Seven times the Appalachian State Mountaineers have entered the fourth quarter this season and any team not named Clemson hasn’t even been close. The Mountaineers have dominated six of their seven opponents and they’ve made it look easy, winning by an average score of 43 to 7.
Unless you walked out of the stadium because football is the devil, and didn’t see the game, the Mountaineers’ first true Sun Belt Conference test was supposed to be last Thursday when the deadly running attack of Georgia Southern came up the mountain. After the Eagles went 86 yards on eight plays for the opening touchdown, that looked to be the case. The nations leading rushing attack wouldn’t score again for over 52 minutes, when the game was already decided. A team averaging 399 yards rushing per game coming into Kid Brewer Stadium, but stifled to 188. Nate Woody’s defense is the best in the Conference and they’ve shown it. They sit at the top of the conference with Arkansas State, who they will see in two weeks time in another game that might take away your precious parking spot and hinder academics…my condolences to you.
The win makes the Apps bowl eligible, but throw that aside. This team is more than just another bowl eligible, six win team. This isn’t just an average team in a bad conference. They shut out one of the best teams in the country for a quarter in a game that was a whole lot closer than the final score indicated and they’ve killed everyone else. This isn’t a team that will fly under the radar much longer if they keep up this same level of play. The college football world is noticing. The Mountaineers received votes to be placed in the College Football Associated Press top 25 poll for the first time in 8 years and are now ranked as the 33rd best team in the nation.
A huge opportunity sits in this football team’s lap. Not only do they have a chance to win a conference title and go to a bowl game, they can be ranked among the best in the country and play in one of the biggest bowl games college football has to offer. With some help, this team could be invited to one of the coveted “New Year’s Six” bowl games as a “Group of Five” conference member which would be a monster stage for a program in their first bowl eligible season.
Look, I know it’s early but this has been close to flawless football we’ve been seeing with exceptional game planning and play calling across the board. The Troy Trojans come to town this week in what should be another beatdown. The Mountaineers are for real, and ready to take the country by storm.