By Jesse Wood
It’s been more than nine months since the Mountaineers played a game at Kidd Brewer Stadium, and this season is the first in 14 years that the Mountaineers open the season at home.
In just a few days the App State football team will attempt to continue one of the nation’s longest winning streaks when the squad faces Howard University on Saturday, Sept. 5. It currently has the nation’s fifth longest winning streak.
Unlike last year, winning will lead to an FBS bowl bid during the holiday season. After having completed its mandated FCS-to-FBS, two-year transition period, the Mountaineers are expected to be one of four Sun Belt Conference teams to compete for a bowl win.
While the Sun Belt Conference coaches picked App State to finish fourth, two of the nation’s most respected sporting news sources – Sporting News and ESPN – predict that the Mountaineers is the best team in the conference.
When the team started 1-5 last year in its first season in the Sun Belt Conference, the haters were out in full force, chiming in that the Mountaineers should have stayed in the Southern Conference where it was a perennial powerhouse in FCS football.
But by the end of the season, the Mountaineers hushed its detractors, rattling off six straight victories, including wins against its old SoCon foe, Georgia Southern, and Arkansas State, one of the best teams in the Sun Belt Conference.
Among the group of five conferences, the Mountaineers rank sixth in ESPN’s preseason Football Power Index. It ranks 53rd nationally when you include the power conferences – SEC, ACC, PAC-12, Big 10, Big 12 in the same index, which tanks into account prior year’s offense, defense and special teams efficiencies; returning starters and head coach information; and recruiting rankings.
The Mountaineers return 20 offensive and defensive starters, including starting quarterback Taylor Lamb, who was the Sun Belt Conference’s “Freshman of the Year” last year.
Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. at Kidd Brewer Stadium.
Tickets are still available and can be purchased online at appstatesports.com/tickets, by phone at (828) 262-2079 or in person at the Appalachian State athletics ticket office, located at the Holmes Center.
During the game, The 2015 Appalachian Athletics Hall of Fame class, which includes legendary coach Jerry Moore, football stars Armanti Edwards, Chip Hooks and Daniel Wilcox and cross country/track and field standout Leigh Cooper Wallace, will be recognized.
See game notes here: 2015 App State FB game notes (howard)