The Arkansas State Red Wolves visit Kidd Brewer Stadium in Boone, North Carolina, to face the Appalachian State Mountaineers in Thursday night college football action beginning at 7:30 pm EST. The Red Wolves are coming off their 2nd straight win when they picked up a seven point win over the Georgia State Panthers as 3.5 point favs. On the other hand, expect the Mountaineers to be excited to get back on the field as they have not played since September 26th due to having to quarantine several of their players after they developed symptoms of the covvid 19 virus.
The last meeting versus these two teams occurred in 2018 when the Mountaineers went on the road to get the 35-9 win as 10.5 point favorites. However, the Red Wolves got the 40-27 road win at Kidd Brewer in 2015 as 12.5 point dogs. Currently, the line favors Appalachian State by ten points.
Arkansas State scores 109 points in last two gamesYes, the Red Wolves are smoking on offense as they posted 50 or more points in their second straight game in their win over the Panthers last weekend, led by their dangerous passing attack which racked up a total of 550 yards alongside a total of eight passing scores to rank them 3rd in the nation. The interesting thing about this team is that they have been known to play two QB's with senior Logan Bonner (938 yds, 11 TD's, 3 INT's) leading the way in completing 64% of his passing on the year while junior Layne Hatcher (896 yds, 10 TD's, 1 INT's) is completing 63%. They combined for over 500 yards passing versus Georgia State's defense as they were able to cover the spread for the 2nd straight week while going 4-1 ATS on the season.
Tuesday Work Day‼️ pic.twitter.com/KDfGqNyC1H— Arkansas State Football (@AStateFB) October 18, 2020
Important to note that the Red Wolves rushing attack can certainly be better as the team rushes for around 112 yards per game led by Jamal Jones (58 att, 282 yds) who finished with 41 yards on 13 carries last weekend; However, Jones has fumbled twice this season. Nonetheless, the passing attack has been the big ticket for Arkansas State thus far with receivers Jonathan Adams, Jr., Dahu Greene, and Brandon Bowling who combine for the bulk of their offensive output. This contest will be a great matchup as the Red Wolves will square off against a defense for the Mountaineers that are solid in the secondary in allowing just 163 yards per game, 7th in the nation.
The offense must put up points in this contest, however, if they want to pick up a 3rd straight victory as the Red Wolves defense (allowing 40 ppg) is one of the worst in the nation in not only allowing over 300 yards passing to opponents this season, but one that is surrendering 177 yards on the ground. To make matters worse, the team may be without linebacker Caleb Bonner along with defensive back Antonio Fletcher (14 tackles, INT) as they are questionable with lower body and chest injuries.
Mountaineers finally cleared to playAfter inactivity due to the observance of the state and university's Covvid 19 protocols, Appalachian State is now able to resume their 2020 campaign as they attempt to figure out an explosive offense for the Red Wolves. Again, they will certainly be a worthy opponent in many ways as their secondary is certainly up to the challenge while the team is allowing only an average of 19 points per game in a total of three games this year. However, the weak area of their defense is up front as teams are punishing them in the trenches to the tune of averaging 160 rush yards per game. Whether the less than stellar rushing attack for the Red Wolves can capitalize on the Mountaineers' issues on the defensive line and linebacker corps remains to be seen; However, this area will certainly need to be exploited at some point in the contest.
✅ First 13-win season by an in-state FBS team— App State Football (@AppState_FB) January 18, 2020
✅ Highest-ranked in-state team the last 2 years
✅ 5th-most wins of any FBS team over the last 5 years
NORTH CAROLINA'S CHAMPIONSHIP FOOTBALL PROGRAM#GoApp pic.twitter.com/lmuUtNEEeA
Zack Thomas leads the Mountaineers' offense from under center as the senior is completing 62% of his passes for 603 yards alongside two touchdown passes alongside two picks in three games in 2020. He is coming off a game versus Campbell where he was solid in going 12-18 for 131 yards while not have an interception nor a touchdown pass. Important to note that while the passing game has been a bit average thus far, Thomas' ability to run the ball has been essential to the offenses' success as he has rushed for just under 1000 yards during his career at Appalachian State, including have ten in his sophomore year along with seven in his junior campaign. Nonetheless, the bread and butter for the Mountaineers have been their ability to rack up yards on the ground.
Senior Daetrich Harrington is coming off a 211 yard, four touchdown night versus Campbell, his best performance of the season thus far. He enters this contest with six touchdowns on 301 yards in 2020 in just three games. Freshman Nate Noel is also a dangerous threat out the backfield as he has 141 yards and a score this year, the first game of his college career. Again, the rushing attack must be where the Mountaineers begin their offensive attack, particularly with the Red Wolves being so susceptible to being pushed around up front.
Important to add that despite the team resuming their season, they may not have the services of several key components within their offense for this matchup with the most critical being senior running back Marcus Williams, Jr. (14 att, 120 yds, TD), junior tight end Mike Evans (3 rec, 62 yds), senior receiver Malik Williams (8 rec, 82 yds), and Jalen Virgil (5 rec, 62 yds, TD).
Stats & Trends
- Red Wolves are 4-1 ATS in last 5 games
- Red Wolves are 3-1 ATS in last 4 road games
- Mountaineers are 0-4 ATS in last 4 games
- Mountaineers are 1-4 ATS in last 5 home games
While the Mountaineers have picked up wins in two of their last three meetings versus the Red Wolves, the fact is that Arkansas was able to have success in their one and only visit to Kidd Brewer Stadium in their last visit as double digit underdogs to boot. Also, it is important to note that the underdog has covered in two of three of the meetings amongst these two teams. And while the defense for Arkansas State will give up some points in this contest, their passing offense is certainly one of the more dangerous units in the country. Furthermore, expect the Red Wolves to be able to rush the football much more efficiently Thursday versus a Mountaineers rush defense that has really gave up some ground to opponents. In all, the Red Wolves have been solid on the road in their last five games and seems like the better pick in this instance.