Tripping the Trojans

Cory Spiers

Leave the past in the past
App State was tripped up in overtime by Liberty on Homecoming Weekend, losing 55-48 Saturday.

The Mountaineers need to develop a true sense of tunnel vision to avoid a fifth-straight loss.

The young App State team put itself in a position to drop Liberty late in the game.

Close doesn’t count in football, but head coach Scott Satterfield needs to preach to his team that the rest of the season should be approached one week at a time.

This week, the Mountaineers hit the road. However, they face a Troy team that lost five straight before notching its first win last week over New Mexico State.

The climb back up starts now, and last week doesn’t matter.

Lamb learning on the job
Redshirt freshman Taylor Lamb looked comfortable against Liberty.

Comfortable enough, even, to pass for 397 yards – the eighth-highest total in program history and the most since Armanti Edwards threw for 415 yards in a game at Wofford in 2009.

However, a stark reminder that Lamb is still learning to put it all together came on App State’s first drive of overtime, when the game ended after Lamb lobbed a pass into the back of the endzone that was intercepted by a Liberty defender.

The tools are all there for Lamb, who despite looking very comfortable in the first starts of his career, is yet to lead the team to a win.

However, he needs a strong supporting cast to help lift him when mistakes happen.

Defensive focus
Troy has been somewhat of a mixed bag offensively this season.

The Trojans put up only 10 points against UAB in week one, was blanked by Georgia in week four and then blasted New Mexico State with 41 points in a win last week.

App State’s defense had a rough time against the Flames and that can’t be the case against Troy.

Troy averages 20.5 points per game, and that might be a good number to keep in mind.

App State averages 30.5 PPG. If the Mountaineers can hold the Trojans to around 20 points, it’s not unrealistic to expect the offense to be able to vault the Mountaineers over Troy.

Cox, Upshaw
App State’s running attack is a key to their success offensively, and that showed against Liberty.

For the first time on the year, sophomore running back Marcus Cox and redshirt freshman running back Terrence Upshaw were the two-headed attack we have expected and hoped to see.

Cox started the game off with a bang, running in a touchdown from 38 yards out.

Cox finished with 111 yards on 17 carries and a touchdown while Upshaw compiled 102 yards on 14 carries and added a touchdown of his own.

That offensive balance is key for App State. If Troy respects the rushing attack, the playbook opens up for Lamb.

Meet a conference rival
On paper, Saturday’s matchup looks bland: a battle of two one-win conference rivals slugging it out in midseason.

Throw the records out of the window in conference games.

App State and Troy are meeting for the first time as conference rivals and that could mean some bad blood on the way to making a first impression.

The leadership of the team should manifest itself in the on-field product Saturday. It would be very easy to phone it in as a one-win team on the road at this point in the season.

Will that really be the case?

Story: Cory Spiers, Sports Editor