Appalachian State was wildly successful early on in 2022. But the season also wasn’t perfect for the Mountaineers.
App State lost by just two points to UNC to start the year before going to No. 6-ranked Texas A&M and winning 17-14. Then the Mountaineers defeated eventual Sun Belt champion Troy by four points.
However, App State went on to go 6-6 with a 3-5 record against conference foes. So the Mountaineers will certainly be hoping to end this season with better performances in Sun Belt play.
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App State Football’s Sun Belt Title Odds
App State’s odds to win the Sun Belt are +750, via BetMGM.
App State Football’s Over/Under Win Total
App State’s win total Over/Under is 7, with Under 7 at -125 and Over 7 at +105.
App State Football’s Schedule
9/2 vs Gardner-Webb
9/9 at North Carolina
9/16 vs East Carolina
9/23 at Wyoming
9/30 at Louisiana-Monroe
10/10 vs Coastal Carolina
10/21 at Old Dominion
10/28 vs Southern Miss
11/4 vs Marshall
11/11 at Georgia State
11/18 at James Madison
11/25 vs Georgia Southern
Bold indicates Sun Belt contests.
Key App State Football Returners
2022 All-Sun Belt 3rd Team
OL Isaiah Helms
RS Milan Tucker
RB Nate Noel
WR Kaedin Robinson
Nate Noel Looking To Bounce Back For App State’s Offense
App State might have one of the best Sun Belt running backs if he remains healthy.
Nate Noel was an all-conference honorable mention running back last year despite dealing with an injury. In nine games, he rushed for 604 yards and six touchdowns, averaging 6.9 yards per carry. He earned All-Sun Belt first-team honors in 2021 as he led the league with 1,126 rushing yards while scoring four touchdowns on the ground. App State returns Ahmani Marshall, who ran for 389 yards and four touchdowns, and also picked up Navy transfer running back Maquel Haywood.
App State added Scoobie Ford, a transfer wide receiver from Mississippi State, and Makai Jackson, a transfer wideout from Saint Francis. But the Mountaineers also return three key contributors at wide receiver.
Dashaun Davis had a team-high 37 receptions which led to 441 yards and three touchdowns. Christan Horn totaled a team-high 600 receiving yards on 33 receptions while scoring four touchdowns. Kaedin Robinson earned All-Sun Belt honorable mention accolades while recording 419 yards and two touchdowns on 27 receptions.
App State does lose quarterback Chase Brice, who threw for 2,921 yards, 27 touchdowns, and six interceptions on a 63% completion rate. Ryan Burger appeared in one game last year and is the only other quarterback on the roster who threw a pass for App State last year. The Mountaineers also added Joey Aguilar from Diablo Valley Community College this offseason.
App State ranked third in rushing yards per game (204.4) and allowed the second-fewest sacks (18) in 2022. Offensive linemen Damion Daley, Isaiah Helms, and Bucky Williams all return after starting multiple games last season. Helms earned third-team All-Sun Belt honors a year ago. App State also added Marshall transfer O-lineman Jack Murphy.
App State’s Defense To Look Different Without Star Pass Rusher Nick Hampton
While App State was fifth in the Sun Belt for total defense (347.7 yards per game allowed), the team was ninth in scoring defense (26.8 points per game allowed). And the Mountaineers return just four of their top 11 tacklers from last season.
Nick Hampton is one of the Mountaineers’ losses. The standout pass rusher was drafted in the fifth round by the Rams this offseason.
App State safety Nick Ross is one of the team’s top returners on defense. He led the Mountaineers with 73 tackles while breaking up three passes and intercepting one.
Andrew Parker is also back after ranking second on the team with 68 total tackles. The inside linebacker added 3.5 tackles for loss and one pass breakup.
App State did make a few additions in the transfer portal. Defensive ends Shawn Collins (Rutgers) and Michael Fletcher (Michigan State) as well as defensive backs Tyrek Funderburk (Richmond) and Jarrett Paul (Kansas) will be new to the team.
App State Football Season Prediction
App State won’t win the Sun Belt Championship but will enjoy a winning record in 2023.
I think the Mountaineers will play more consistently this year. And that will start with their non-conference slate. They should be able to win their two games at home over Gardner-Webb and East Carolina, and I’m factoring in two losses against North Carolina and Wyoming on the road.
In Sun Belt play, I think App State will win five games. For starters, the Mountaineers should be better than ULM, Old Dominion, Southern Miss, and Georgia State, even though three of those four games are on the road.
The Mountaineers’ best conference opponents, like Coastal Carolina, Marshall, and Georgia Southern, have to play at App State. The Mountaineers should be able to win at least one of those games, even though winning at JMU might not happen for them.
If the Mountaineers win the games they should and play well at home, 2023 should be a successful season for them.