#66 Appalachian State Football 2017 Preview

Appalachian State Mountaineers
Overall Rank: #66
#1 Sun Belt
In 2016, Appalachian State had another very successful season. This time it ended with 10 wins, a share of the Sun Belt title and a Camellia Bowl victory over Toledo. Once again, this should be the most dangerous team in the conference. But the Mountaineers will not just be a threat to other Sun Belt teams, but also to Power Five schools on the non-conference schedule.
2016 Record: 10-3, 7-1
2016 Bowl: Camellia Bowl vs. Toledo (W 31-28)
Coach: Scott Satterfield (32-18 at Appalachian State, 32-18 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Shawn Clark, Frank Ponce
Defensive Coordinator: Nate Woody, Scot Sloan
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Jalin Moore, RB, 1,402 yards
Passing: Taylor Lamb, QB, 2,281 yards
Receiving: Shaedon Meadors, WR, 716 yards
Tackles: Eric Boggs, LB, 98
Sacks: Tee Sims, DL, 7.0
Interceptions: Clifton Duck, CB, 5
Other Key Returnees: OL Colby Gossett, OL Beau Nunn, LB Devan Stringer, S A.J. Howard, DL Myquon Stout
Key Losses: RB Marcus Cox, WR Jaquil Capel, TE Barrett Burns, OL Parker Collins, LB Kennan Gilchrist, LB John Law, LB Dezmin Reed, DB Mondo Williams
The Sun Belt’s best offense could be even more dangerous this year. Quarterback Taylor Lamb has been a consistent performer for the Mountaineers and will do more of the same during his senior season. Last year Lamb threw for 2,281 yards and 15 touchdowns and rushed for 505 yards and nine scores. Lamb was a big part of the nation’s tenth best rushing offense. So was Jalin Moore, who rushed for 1,402 yards and ten scores on his way to earning the Sun Belt’s Offensive Player of the Year. The return of Terrence Upshaw, who missed last season, will help replace the production of Marcus Cox. With a relatively experienced line, Appalachian State will be very difficult to stop on the ground. And with Lamb and receiver Shaedon Meadors, the passing game has the talent to take advantage of any defense that focuses in on the ground game too much.
The defense returns seven starters to a unit that allowed just 17.8 points per game. Up front Tee Sims led the team with 7.0 sacks last season and Caleb Fuller added 3.0. The potential issue with Coach Scott Satterfield’s 3-4 defense is at linebacker where Kennan Gilchrist and John Law need to be replaced. Eric Boggs will lead the unit after tallying 98 tackles. Devan Stringer is also an experienced senior who recorded 71 tackles in 2016. They will need to get production from players like Rashaad Townes to help pick up the slack in the linebacker corps. Clifton Duck is emerging as a leader in the secondary. As a freshman last year the cornerback picked off five passes and broke up eight more. He will be the top corner this year while the Mountaineers attempt to replace All Sun-Belt honoree Mondo Williams. Safety A.J. Howard intercepted three passes and will again be a playmaker who will help Appalachian State maintain a positive turnover margin.
The Bottom Line:
The Mountaineers will have a couple opportunities to grab national attention early in the 2017 campaign. Their opening game is at Georgia on September 2nd. That will be a very difficult game, but it is certainly one Appalachian State can make very interesting due to their experience. A few weeks later they host Wake Forest. Winning both of those games seems unlikely, but if it happens, Appalachian State will head into October with whispers of a possible perfect season. In Sun Belt action, they get Georgia Southern and Troy at home and do not play Arkansas State.
Projected Bowl: New Orleans Bowl
2016 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 250.9 (10th in nation, 1st in conference)
Passing Offense: 179.0 (105, 9)
Total Offense: 429.9 (52, 1)
Scoring Offense: 29.2 (64, 3)
Rushing Defense: 125.9 (20, 2)
Pass Defense: 203.8 (31, 3)
Total Defense: 329.7 (17, 1)
Scoring Defense: 17.8 (9, 1)
Turnover Margin: 0.62 (18, 3)
Sacks: 2.31 (45, 2)
Sacks Allowed: 1.23 (17, 3)