Illinois State at Appalachian State FCS Playoffs 2nd Round Breakdown

George Hammond

Illinois State at Appalachian State FCS Playoffs 2nd Round Breakdown


Appalachian State vs. Illinois State

If Appalachian State needs any motivation all it needs to do is look back at its last playoff game.  A year ago, the Mountaineers (8-3, 6-2) were embarrassed in Boone, N.C., by Maine 34-12, in a game that wasn’t that close. “We left with such a bitter taste in our mouth last year,” Appalachian State coach Jerry Moore told the Winston-Salem (N.C.) Journal.  But thanks to key victories over Georgia Southern and Furman, the Mountaineers are back in the playoffs for the eighth consecutive postseason. They host Illinois State (8-3, 5-3) of the Missouri Valley Conference at 2 p.m. Saturday.  The winner will play the winner of No. 2 seed Eastern Washington vs. Wagner on Dec. 7 or Dec. 8.

Because App State was idle the last week of the regular season, and it received a playoff bye on Saturday, the Mountaineers will have had three weeks off before Saturday’s contest.  “We’re a team that I think has gotten a little better almost each week, and we may have our best football ahead of us,” Moore added. App State, of course, won three consecutive national titles from 2005-07.  This is the first meeting between the two schools. The Mountaineers are 4-0 against current members of the MVC with all four coming in the postseason.

The Redbirds finished in a tie for third place in the Missouri Valley Football Conference this season, with wins over then nationally ranked Youngstown State and Indiana State. ISU also posted a perfect 5-0 road record, including the program's first win over a Football Bowl Subdivision opponent since 1991, when it defeated Eastern Michigan by a score of 31-14.

This contest will feature Illinois State’s defensive pass efficiency (No. 3 nationally) against the Mountaineers’ Southern Conference-leading pass efficiency offense.  “They’re a real solid and physical defense, with very good defensive ends,” App State quarterback Jamal Jackson told the Winston-Salem (N.C.) Journal. “I’m sure they’ll bring the pressure. We’ll need to play well on offense, and not make mistakes.”  Illinois State has a quality quarterback of its own. Matt Brown (6-4, 230 pounds) can throw and run. He’s a four-year starter who leads the Missouri Valley in passing with 2,676 yards.


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