MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Appalachian State’s first bowl game appearance as a member of the Sun Belt Conference will be this Saturday in the Camellia Bowl.
The Mountaineers, who are currently a 7.5-point favorite, will play the Ohio Bobcats. The Bobcats, representing the Mid-American Conference (MAC), finished the regular season at 8-4 overall and 5-3 in conference.
App State (10-2, 8-1 Sun Belt) will have to contend with a group of athletic Bobcat players in the backfield. Ohio has used three different quarterbacks and three different running backs this season, and for the first time since October, all of them appear to be healthy
Redshirt freshman tailback Papi White, who has been out since October, has practiced this week and could very well get his fair share of the carries.
With White being out, A.J. Ouellette and Daz’mond Patterson took the bulk of the carries. Ouellette finished the season as the team’s leading rusher with 642 yards on 137 carries with five touchdowns. Patterson had 102 carries for 497 yards and nine scores.
At the quarterback position, senior Derrius Vick started all but the final two games of the season and passed for 1,809 yards, 10 touchdowns and six interceptions. When Vick was not under center, junior JD Sprague played just fine, throwing for 785 yards, seven touchdowns against just one interception.
Through the air, Sebastian Smith and Jordan Reid have been the top passing targets regardless who was under center. Smith is the Bobcats’ leader in receptions (61), yards (752) and touchdown catches (7). Reid has added 45 grabs for 616 yards and five scores.
Things have been a simpler for the Mountaineers on offense. QB Taylor Lamb started all 12 regular season games and passed for 2,263 yards and 29 touchdowns.
While junior running back Marcus Cox missed one game this season, he has been the lead back all year long. Cox has 219 carries for 1,261 yards and eight touchdowns.
True freshman Jalin Moore has come along nicely as well, getting 86 carries for 635 yards, including 244 yards in the game that Cox missed, good enough for an all-time freshman record at App State.
Kickoff is set for 5:30 p.m. and will be televised live on ESPN,
- Ohio is 5-0 all-time against Sun Belt teams.
- This is the sixth bowl game appearance in the last seven seasons for the Bobcats.
- This is the first ever meeting between the two programs.
- Appalachian State’s offensive line granted a Christmas wish to a local youngster on Monday evening when it presented him with a new bicycle following practice at Kidd Brewer Stadium.
- A Mountaineer win will set a new Sun Belt Conference single-season record with 11 victories.
- A Mountaineer win would also be the first ever for a team in its first season of eligibility after making the move from the FCS to the FBS. Should App State lose, Georgia Southern has that same chance on Dec. 23.
Nathan Ham can be reached at 336-846-7164 or followed on Twitter @NathanHam87