#84 Appalachian State Football 2015 Preview

Appalachian State Mountaineers

Overall Rank: #84
#3 Sun Belt

Appalachian State Team Page#84 Appalachian State Football 2015 PreviewBuy Appalachian State Football Tickets

Appalachian State’s step into the FBS got off to a rough start. The Mountaineers began the 2014 season with just one win in six tries…and that came against Campbell. But Appalachian State finished extremely strong, winning their final six games to end with a very respectable 7-5 record. With 20 starters returning, more than any other team in the nation, Coach Scott Satterfield could be in for a very special season.

2014 Record: 7-5, 6-2
2014 Bowl: None
Coach: Scott Satterfield (11-13 at Appalachian State, 11-13 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Dwayne Ledford, Frank Ponce
Defensive Coordinator: Nate Woody

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Marcus Cox, RB, 1,415 yards
Passing: Taylor Lamb, QB, 2,381 yards
Receiving: Malachi Jones, WR, 585 yards
Tackles: Jon Law, LB, 91
Sacks: Ronald Blair, DL, 6.0
Interceptions: Doug Middleton, CB, 4

Other Key Returnees: RB Terrence Upshaw, WR Simms McElfresh, WR Montez McGuire, WR Bobo Beathard, WR Isaiah Lewis, P Bentlee Critcher, DB A.J. Howard, LB Kennan Gilchrist

Key Losses: DB Joel Ross, OL Kendall Lamm

The entire team got better at the end of the season, but much of the credit goes to quarterback Taylor Lamb. Appalachian State did not have to rely on Lamb too much, but over the last six games he did throw nine touchdown passes and just three interceptions. That type of efficiency should continue in 2015. Malachi Jones and Simms McElfresh were far away the Mountaineers top two receiving threats in 2014 and, of course, both return. But this offense works through the ground game. Marcus Cox rushed for 1,415 yards and 19 touchdowns as a sophomore and his backup, Terrence Shaw, is a talented back as well. Not many teams had much luck stopping Cox and Shaw, especially late last season, and it is only going to be tougher now.

Appalachian State turned a corner when they started being more aggressive on defense. The pressure started coming from all over the field, led by lineman Ronald Blair and his 6.0 sacks, and opposing offenses were caught off-balance. The talent continues at linebacker, where Jon Law returns after tallying a team high 91 tackles. The continued development of sophomore Eric Boggs would go a long way in helping a run defense that too often broke in the red zone. In the secondary, Doug Middleton emerged as the top playmaker, picking off four passes as a junior. Cornerbacks Latrell Gibbs and Brandon Pinckney are both just sophomores, but they do have some experience and plenty of talent.

The Bottom Line:
Appalachian State has a lot going for them right now. The transition from FCS to FBS is not easy, but the Mountaineers can cement their status as a regular contender in the Sun Belt with a good season. The schedule works out quite nicely too. Louisiana, Georgia Southern and Arkansas State are arguably the other top teams in the conference and all three of them must come to Kidd Brewer Stadium. The Mountaineers are long past being intimidated by any Sun Belt team and they have the talent to make the rest of the conference fear them.

Projected Bowl: Cure Bowl

2014 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 241.8 (NR in nation, NR in conference)
Passing Offense: 219.8 (NR, NR)
Total Offense: 461.5 (NR, NR)
Scoring Offense: 35.7 (NR, NR)
Rushing Defense: 152.3 (NR, NR)
Pass Defense: 195.2 (NR, NR)
Total Defense: 347.5 (NR, NR)
Scoring Defense: 27.3 (NR, NR)
Turnover Margin: -0.04 (NR, NR)
Sacks: 2.3 (NR, NR)
Sacks Allowed: 0.92 (NR, NR)


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