MOBILE, AL — The regular season will come to a close this Saturday for Appalachian State. The Mountaineers hit the road to South Alabama to face the Jaguars.
South Alabama enters the game at 5-6 overall, one win away from bowl eligibility while the Mountaineers sit at 9-2 and are assured a bowl game sometime later this month.
Last week, the Mountaineers had no troubles on the road against Louisiana-Lafayette, defeating the Ragin’ Cajuns, 28-7
“I thought last week the team came out and played really well, especially our defense. Our guys continue to get better and better,” said Appalachian State head coach Scott Satterfield. “We’ve been playing good team ball all year. Our coaches have done a good job getting our guys ready to play and our guys have really come out and executed.”
“I think our guys have played well on the road, we look forward to getting together on the road as a football team traveling down to wherever we’ve got to go play,” added Satterfield.
Last season, South Alabama handed the Mountaineers its first Sun Belt home loss, a 47-21 defeat in Boone.
“They (South Alabama) came in here and really put it on us, they played probably one of their better games offensively that they played all year,” said Satterfield.
This season, both teams enter this contest without many similarities to last season.
“We (App State) are a completely different football team from then and I think they’re a completely different football team as well,” Satterfield said. “They had a bunch of seniors last year on that team so we’re two different football teams. We’re looking forward to the matchup.”
The Jaguars are coming off of a 55-17 loss to Georgia Southern last week, the current third place team in the Sun Belt. The game doesn’t get any easier this week facing the Mountaineers, who are currently second in the conference behind unbeaten Arkansas State.
“They (App State) are much improved, especially up front. They’re really playing well right now, really not a lot of weaknesses,” said South Alabama head coach Joey Jones. “You always try to find that golden nugget, find some weakness somewhere. They don’t really seem to have many.”
The Jaguars are led by senior quarterback Cody Clements. The signal caller has had his ups and downs this season. Clements threw for two scores and ran for two more in a 52-45 win over Idaho on Nov. 7, but then two weeks later, he completed just 14-of-34 passes (41-percent) for 125 yards and an interception in a tough 24-10 loss at Georgia State.
Overall, Clements has passed for 2,177 yards, 13 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.
On the ground, the tandem of Xavier Johnson and Tyreis Thomas have shouldered most of the Jaguar ground game. Johnson has 127 carries for 844 yards and seven touchdowns on the year while Thomas has 102 carries for 503 yards and two scores.
Through the air, Gerald Everett leads the team in catches (37) yards (552) and touchdowns (eight). Josh Magee has been the big play threat outside, catching 21 passes for 491 yards and three scores, and average of nearly 24 yards per catch to lead the team.
With this being the final regular season game, the Mountaineers still have plenty to play for.
“We’re at 9-2, we’ve got a chance to go win 10 games in a regular season which not many teams have done, even with all the success we’ve had at App State over the years, there’s not been many teams to win 10 in a regular season, it’s hard to do,” said Coach Satterfield. “We’ve got a great opportunity to really make a huge mark and be one of the better teams that have played at App State.”
Kickoff from Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile is set for 7:30 p.m. The game can be watched live on ESPN 3.
– Mountaineer quarterback Taylor Lamb needs three touchdowns to set the school record for passing touchdown in a single season.
– Marcus Cox needs 31 yards to eclipse the 1,100-yard mark this year.
– App State will have to play without leading receiver Shaedon Meadors (21 catches, 439 yards). Meadors is out for the remainder of the season with a leg injury.
Nathan Ham can be reached at 336-846-7164 or followed on Twitter @NathanHam87