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ASU Faces Eagles at Rock Saturday, Must Protect Ball, Force Turnovers v. High-Powered Offense, Solid Defense


By Jesse Wood

Oct. 25, 2013. If the Appalachian State Mountaineers (1-6) shoot themselves in the foot against Georgia Southern (4-2) this Saturday as gruesomely has it did against Furman, the score will likely to be more lopsided than the 10-27 loss last week, where the Mountaineers turned the ball over five times while amassing nearly 500 yards of offense against the Furman defense.

The Eagles are ranked No. 24 among FCS teams in the nation by The Sports Network. Running a successful triple-option offense, Georgia Southern leads the SoCon in scoring at 40.2 ppg; total offense at 491.7 ypg; and passing efficiency with a 170.6 rating. It also leads the SoCon in rushing in conference games.

In addition to its explosive offense, it’s defense ranks third in the SoCon in scoring at 23.7 ppg; total defense at 358.7 ypg; rushing defense at 180.7 ypg; and passing defense at 178 ypg.

In a press conference on Tuesday, ASU head coach Scott Satterfield noted that the Eagles are “rolling” offensively and that its defense pursues with “great pressure” and consists of “very athletic players” in the linebacker positions, the secondary and on the defensive front.

But Satterfield went back to how ASU is playing. While crediting Furman for capitalizing on the Mountaineer’s mistakes last week, he said that App State wouldn’t put itself in a position to win if it continues to turn the ball over and not force turnovers. After the Furman lost, Satterfield essentially asked his players if they were going to rollover and call it a season or fight until the end.

“We just haven’t played a complete game where we were mistake free,” Satterfield said, adding that the players are frustrated, but they keep “working and playing hard, they keep coming back for more.”

On the outside looking in, Satterfield said he sees the potential in his guys, although he alluded to the fact that some of the players themselves may not.

“[We are going to] keep working to get that potential out of them,” Satterfield said.

With both Georgia Southern and Appalachian State moving to the Sun Belt Conference in 2014-15, this is the last time the long-time rivals will face each other as conference foes on Black Saturday. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 26, at Kidd Brewer Stadium.

A very limited number of reserved seats remain for Saturday’s game. Tickets (reserved seats and general-admission grass seating) can be purchased by clicking HERE. Tickets cost between $25 and $40.

Saturday’s game is the Southern Conference Game of the Week and will be shown live on ESPN3.

Saturday’s game will be broadcast live on the Appalachian IMG Sports Network. Live coverage begins at 11:30 a.m. with Pigskin Prelude. Click HERE for a full list of Appalachian IMG Sports Network affiliates or click HERE to listen live online.

• Appalachian State and Georgia Southern both announced on March 27, 2013 that they would join the NCAA Division I FBS Sun Belt Conference on July 1, 2014 after 42 and 21 seasons in the SoCon, respectively.

• The Mountaineers and Eagles boast two of the most successful programs in Southern Conference and NCAA Division I FCS history with 22 SoCon titles and nine FCS/I-AA national championships between them.

• Either Appalachian State or Georgia Southern has claimed at least a share of the SoCon title each of the last nine seasons and 15 times in the past 16 campaigns.

• Appalachian State leads the all-time series between the two schools, 15-12-1, including an 11-10 advantage in 21 meetings since GSU joined the SoCon in 1993.

• The rivalry has perhaps been at its best over the last three seasons, as the nation’s top-ranked FCS squad has been knocked off in each of the last three Appalachian-Georgia Southern battles. The Mountaineers were toppled from their perch atop the national rankings with a 21-14 loss at Georgia Southern in 2010 but Appalachian has beaten the No. 1-ranked Eagles each of the last two campaigns — a 24-17 victory in Boone in 2011 and a 31-28 triumph in Statesboro last season.

• Appalachian State is looking to match its longest winning streak in the 81-year history of its rivalry with Georgia Southern with a third-straight win over the Eagles. App State also won three-straight over GSU from 1936-87 and 1995-97.

• As is usually the case when the Mountaineers and Eagles square off, Saturday’s game pits two very different offensive styles. Georgia Southern leads the SoCon in rushing with 369.8 yards per game out of its triple-option scheme while Appalachian ranks second in the league with 271.1 yards per game through the air behind the SoCon’s top-rated passer (Kameron Bryant — 154.2 pass-efficiency rating).

• Appalachian State’s defense has excelled against Georgia Southern’s patented triple-option attack since GSU returned to the scheme in 2010. On average, Appalachian has held the Eagles to 96.9 yards below their season rushing average coming in to the last three App State-Georgia Southern matchups.

For all of the information on Saturday’s matchup, including links to live video, audio and stats, both teams’ rosters, depth charts, game notes and much more, click HERE to visit appstatesports.com’s official Gameday Centralpage.