Mountaineers face The Citadel
by Steve Behr Sports Editor
Appalachian State's football team has struggled with consistency this season.
App State's defense looked good in a 24-21 loss to North Carolina A&T after giving up just 10 points and also looked good in the first half of a 31-21 win over Elon by not giving up any points in the first 30 minutes of the game.
But then the Mountaineers defense struggled in a 27-24 loss to Charleston Southern last Saturday. ASU's the offense has been explosive at times, and has sputtered at others.
The Mountaineers take to the road Saturday trying to fix their inconsistency problems at The Citadel. Kickoff is at 2 p.m. at Johnson-Hagood Stadium.
App State coach Scott Satterfield has the task of making sure the Mountaineers don't come apart after posting a 1-3 record. It's the first time App State has lost three games in the first four weeks of the season since 1993 when the Mountaineers started 0-4 en route to a 4-7 season.
"The thing I keep preaching is just to stay together and be a family," Satterfield said. "We win together, and we don't want to start to point fingers and bellyaching about this and that and blaming guys for this and that. You can make a lot of speeches, but you want to get better every day."
App State faces a Citadel team that put a 52-28 whipping on the Mountaineers in 2012. The Bulldogs broke several big plays, including touchdown runs of 57 and 46 yards by quarterback Ben Dupree.
The Citadel took a 38-7 halftime lead and a 52-14 lead into the third quarter.
But that was last year.
The Citadel is 1-4 this season, but has had its share of chances to have a much better record. The Bulldogs lost a wild 59-58 decision to Old Dominion in a game that saw the teams combine for 1,108 yards in total offense, including 453 yards of rushing for The Citadel.
Dupree scored five touchdowns and threw for another, yet it was not enough to pick up the win.
"Their running game is outstanding with what they do," Satterfield said. "They control the game with their rushing. They came up here last year, and we got down early, and we were never really in the game. They're very capable of putting up big numbers offensively, and their defense is very solid on film. They have a lot of juniors and seniors on their defense. It's going to be a huge challenge for us for us to go and play down there."
Stopping the run has been a problem for the Mountaineers, particularly against Charleston Southern, which ran for 298 yards and gained 428 yards in total offense.
App State struggled defensively with stopping the Bucs on third down. Charleston Southern converted 10-of-18 third downs and all three of its fourth-down attempts.
"After watching film this weekend, our first and second downs were pretty good," Satterfield said. "On third down, we had some breakdowns. They actually got four first downs on penalties, just mistakes that we made. The others were like one guy not going to the right gap, and do that on an option team, they're going to make you pay. We've got to do a whole lot better job on third down."
Offensively, the Mountaineers continued to use their two-quarterback system of Jamal Londry-Jackson and Kameron Bryant.
Londry-Jackson, the starter, completed 8-of-11 passes for 122 yards, while Bryant hit 10-of-15 passes for 180 yards and a 65-yard touchdown to Marcus Cox.
Cox had four catches for 91 yards. He added 89 yards and touchdown runs of 14 and two yards on 17 carries, which helped him earn the Southern Conference's Freshman of the Week award.
"I think we have some very talented football players that in due time are going to be able to win a lot of football games for us and hopefully that will include this weekend," Satterfield said. "We keep saying that hopefully these guys are going to grow up and help us win."