By Paul T. Choate
Sept. 20, 2012. On Saturday, Sept. 22, the No. 17/No. 18 Appalachian State University Mountaineers will be looking to bounce back from a 52-28 trouncing at the hands of The Citadel last Saturday at home. ASU will be on the road against Chattanooga and they are 22-1 in their last 23 games coming off of a same-season loss.
The loss to The Citadel snapped a number of ASU streaks, including an 18-game home winning streak, an 18-game winning streak against Southern Conference (SoCon) opponents at home, an eight-game winning streak against The Citadel and others. Additionally, the 52 points allowed last weekend were the most ASU allowed at home since a 52-34 loss to Furman almost 34 years ago on Sept. 30, 1978.
The Mountaineers dropped in the polls following the loss to No. 17 in the NCAA Division I FCS polls and to No. 18 in the American Football Coaches Association poll.
An ASU loss at the hands of the Mocs this Saturday would drop them to 1-3 overall for the first time since 2003 and 0-2 in SoCon play for the first time since 1972, the team’s first season in the league.
There is reason for optimism though if you are a Mountaineers fan. The last two times ASU lost two of their first three games (2008 and 2009) they went on to win the SoCon Championship. They also advanced to the NCAA Division I Football Championship playoffs both of those years, making it to the quarterfinals in 2008 and the semifinals in 2009.
Additionally, the Mountaineers have won seven straight games and 24 of their last 27 against the Mocs. They are 25-10 all-time against the Mocs.
Other good news for ASU fans is the play of senior running back Steven Miller. Despite the loss last Saturday, his 167 rushing yards against The Citadel were the most by a Mountaineer since DeAndre Presley rushed for 264 against Western Illinois in the second round of the 2010 postseason. Miller also had three touchdowns in the game. Both his yards rushed and number of touchdowns set career marks. Miller is currently ranks 25th nationally among all running backs with 101.7 rushing yards per game and 305 total yards on the season.
Despite ASU’s dominant record over the Mocs, the game could potentially be a nail-biter. The Mountaineers’ last trip to Finley Stadium saw them rebound from a 21-point fourth quarter deficit and squeeze out a 42-41 victory. Last season when the Mocs came to Kidd Brewer, ASU scored two defensive touchdowns in the last 15 minutes to win 14-12.
Chattanooga’s last six losses to FCS opponents have come by a total of only 15 points, or 2.5 points per loss.
Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. The game will not be televised but it will be available on the radio. Tune in to WATA 1450 in Boone and Blowing Rock or WTOE 1470 in Spruce Pine. GoASU.com will also be offering streaming audio.