Friday, November 17, 2023

App State's Second Gameday Appearance Highlights Saturday's Slate


In a highly anticipated college football matchup, the Appalachian State Mountaineers, riding a triumphant three-game winning streak, are set to face the undefeated James Madison Dukes. This clash is not just another game; it's a chance for App State to make a statement on the grand stage of ESPN's College GameDay, featuring the Mountaineers for the second consecutive season. After last year’s broadcast, Boone erupted as the Mountaineers defeated Troy on a last-minute Hail Mary, but the euphoria was short-lived as JMU handed App State a 32-28 defeat the following week. Memories of that loss linger as the Mountaineers aim to rewrite history on the turf of Bridgeforth Stadium. The Mountaineers have historically been a thorn in the side of AP Top 25 teams with seven of the Mountaineers’ last eight games against ranked teams ending in one-score games. App State is 2-2 in their last four games against the AP Top 25

Quarterback Joey Aguilar, thrust into the spotlight after replacing the injured Ryan Burger, has been a revelation. With 26 touchdown passes in 10 games, Aguilar ranks among the best in the Sun Belt and the Group of Five. His ability to lead the offense will be crucial against a formidable JMU defense. Running back Nate Noel, despite battling an injury, achieved a milestone by surpassing 3,000 career rushing yards. His explosive plays, exemplified by a 61-yard touchdown run against Georgia State, make him a key offensive weapon for the Mountaineers. Defensively, App State has shown resilience, limiting opponents in recent victories over Marshall and Georgia State. The Mountaineers aim to build on this momentum, ensuring that their 2023 losses, all decided in the closing seconds, become a thing of the past.

Campbell vs. North Carolina A&T: As the 2023 college football season reaches its conclusion, the Campbell Fighting Camels (4-6, 3-4 CAA) gear up for their final showdown against North Carolina A&T (1-9, 0-7 CAA) at Truist Stadium in Greensboro, N.C., with kickoff slated for 1:00 p.m. As Campbell concludes its inaugural CAA season, the team finds itself on the brink of making history. With a chance to secure a fourth victory in conference play, the Fighting Camels aim to join the ranks of Old Dominion, the only other program to achieve this feat in their first CAA season back in 2011. The team's current 3-4 record in the conference is a testament to their competitive spirit. Quarterback Hajj-Malik Williams, a standout performer, enters the final game of his Fighting Camel career as the program's all-time leader in passing yards, passing touchdowns, and completions. Williams, completing 71% of his passes, has orchestrated the offense with 243.4 passing yards per game and 17 touchdowns. His connection with a diverse group of 17 receivers has been a key feature of the Campbell offensive arsenal. North Carolina A&T, also in its inaugural CAA season, enters the finale on a six-game losing streak. Despite a challenging season, the Aggies showcase talent in running back Kenji Christian, who leads the team with 709 rushing yards and six touchdowns, and linebacker BJ Turner, who boasts 85 tackles, including 12 for loss.

NC State vs Virginia Tech: The upcoming clash between the NC State Wolfpack and the Virginia Tech Hokies, marking the 52nd meeting in a historic rivalry dating back 123 years, is steeped in tradition and significance. With only seven matchups since Virginia Tech joined the ACC in 2004, the Wolfpack aims to build on their recent victory. Notable connections, including current Wolfpack assistant coaches Brian Mitchell and Charley Wiles with extensive tenures at Virginia Tech, add intrigue. Quarterback Brennan Armstrong, familiar with the Hokies from his time at Virginia, brings a dynamic element to the contest. Defensive strength, highlighted by Virginia Tech's Sacksburg reputation and NC State's resilience, sets the stage for an intense battle. As both teams vie for supremacy in the ACC, this matchup promises gridiron excitement and the continuation of a college football saga.