Preview 2017: Appalachian State Mountaineers

Preview 2017: Appalachian State Mountaineers

Appalachian State

Preview 2017: Appalachian State Mountaineers


Preview 2017: Appalachian State Mountaineers

Previewing and looking ahead at the Appalachian State season – and what you need to know.

Contact @PeteFiutak

2017 Appalachian State Preview: Ready For Expansion?
– 2017 Appalachian State Schedule Analysis
 Appalachian State Previews: 2016 | 2015

What You Need To Know About The Appalachian State Offense

The Mountaineer attack dominated on the ground, was efficient and effective throughout the air, and it scored with just enough consistency to go along with the overall gameplan working with the tremendous defense. And now it should all happen again.

Taylor Lamb is about to be a four-year starting quarterback who does a little of everything right. He throws a slew of picks, but he’s a good runner and tough enough to do a nice job with a revamped receiving corps. Shaedon Meadows is an all-star target to work around, but the O needs other options.

The bread is buttered, though, with a devastating ground game. Three starters are back on a good line that paved the way for a rushing attack that averaged 5.6 yards per carry. Jalin Moore might be the best back in the Sun Belt, Lamb will add around 500 yards on the ground, and there are plenty of dangerous young players to rotate in.

Biggest Key To The Appalachian State Offense

Run for 200 yards, and all will be fine. ASU has been among the best rushing teams in college football in the three years since it moved up into the FBS world, but it took a little while for the wins to come. Even when it went 1-5 to start the 2014 season, the running game still rocked.

Since then, the team is 23-1 – the lone loss to Clemson in 2015 – when the ground attack tore off 200 yards or more, and is 4-4 when it doesn’t. The Mountaineers dominate the time of possession, the defense is phenomenal at coming up with third down stops, and the team is great at controlling games. It all comes from the running game.

What You Need To Know About The Appalachian State Defense

There was the hiccup early in the 45-10 loss to Miami, and here were problems against an anemic Akron team in a 45-38 win, but other than that, the defense was a rock all season long, finishing ninth in the nation in scoring and 17th overall.

Five key starters are gone – including linebackers John Law on the inside and Kennan Gilchrist on the outside – but the D should still be among the Sun Belt’s best. DE Antonious Sims and NT Myquon Stout form an excellent pair to work around the front of the 3-4, while Eric Boggs returns as one of the league’s top all-around linebackers.

The secondary could use some reworking, but all-star CB Clifton Duck is a strong playmaker to build around. As long as the linebacker depth is solid early on, the defense will be more than fine.

Biggest Key To The Appalachian State Defense

Can the D force and recover a fumble? One. That’s it. Appalachian State recovered a fumble against Tennessee in the opener – but not the one it could’ve had to pull off the upset – and that was it when it came to fumbles recovered by the Mountaineer D. Oddly enough, ASU still finished a +8 in turnover margin thanks to 20 interceptions – but again, there was just one fumble recovery, and none over the final 12 games.

Appalachian State Will Be Far Better If …

The offense can hit a third down conversion. It doesn’t really make any sense. The running game set up plenty of easy third down chances, Taylor Lamb was a heady veteran quarterback who can run, and the offense was generally efficient and effective. But the Mountaineers still finished up converting just 34% of their third down tries.
The O got better late in the season, but converting just 5-of-26 chances in the losses to Tennessee and Miami and was 1-of-12 in the win over Georgia Southern. By comparison, ASU converted 43% of its chances in 2015 and 49% in 2014.

Best Appalachian State Offensive Player

RB Jalin Moore, Jr. – Marcus Cox might have been the steady veteran star running back over the rise of Appalachian State in the FBS world, but Moore led the team in rushing last season. Cox ran for 1,015 yards, but Moore slipped and slid his way to 1,402 yards and ten scores – averaging six yards per pop – with 257 yards against Akron and eight 100-yard performances in the last nine regular season games. The 5-11, 205-pounder has a little power, great speed, and now he’ll be used more as a workhorse with Cox gone.

2. OG Colby Gossett, Sr.
3. QB Taylor Lamb, Sr.
4. WR Shaedon Meadows, Sr.
5. OT Victor Johnson, Soph.

Best Appalachian State Defensive Player

CB Clifton Duck, Soph. – Tested throughout the year as a freshman, he came through in a big way with 57 tackles and five picks, taking one for a 44-yard score in the win over Idaho. While he’s not all that big, the 5-10, 175-pounder roared in his first season on his way to First Team All-Sun Belt honors. Eric Boggs might be the star of the defense, but Duck should be the biggest playmaker when the ball is in the air.

2. LB Eric Boggs, Sr.
3. DE Antonius Sims, Sr.
4. SS A.J. Howard, Sr.
5. NT Myquon Stout, Jr.

Key Player To A Successful Season

QB Taylor Lamb, Sr. – How nice is it to have a fourth-year starting quarterback on a great team with a relatively easy schedule? The Mountaineers could use some linebacker help, they need steady punting, and replacing C Parker Collins won’t be easy, but as long as Lamb is in one piece, the team should be fine. You know what you’re getting – 60% passing, about 500 rushing yards, and five or more rushing scores – because he’s done the same thing for the last three years. However, the passing game could use a little more pop after averaging just 179 yards per game.

The Appalachian State Season Will Be A Success If …

There’s a Sun Belt championship and a ten-win season. There’s absolutely no reason to shoot for anything less than something special. The opener at Georgia will be a problems and beating Wake Forest – even at home – is hardly a given, but the Mountaineers will be better than everyone else on their schedule. There’s no Arkansas State or Troy in Sun Belt play – they’re the two other stars in the league this year – and the road games aren’t that bad.

Key Game To The Appalachian State Season

Oct. 14 at Idaho. The Mountaineers should be favored in every game in the Sun Belt season, but the road date at Idaho is the one dangerous road game to worry about. Beat the Vandals, and with Coastal Carolina, UMass, ULM and a home date against Georgia Southern, it should be smooth sailing until the final two battles against Georgia State on the road and Louisiana at home.

2016 Appalachian State Fun Stats

Fumbles: Appalachian State 17 (lost 5) – Opponents 6 (lost 1)
2nd Quarter Scoring: Appalachian State 116 – Opponents 51
4th Down Conversion: Appalachian State 16-of-29 (55%) – Opponents 5-of-23 (22%)

– 2017 Appalachian State Preview: Ready For Expansion?
– 2017 Appalachian State Schedule Analysis
 Appalachian State Previews: 2016 | 2015

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