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Mountaineers to Face Former SoCon Rival Elon in Sold Out Home Opener This Saturday

By Nathan Ham

Appalachian State will look to bounce back from a close loss at Miami last weekend with the team’s first home game of the 2021 season this Saturday against the Elon Phoenix. 

The Mountaineers (1-1) are coming off of a 25-23 loss at Miami last week. Elon (1-1) has played two nailbiters, first a 24-22 loss at home to Wofford and then a 24-23 win at Campbell last week. 

Against Miami, Mountaineer QB Chase Brice completed 21-of-34 passes for 199 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Camerun Peoples carried the ball 17 times for 95 yards and a score while Nate Noel added 51 yards on 16 carries. Through the air, Corey Sutton was App State’s leading receiver with seven receptions for 60 yards. Malik Williams, who was held to just one catch in the season opener against East Carolina, reeled in five passes for 57 yards and a touchdown, and Thomas Hennigan had three catches for 28 yards. Jalen Virgil was held to just one catch, but had one of the biggest plays of the game with a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. 

Elon is led by senior quarterback Davis Cheek. Through two games this season, Cheek has completed 51-of-88 passes for 581 yards, four touchdowns and one interception. Jackson Parham leads the team with 168 yards on 11 catches with one touchdown. Chandler Brayboy has 12 catches for 150 yards and two scores and Kortez Weeks has 10 receptions for 121 yards and a touchdown. 

On the ground, the Phoenix will be led by Jaylan Thomas. He has carried the ball 32 times for 111 yards. McKinley Witherspoon has added 20 carries for 69 yards and a touchdown so far this season. 

Appalachian State has dominated the all-time series between these two former Southern Conference foes. The Mountaineers have won 32 of the 42 games played between the team including the current streak of 18 in a row. The two teams haven’t played since 2013 when App State beat Elon 31-21. 

The Mountaineers are currently riding a seven-game winning streak in home openers. 

This game will also mark the first game in 651 days at Kidd Brewer Stadium where there will not be any crowd restrictions due to COVID-19. Tickets for the game sold out to the general public on Thursday. The App State Athletics Hall of Fame induction breakfast will begin at 9 a.m. and then at 1 p.m. will be the unveiling of the Jerry Moore Plaza, which includes a statue of Hall of Fame coach Jerry Moore. He led App State to three straight FCS national championships and 10 Southern Conference titles while winning 215 games from 1989-2012.

As a reminder, face coverings are not required outside, howeer face coverings are required at indoor areas in the stadium such as bathrooms, Ricks Athletics Center and the North End Zone facility. Hand sanitizer stations will be available throughout the stadium. 

Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. If you can’t make it out to the game Saturday afternoon, the game will be streamed live on ESPN+ with former voice of the Mountaineers David Jackson handling play-by-play calls along with Avery Hall in the analyst role.