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App State’s Big Moment

By BJ Bennett
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Though obviously not a conference game, this weekend will be a special opportunity for the Mountaineers.

For obvious reasons, it's the biggest opponent we have ever had come to our campus and play a football game.
~Scott Satterfield

Appalachian State is no stranger to the big stage. The Mountaineers have won 575 all-time games, made 20 FCS playoff appearances and won thee consecutive national championships from 2005-2007. Just over eight years ago, Appalachian State was on the winning end of arguably the greatest upset in college football history, knocking off 5th ranked Michigan in front of more than 109,000 people. A season ago, the Mountaineers won their first-ever bowl game on a winning field goal with no time remaining.

Week one, of this season, came with validation of just how competitive Appalachian State can be. Facing pre-season SEC favorite Tennessee, the Mountaineers, leading most of the way, took the Volunteers to the absolute brink; an overtime fumble recovery in the endzone proved to be the difference for UT in a fortunate one-score win. Last Saturday, Tennessee beat Virginia Tech by 21 points.  

Having already made a statement, Appalachian State has another chance against one of college football's most recognizable names. The Mountaineers will welcome nationally-ranked Miami to Kidd-Brewer Stadium on Saturday in the program's most high-profile home game ever. The Hurricanes, with a legacy as proud as any in the game and a quarterback that could be next spring's number one pick in the NFL Draft, will come to Boone in a setting that would have been unfathomable not long ago. Miami will be the first power five school to play at Appalachian State.   

"For obvious reasons, it's the biggest opponent we have ever had come to our campus and play a football game. In particular, what they are bringing in here is the tradition of a school that has won national championships, won Heisman Trophies and all of the accolades they have been able to get over the years," head coach Scott Satterfield explained. "Not only that, now you are bringing a Mark Richt coached team in here."  

The moment is a big one, but it certainly won't be too big. Satterfield's Mountaineers have been largely effective in their key contests recently, going 13-3 in Sun Belt Conference play since moving up to the FBS ranks. Already this fall, Appalachian State, in one of the toughest places to play in all of college football, is a potential recovery away from a victory over a top ten foe. The Mountaineers defeated Old Dominion by a score 31-7 in week two.

A win would serve as a major springboard for Appalachian State before league play begins. The Mountaineers received three votes in the latest USA Coaches Poll. Beating the 25th ranked Hurricanes would undoubtedly move Appalachian State much closer to the national polls ahead of its final non-conference contest of the season. Even for a program that has accomplished a lot, a victory over Miami would stand as a signature moment.

Led by star signal caller Brad Kaaya, the Hurricanes enter having won six of their past seven regular season outings. Miami has scored 108 total points and has allowed just 13 total points two games, both wins, into 2016. The Hurricanes currently rank 8th nationally in scoring offense, 3rd nationally in scoring defense. Richt has a young team, but one of the most-talented ones in the ACC.   

"They are pretty hot right now, offensively and defensively. We know they are going to bring an outstanding team here," Satterfield explained. "We are going to have to play our very best game in order to have a chance to win."

Though obviously not a conference game, this weekend will be a special opportunity for the Mountaineers. As was in the case in the opener, one more national litmus test will come with even more national exposure. Kickoff is set for 12:00 noon, immediately following College Gameday on ESPN. For Satterfield, a long-time assistant at Appalachian State and a former quarterback in Boone, the stage will be a proud showcase for a program he has helped build. 

With the energy level at an all-time high, the Mountaineers will set a new attendance record on Saturday.

"We're excited about playing them; number one playing them, number two playing them here in front of our crowd, which will be the biggest crowd we have ever had," Satterfield added. 

Appalachian State has already made headlines this fall. Now, the Mountaineers will look to make history.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: / Twitter: @BJBennettSports