NCAAF - SUN BELT
Appalachian State Mountaineers Football Team
Appalachian State Football Team News
Since moving to the FBS and joining the Sun Belt Conference in 2014, Appalachian State has posted a winning record every year and played in six consecutive bowl games, all victories. They also shared or won outright Sun Belt titles from 2016 to 2019, before giving way to Coastal Carolina last season.
With 17 returning starters and transfer quarterback Chase Brice from Duke, expectations are high for the Mountaineers to return to the top of the East Division of the conference and compete for the title in the Sun Belt championship game. The pieces are in place, especially at the skill positions, but it will come down to execution in the big games.
Appalachian St. Mountaineers Standings
The Appalachian St. Mountaineers are a dominant force in the NCAAF, with a strong record of wins and an impressive display of skill and teamwork. Their stats and standings place them among the top teams in the league, with a powerful offense and a solid defense. Fans can always count on the Mountaineers to bring their best to the field, making them one of the most exciting teams to watch.
Appalachian St. Mountaineers Betting Trends
Their only conference losses in 2020 came to the two division champions, despite having the second rated offense and defense in the Sun Belt. The weakness for the Mountaineers came in the passing game, where they were ranked ninth in the conference and 105th nationally.
Appalachian State led the Sun Belt in scoring defense, allowing just 20 points a game, but gave up 34 to Coastal Carolina in their loss. They held Louisiana to 24 points, almost 10 below the Ragin’ Cajuns’ average, but the Mountaineers could manage only 21 and suffered their second conference defeat.
Brice will be playing for his third program after starting his career sitting behind Trevor Lawrence at Clemson and then having a train wreck of a season at Duke in 2020. He threw 15 interceptions against just 10 touchdowns, while also losing seven fumbles for a team that went 2-9 for the season, but it’s still believed that he has a big upside as a quarterback.
Running back Camerun Peoples is back after rushing for 1124 yards and 12 scores, averaging 6.7 yards per attempt. He’ll be challenged to repeat that performance if the offensive line can account for some losses, but if he does, it will take some pressure of Brice.
Defensive end Demtrius Taylor, who led the team with 13 tackles for loss and six sacks, returns to take advantage of the super season offered for players due to Covid-19. He anchors a front line that brings back all of its starters from an already stout unit.
With so much talent returning, there wasn’t much room for new faces outside of Brice, whose success will be critical for Appalachian State to get back to the top of the conference standings. Wide receiver Corey Sutton opted out last year, so his return is technically an addition to last year’s team who could help the Mountaineers improve on their passing game numbers.
Quarterback Zac Thomas threw all but seven of the team’s passes in 2020, completing 64% of his attempts including 20 touchdowns and an average completion of 7.5 yards. His 11 interceptions were high and impacted the team’s ability to gain consistency through the air.
The Mountaineers also lost offensive guard Ryan Neuzil, whose departure leaves a big hole on the offensive line. He signed as an undrafted free agent by the Atlanta Falcons.
Coastal Carolina shocked Kansas in their opener and went on to run the table in the regular season to win the Sun Belt East by two games over Appalachian State. The Chanticleers return 19 players off that roster and are solid favorites to repeat as division champions, especially since the only conference team they avoid is Louisiana, who went 11-1 in 2020.
If Appalachian State can get good production out of Chase Brice, they could make it a two team race in the East, but the Mountaineers have to face Louisiana a week before facing Coastal Carolina. If Appalachian State falters, Georgia State could make a move into second place, with most of the strength in the conference, except for Louisiana, concentrated in the East.
Troy and Georgia Southern are decent teams and could end up qualifying for a bowl while feasting on the bottom three teams in the West Division. Unfortunately, they don’t have the same talent as Appalachian State that would enable them to make a run at second place in the division.
Appalachian State Offense
The rebuilt offensive line will be the key to whether the offense can continue to dominate in the running game while making improvements through the air. Opening holes for Peoples while protecting Brice so he can limit mistakes will be a big part of whatever success Appalachian State has on offense.
All of the leading receivers return, with the addition of Sutton who sat out last year, giving Brice plenty of seasoned weapons to throw to and for the defense to have to account for. With the running threat of Peoples, the Mountaineers could be downright dangerous on offense if they can get, and this is worth repeating, production from the quarterback position.
Appalachian State Defense
With almost everyone back from the second best total defense in the conference and ranked 18th nationally, improvement is still possible and would elevate the Mountaineers to not just a contender in the conference, but possibly as the Group of Five representative on New Year’s Day. Even though the run defense was where they lagged statistically, they still only gave up 150 yards a game.
Appalachian State picked off 15 passes in 2020 and the leading interceptors are all back for another season, including linebacker Brendan Harrington, who led the team with four. The same is true for the pass rush, with all but one of the leaders in sacks and tackles for loss still with the program.
Mountaineers recent trend
Appalachian State FAQs
Three FCS titles from 2005 – 2007.
22, with four in the Sun Belt, most recently in 2019.
Scott Satterfield won 47 games from 2014 to 2018.