College Football Preview: The 2015 Appalachian State Mountaineers
Appalachian State Mountaineers Preview
2014 Record: 7-5
The Appalachian State Mountaineers loo to carry over their second half success in to 2015.
Overview: The Mountaineers looked like they were overmatched in the first half of 2014 before the light came on. With many of those pieces returning we’ll see if the light is still on with high expectations to meet this year.
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Offense: The Mountaineers averaged just under 36 points and quarterback Taylor Lamb was a major reason with 2,381 passing yards with 17 TD’s and nine INT’s on over 61% completions while adding 518 rushing yards. Marcus Cox led the backfield with 1,415 yards with Terrence Upshaw adding 573 yards so the running game is loaded especially with four starters back on the offensive line. Virtually every player that had the football thrown their way is back with Malachi Jones bringing back a team high 585 yards but the Mountaineers loved to spread the ball around in the air with nice success.
Defense: The defense showed marked improvement over the second half of 2014 and the good news is this group returns largely intact. The D-Line gets back returns the top six of seven with ends Ronald Blair and Nathaniel Norwood combining for 18.5 TFL and 9.5 sacks. The top five linebackers are back with leading tackler John Law recording 68.5 stops while Kennan Gichrist posted 3.5 sacks. The secondary gets back nine of their top ten with FS Doug Middletown logging 64 tackles with six TFL and four interceptions. The defense has plenty of experience and are still youthful so the potential to be even better then a year ago is very real and needed as ASU was vulnerable versus the pass.
Special Teams: Bentlee Crutcher averaged 40.7 yards per punt and was 7-10 on field goals but missed four PAT’s while Isaiah Lewis and Bobo Beathard can handle both return duties. Overall the ASU special teams was not a strong unit.
Outlook: Appalachian State was a complete team over the second half of last season with a 6-0 record to finish at 7-5. The vast majority of that team is back and I can see the Mountaineers adding a game or two to the win column with a not too difficult schedule.