’t seen earlier in the year, as they’ve forced five turnovers in the last two games. 

Overall, the growth of this young App State team has been exponential as they’ve come together late in the season.

The Bad

While the Mountaineers have gotten hot to end the year, they face their toughest matchup as they’ll travel to Harrisonburg, Virginia to play against undefeated No. 18 James Madison. 

The Dukes have caught the nation’s attention throughout their 10-0 season and will be rewarded with hosting College GameDay before their matchup against App State. While all eyes will be on JMU, the Mountaineers will have an opportunity to play the underdog and shock the Dukes. 

This will be App State’s second appearance on GameDay in two years, but this time as the visiting team hoping to play spoiler.

James Madison will be a mountain to climb as they rank 37th in points scored per game with 34.4 and 34th in points allowed per game with 18.2. This very well-rounded team has yet to show a weakness in their undefeated season. 

The Ugly

One weak point in the Black and Gold’s dominant effort over the Panthers Saturday was the lack of ball control from Aguilar on multiple occasions. 

Aguilar fumbled the ball three times with the rainy elements playing factor, but failed to recover one of those fumbles. 

Most of these fumbles came from botched exchanges between Aguilar and his running back, whether on a handoff or a play-action fake. Cleaning up these mistakes will be critical as the Mountaineers will need to win the turnover battle in each game to potentially finish the season with an 8-4 record.

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About the Contributors
Chance Chamberlain
Chance Chamberlain, Associate Sports Editor
Chance Chamberlain (he/him) is a senior journalism major, media studies minor. This is his second year writing for The Appalachian.
Evan Bates
Evan Bates, Photojournalist
Evan Bates (he/him) is a junior commercial photography major from Durham, NC. This is his second year with The Appalachian.
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