By Tim Gardner
Appalachian State will play Toledo on December 23 in the 2017 Dollar General Bowl at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Ala. Kickoff is at 6:00 p.m. Central Standard Time (CST) (7:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time). The game will be nationally televised by ESPN.
The matchup of top teams from the Sun Belt Conference and Mid-American Conference was announced Sunday as the 2017-18 bowl schedule was unveiled.
BOWL TICKETS: Tickets are available by visiting the Bowl Central page. The deadline for priority seating is Thursday, December 7, at 12:00 noon. For additional information or help with purchasing tickets, phone the Appalachian State athletics ticket office at 828-262-2079. If you cannot attend the Dollar General Bowl, please consider donating your tickets by contacting the ticket office, which will enable Appalachian State to provide opportunities through local charity that will showcase the pride of App Nation.
For additional information on tickets, bowl week events, game day information, travel and lodging, visit Bowl Central and appstatesports.com.
BOWL TRAVEL: Appalachian State Athletics has partnered with Sports & Entertainment Travel (SET) to provide a turnkey bowl travel and lodging experience for Mountaineer fans. Please visit appstatefantravel.com for packages. Bowl tickets must be purchased separately.
“This is an exciting opportunity for Appalachian State University,” Director of Athletics Doug Gillin said. “We’re proud of what our student-athletes, coaches and staff have accomplished as co-champions of the Sun Belt Conference, and this is a deserved reward for their hard work and dedication. The Dollar General Bowl is a great bowl game with a rich tradition and an impressive lineup of activities. We have the best fan base in the Sun Belt, and we look forward to a special experience in Mobile.”
This is the Mountaineers’ third straight bowl appearance in as many years eligible after transitioning from the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) to Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) level, becoming only the second program to accomplish that feat. Marshall earned six straight bowl bids from 1997-2002. Appalachian State is the only team in history to win bowl games in its first two years after the transition to FBS, having claimed Camellia Bowl victories over Ohio in 2015 (31-29) and Toledo in 2016 (31-28).
Appalachian State (8-4 over-all, 7-1 conference) won its second straight Sun Belt Championship thanks to a 63-14 victory against Louisiana-Lafayette on Saturday. This year’s team enters the postseason on a hot streak, as it has rushed for 933 yards, allowed only 364 rushing yards and outscored its opponents 121-30 in its last three games. Appalachian State ranks among the top 20 teams nationally in fewest sacks allowed (Number 2), passing efficiency (Number 19), fewest passes intercepted (Number 13), defensive interceptions (Number 18), sacks (Number 19) and turnover margin (Number 18).
The Dollar General Bowl will be a rematch of last year’s back-and-forth Camellia Bowl, which the Mountaineers won 31-28. Appalachian State never trailed, four times taking a seven-point lead, only to see Toledo tie the score in each instance. Michael Rubino kicked a 39-yard field goal with 5:14 left to break the final tie.
“Since January, our players and staff have been focused on winning a championship and making it back to the postseason,” Appalachian State head coach Scott Satterfield said. “We are proud to have reached the top of the Sun Belt again, and we’re looking forward to facing the MAC Champion in a Toledo team of which we’re very familiar. Our players will get to play in a different bowl this year, and I’m sure App Nation will be in full force in Mobile on December 23.”
Another note of interest is that after playing quarterback for Appalachian State and then serving eleven years as an assistant coach for the Mountaineers, Satterfield spent one season as the passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Toledo (2009).
Satterfield then spent two seasons as the offensive coordinator at Florida International (2010-11), before returning to Appalachian State as an assistant in 2012. He became the Mountaineers head coach, starting with the 2013 season. He has compiled a 40-22 head coaching record, including a 27-5 mark in Sun Belt Conference games.
This year’s Appalachian State-Toledo matchup will feature two of the nation’s most efficient quarterbacks. Appalachian State senior Taylor Lamb, who rushed for 126 yards in the Camellia Bowl win against Toledo, has 27 touchdown passes and only six interceptions this year. Highly regarded Toledo senior Logan Woodside has thrown 28 touchdown passes and five interceptions. The only other FBS quarterback with more than 25 touchdown passes and less than eight interceptions is Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield.
Woodside leads an offense that ranks 11th nationally in scoring (39.2 points per game) and eighth nationally with an average of 509.9 yards, including 291.9 through the air. The Rockets’ only losses were against Miami (52-30) and Ohio (38-10), as Toledo is moving forward from a 45-28 victory against Akron in the MAC championship game.
Satterfield’s Mountaineer program boasts a 35-9 record over its last 44 games, the best of any Group of 5 teams. Only Clemson, Alabama, Ohio State, Wisconsin and Oklahoma have better records during that span.
After another successful conference campaign, Appalachian State has gone a sterling 27-3 in Sun Belt play since starting 0-2 in 2014.
Sun Belt all-conference awards will be released Wednesday afternoon.