Toledo

Camellia Bowl: Appalachian State 31, Toledo 28: 5 Things That Matter, What's Next?

Raycom Media Camellia Bowl: Appalachian State 31, Toledo 28: 5 Things That Matter, What’s Next For 2017?


Appalachian State came up with a thrilling 31-28 win over Toledo to take the Raycom Camellia Bowl. What are the five things that matter? What’s next for both teams?


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Taylor Lamb might have struggled a bit with the passing game …

But he made the Appalachian State offense go. When the team desperately needed a big play, he took off. When it needed a key throw, he seemed to make it. He only completed 14-of-32 passes for 119 yards and a score, but he took off for 126 yards and a score on nine carries. It was a baller of a performance.

Jalin Moore was held in check with just 35 yards, but Marcus Cox had a very smart, very patient performance, cranking out 143 yards and a score on a workhorse 22 carries.

Toledo’s offense was held in relative check, but …

Kareem Hunt did his part. The Toledo star back ran for 120 yards and two scores, and Logan Woodside had a sharp game, throwing for 247 yards and two touchdowns, but the Rockets couldn’t ever get into a groove against the ASU defensive front. The Mountaineers controlled the time of possession – keeping it for 35:44 – but when the Rockets had to roll late, they marched right down the field to set up a game-tying field goal attempt. Jameson Vest missed and Toledo lost, but it shouldn’t have come down to that.

Appalachian State has figured it out.

The Mountaineers were an FCS powerhouse, but struggled before making the jump up to the FBS world, Since arriving, they started out an ugly 1-5, with the only win over Campbell and a loss to Liberty. But the offense perked up, the defense clamped down, and since then, ASU has gone 27-5 with two bowl wins.

Head coach Scott Satterfield has created a Sun Belt powerhouse with a great formula, and now the amazing resume. Toledo was the third-best team in the MAC this year and came close to pulling off a thriller over BYU, and ASU got the victory by outgaining one of the nation’s most dangerous offenses 416 to 374.

What’s next for Appalachian State in 2017?

This was the year everything was building towards for Appalachian State, but next year’s team might be even better.

QB Taylor Lamb only seems like he’s been around for forever, but he’ll be the steady leader again for an offense that loses RB Marcus Cox, but gets back Jalin Moore. C Parker Collins will be missed, but three starters are back up front, and the receiving corps should be good enough to help Lamb look great – and vice versa.

The linebacking tandem of Eric Boggs and Devan Stringer might be the best in the Sun Belt, but losing John Law and Kennan Gilchrist is a problem. The secondary needs some tweaking, and the depth is lacking on the defensive front, but the Mountaineers will be right there in the hunt for the Sun Belt title again.

What’s next for Toledo in 2017?

Jason Candle is still the head coach and wasn’t a part of the coaching carousel.

The school’s all-time leading rusher is gone, but Terry Swanson should be able to fill in for Kareem Hunt and keep the production going if the line returns strong. The Rockets lose three starters up front, led by star left tackle Storm Norton. The passing game will still be special, with Logan Woodside about to be the MAC’s really big deal quarterback, and with bowl star Cody Thompson back leading a strong receiving corps.

Safeties DeJuan Rogers and Connery Swift will be missed, and anchor DT Trevon Hester is done, but seven starters are back for a defense that just has to hold serve so the O can do its thing.