ATLANTA — The “ATL” is the site of Appalachian State’s first Sun Belt game of the season with Georgia State playing host to the Mountaineers in the Georgia Dome.
The Panthers (1-3) are coming off of a 41-33 loss to Football Championship Subdivision foe Liberty, a loss that Georgia State head coach Trent Miles was not pleased with.
“We didn’t play very well on defense. Offensively, we only had the ball for 16 minutes and 27 seconds for the whole game and still scored 33 points, so offensively we’re putting up points. Defensively, we played the worst that we have all season,” said Miles. “We’re going to have to play much much better this week to compete against Appalachian State.”
Miles complemented the Mountaineers on their physical style of play and their strong defense.
“I feel Appalachian State is an excellent football team. They run the ball extremely well and have a very very tough defense,” said Coach Miles. “We’ve got a lot of work to do and hopefully we show up and get a victory.”
Georgia State quarterback Nick Arbuckle completed 18-0f-29 passes for 394 yards, three touchdowns and one interception last week. On the season, Arbuckle has 1,383 passing yards with 10 touchdowns and 5 INTs.
The pass-happy Panthers do not run the ball that much, but when they do, you can bet they will give the ball to Kyler Neal. He has 47 carries for 171 yards and two touchdowns.
Donovan Harden, a 5-11 senior, played in his first game of the season after missing the first three with an injury. One of the top passing targets on last year’s squad, Harden did not disappoint in his first game back, snagging 5 passes for 179 yards and a TD. Harden had 60 catches for 885 yards and 7 touchdowns last season.
For the Mountaineers (3-1), their perfect red zone defensive streak may have been snapped, surrendering two TDs inside the 20-yard line, but overall it was another outstanding performance from the black and gold last week against Wyoming. App easily handled the Cowboys, 31-13.
Marcus Cox continued his tremendous season with 178 rushing yards on only 15 carries with one touchdown.
Taylor Lamb completed only 3-of-12 passes for 65 yards in a pouring rain, but with the rushing attack and a 91-yard interception return for a score by Latrell Gibbs, the Mountaineers did not need a lot of yards through the air.
Lamb’s one touchdown throw went to Simms McElfresh from 18 yards out.
“We had a big win and we’re proud of our guys for coming out and getting that win,” said App State head coach Scott Satterfield. “We’re sitting here 3-1 and taking care of business in non-conference play, we’re looking forward to getting into Sun Belt Conference play this weekend.”
For the first time since the Mountaineers’ trip to Clemson, the Mountaineers will not have to deal with rainy weather conditions as this game will be played indoors at the Georgia Dome.
“Right now I think they (Georgia State) are leading the league in passing. Their quarterback can throw the football, they’ve got some excellent wide receivers and some great skill out there on the edge,” said Satterfield. “They’ve been able to move the football on against everybody they’ve played this year.”
Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. and the game can be watched live online via ESPN 3.
- App State kicker Zach Matics was named the Sun Belt Conference Special Teams Student-Athlete of the Week after successfully converting a fake field goal attempt into a first down and drilling a career-long 51-yard field goal against Wyoming last week.
- ASU is 3-1 for the first time in four seasons.
- The Mountaineers’ overall hot streak continues as they have now won nine of the last 10 games.
- App State has a current six-game winning streak going in Sun Belt play.
- Last season, the Mountaineers ran for 469 yards against Georgia State, the most rushing yards in one game for the black and gold since 1975.
- This is the first ever game for the Mountaineers in an NFL stadium. The Georgia Dome is home to the Atlanta Falcons.
Nathan Ham can be reached at 336-846-7164 or followed on Twitter @NathanHam87