1000 x 90

Mountaineers Travel to Georgia State for Sun Belt Conference Opener This Saturday

Appalachian State will be aiming for its fourth win of the season on Saturday afternoon as they travel to Atlanta to take on the Georgia State Panthers.

The Mountaineers (3-1) are coming off of a little extra rest after beating Marshall 31-30 last Thursday in Boone. Georgia State (1-3) nearly pulled off a big upset over the Auburn Tigers last Saturday, however, the Tigers were able to rally from being down 24-12 at the half to win 34-24 with a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns. This will be the first Sun Belt Conference game of the season for each school. The Mountaineers have never lost to Georgia State, currently holding a 7-0 overall record against the Panthers. 

App State now appears to have a two-headed monster at running back after Nate Noel’s terrific performance last week against Marshall. The sophomore ran for 187 yards and is now the team’s leading rusher on the season with 437 yards. Camerun Peoples has 353 rushing yards but leads the team with eight touchdowns on the ground. 

Chase Brice surpassed the 1,000-yard passing mark last week in the win over Marshall. He now has 1,034 passing yards, five touchdowns and three interceptions. He has completed 67.2% of his passes. 

Corey Sutton leads the Mountaineers in receiving with 28 catches for 367 yards and two touchdowns. Thomas Hennigan has caught 19 passes for 283 yards and a touchdown and Malik Williams has 14 catches for 211 yards and two touchdowns. 

Georgia State is coached by former Mountaineer player and assistant Shawn Elliott. Elliott graduated from Appalachian State in 1997 and was on Jerry Moore’s coaching staff from 1997 through 2009. He started out as a defensive assistant for his first two seasons in 1997 and 1998 and then as the tight ends coach in 1999 and 2000. After that, Elliott became a key part of the coaching staff as the offensive line coach from 2001 through 2009 and was always on the sidelines in pre-game firing up his players. Elliott then accepted the offensive line coaching position at the University of South Carolina in 2010. He also served as interim head coach at South Carolina in 2015 after Steve Spurrier resigned mid-season. Elliott coached the Gamecocks’ offensive line for one more year in 2016 before accepting the head coaching position at Georgia State. So far he is 23-28 overall and 14-18 in the SBC with two bowl wins as Georgia State’s head coach. 

The Panthers’ offense is very run-heavy and will most likely feature two quarterbacks seeing the field at some point Saturday. QB Darren Grainger has been a dual-threat weapon with 278 passing yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions to go along with 169 rushing yards, good enough for second-best on the team. The other quarterback is Cornelious Brown IV, who has 197 passing yards and a pair of interceptions. Brown has 46 pass attempts on the season while Grainger has 40. 

Running back Tucker Gregg leads GSU with 257 yards on 41 carries and a touchdown. Destin Coates has added 36 carries for 162 yards and a touchdown and Jamyest Williams has 23 carries for 131 yards and a touchdown. 

When the Panthers go to the air attack, Jamari Thrash has been the big-play target all season long. He has 14 catches for 194 yards and two touchdowns. Ja’Cyais Credle is second on the team with 74 yards and a touchdown on five receptions and tight end Roger Carter has seven catches for 73 yards and a touchdown. 

Kickoff from Center Parc Credit Union Stadium will be at 2 p.m. The game will be aired live on ESPN+ with Matt Stewart handling the play-by-play duties and Sam Crenshaw serving in the analyst role. The game can also be heard live on the Appalachian Sports Network with Adam Witten (play-by-play), Noah Hannon (analyst) and Molly Cotten (sideline) on the call.