By Paul T. Choate
Oct. 18, 2012. Following a thrilling 28-25 victory last weekend against No. 25 Samford University in Birmingham, Ala., the No. 13/11 Mountaineers (5-1, 3-1 SoCon) will be back in action this weekend on their home turf at Kidd Brewer Stadium to face the No. 8/9 Woffard Terriers (5-1, 3-1 SoCon).
Last Saturday, when it looked like all hope was lost for ASU in the final moments as they trailed 25-21, quarterback Jamal Jackson orchestrated a seven-play, 80-yard drive that culminated in a 22-yard touchdown pass from Jackson to freshman wide receiver Sean Price with only 22 seconds left in the fourth quarter to win the game.
Wofford is coming off their first loss of the season last Saturday 17-9 against Georgia Southern (5-1, 4-1 SoCon) in a game where the Terriers did not score a single touchdown.
The Mountaineers will hope to sustain the momentum of their current four-game winning streak while a powerful Wofford offense hopes to get out of their funk from last Saturday. This game marks the second time in a row and the fourth time in the last seven games that ASU is squaring off with a ranked opponent. Each team needs a win to remain a likely contender for the Southern Conference Championship.
For the past decade, ASU and Wofford have been the two most dominant football programs in the conference, with teams other than those two winning only three of the past 10 SoCon championships. ASU won the championship outright in 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2009. Wofford won it outright in 2003. In both 2007 and 2010 the two programs shared the title.
Overall, ASU holds a 17-11 record over Wofford dating back to the first time the two schools squared off in 1960. At Kidd Brewer Stadium, however, the record is more lopsided, with the Mountaineers holding a 12-2 record over Wofford at home.
Jamal Jackson leads the powerful ASU offense with 150 completions in 231 attempts and 14 touchdowns so far this season. He has thrown for 1,869 yards so far this season, good for 267 yards per game.
To combat Appalachian’s star quarterback, the Terriers are led by running back Eric Breitenstein, ironically a native of Watauga. Breitenstein has amassed 995 yards so far this season on 106 carries, good for 9.4 yards per carry, and has accounted for nine Terrier touchdowns.
The two schools are currently sitting tied for second in SoCon play, behind Georgia Southern, but the stat sheet favors the Terriers in this matchup. Wofford is averaging 40.5 points per game (ranked fourth nationally) on 410.8 rushing yards per game (first) and 468.2 total yards per game (eighth). Combine that with being eighth in the nation in points allowed per game at only 14.2 it looks as though the Mountaineers are going to have their work cut out for them.
Where ASU will have the edge is in the passing game. At 267 passing yards per game that is good for 20th nationally compared to Wofford’s 57.3 passing yards per game (120th). The Mountaineers’ run game isn’t too shabby either, at 25th in the nation with 197.3 rushing yards per game. Even though Wofford’s 40.5 points per game is more than a touchdown higher than ASU’s 32.6 points per game (27th), the two programs are almost dead even in total yards per game with ASU boasting 464.3 (ninth) to Wofford’s 468.2
If you look at recent history rather than stats, ASU has to be the favorite. The Mountaineers have outscored Wofford 113-37 in the last two games the Terriers played at Kidd Brewer Stadium.
Whatever you use to make your predictions, this looks to be a clash of two SoCon powerhouse offenses with a lot on the line for both programs.
Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. Regular and prime tickets, grass seating and visitor seating is still available on goasu.com for $17 to $32. The game will not be televised, but GoASU TV will air the game online with rates starting at $10.95 for a one month subscription. You can also listen to the game live for free on the radio at WATA-AM 1450.