Things get real: JMU, after two easy wins, opens Sun Belt play at App State
JMU debuted in FBS with two easy home wins – 44-7 in the season opener against Middle Tennessee State, 63-7 over Norfolk State in Week 2.
Coming off an early bye, now things get real for the Dukes, in the form of Appalachian State, which is only the talk of all of college football.
App State (2-1) lost its opener, 63-61, to North Carolina, rallying from a big fourth-quarter deficit to tie the game late, and missing on a pair of two-point tries in the final minute.
Then the Mountaineers went to Texas A&M and pulled the 17-14 upset in Week 2, sending thousands of App State students to the streets of downtown Boone to celebrate.
That led to ESPN “Gameday” to change its plans and head to Boone last weekend, ahead of an improbable 32-28 win over Troy, on a touchdown on a Hail Mary on the game’s final play.
If there was ever cause to think that a team could be headed for a letdown, it might be this one, against a program in its first year of FBS that was picked to finish sixth in the Sun Belt East Division in the preseason.
What to know about App State
The ‘Neers are averaging 473.3 yards and 36.7 points per game. QB Chase Brice, who started his career at Clemson, moved on to Duke for a year before landing in Boone, has put up nice numbers this season (773 passing yards, nine TDs, one INT, 154.6 passer rating).
The backfield has been productive as well, led by 6’2”, 225-pound redshirt junior Camerun Peoples (85.0 yards/g).
Appalachian State averages 208.0 yards per game on the ground.
The receiver corps features 6’2” sophomore Christian Horn (10 catches, 169 yards, 2 TDs), 5’9” redshirt sophomore Deshaun Davis (15 catches, 127 yards, 1 TD), 6’2” redshirt sophomore Kaedin Robinson (7 catches, 119 yards, 1 TD) and 6’4” redshirt freshman Henry Pearson (8 catches, 98 yards, 2 TDs).
The defense, with all the points allowed, has allowed a respectable 367.0 yards per game.
The guys to watch on that side:
- DE Jalen McLeod (80.6 PFF grade, 2 sacks, 10 QB pressures)
- DE Nick Hampton (78.6 PFF grade, 4 sacks, 11 QB pressures)
- CB Steven Jones (61.9 PFF grade, 90.3 NFL passer rating against)
JMU (2-0) at Appalachian State (2-1), 3:30 p.m., ESPN+
Line: App State -7
Projected final score: App State 33, JMU 26