Camellia Bowl Notebook: Wednesday, Dec. 16

Published Thursday, December 17, 2015 at 10:15 am
Appalachian State's seniors joined head coach Scott Satterfield and director of strength and conditioning Mike Sirignano at the Central Alabama Veterans Hospital on Wednesday. Courtesy: Appalachian State Athletics

Appalachian State’s seniors joined head coach Scott Satterfield and director of strength and conditioning Mike Sirignano at the Central Alabama Veterans Hospital on Wednesday. Courtesy: Appalachian State Athletics

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — A visit to the Central Alabama Veterans Hospital, a steak and seafood dinner and a 90-minute practice highlighted Appalachian State University football’s first full day in Montgomery, leading up to Saturday’s Raycom Media Camellia Bowl versus Ohio (5:30 p.m. ET – ESPN).

The day started with head coach Scott Satterfield, director of strength and conditioning Mike Sirignano and Appalachian State’s 23 seniors spending an hour-and-a-half visiting with military heroes at the Central Alabama Veterans Hospital. The Mountaineers greeted dozens of patients and hospital staff members and distributed App State apparel and memorabilia to their newest fans.

“It definitely will,” Sun Belt Defensive Student-Athlete of the Year Ronald Blair replied when asked if the visit would be a highlight of the bowl experience. “If it weren’t for the sacrifices that our veterans made, we wouldn’t be able to play the game that we love. So it’s an honor and very humbling to be able to spend some time with them and bring them some happiness.”

After the seniors and coaches returned to the team hotel, focus shifted to preparation for Saturday’s game versus Ohio. Meetings and film study were proceeded by a 96-minute practice in a steady rain at nearby Huntingdon College.

After practice, Appalachian returned to the hotel and cleaned up for a steak and seafood dinner, presented by the Alabama Cattleman’s Association & Wintzell’s Oyster House.

POSTSEASON PEDIGREE: While Saturday’s Raycom Media Camellia Bowl is Appalachian State’s first-ever NCAA bowl game, the Mountaineers are no stranger to postseason play, as Saturday’s contest is the 52nd postseason game in program history.

Appalachian’s first postseason contest was a 15-7 win over Catawba in an unnamed bowl game on Dec. 5, 1931 in Charlotte, N.C. The Mountaineers competed in 10 bowl games at the NAIA level from 1931-55, going 4-6 in those contests. Appalachian’s last bowl appearance was a 7-0 loss to East Tennessee State in the 1955 Burley Bowl in Johnson City, Tenn. (Nov. 24, 1955).

Following the ‘55 Burley Bowl, Appalachian had a 31-year postseason hiatus before making its first NCAA Division I-AA playoff appearance in 1986 (a 28-26 loss to Nicholls State on Nov. 29, 1986). App State would go on to make 20 Division I-AA/FCS playoff appearances in a 27-season span from 1986-2012 and went 24-17 in 41 playoff games. The Mountaineers won three-straight national titles from 2005-07.

Appalachian State’s NCAA-mandated two-year postseason hiatus during its transition from FCS to NCAA Division I FBS was its longest span without a postseason game since it missed the I-AA playoffs in 2003 and ‘04.

In all, the Mountaineers are 28-23 all-time in postseason games.

THIS DATE IN APP STATE FOOTBALL HISTORY: On Dec. 16, 2005, Appalachian State defeated Northern Iowa, 21-16, in Chattanooga, Tenn. to win the NCAA Division I-AA national championship. It was the first national title in any team sport in Appalachian State history.

WHAT’S ON TAP FOR THURSDAY: Appalachian State’s entire team will visit the Rosa Parks Museum on Thursday morning before returning to the team hotel for lunch and meetings in preparation for the Mountaineers’ customary “No Sweat Thursday” walk-through practice.

In the evening, the Mountaineers will enjoy a Dreamland BBQ dinner, presented by the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce.

SATTERFIELD TO APPEAR ON ESPN TRIAD: Satterfield will call in to the Scott Hamilton Show on ESPN Triad at 3:15 p.m. ET on Thursday. Fans outside of the Triad can hear Satterfield’s appearance live at triadsports.com.

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