App State put out four incredible years by Sun Belt standards in Scott Satterfield’s final four in Boone, going 41-11 over the span. A ton is back from the 11-2 squad that was probably the best Sun Belt team in recent history, but head coach Scott Satterfield is not one of those that comes back.
Eliah Drinkwitz, former OC at NC State and Boise State will take over the head role (and he’ll also captain the offense). Veteran Ted Roof is the new DC after spending time with Drinkwitz at NC State as an assistant head coach last year.
The bar is high for Drinkwitz, but he gets enough back that he could be able to clear it.
After losing QB Taylor Lamb last year, the Mountaineers took it completely in stride, not missing a beat (their YPP stood steady at an incredible 6.5).
QB Zac Thomas is back after a conference Player of the Year season in 2018 (62.6% completion rate, 2,039 yards, 21 touchdowns (missed some time due to injury)). Seven of eight are back among receivers including deep threat Corey Sutton (776 yards, 17.6 YPC, ten touchdowns).
Star RB Jalin Moore’s injury last year meant this year’s starter, Darrynton Evans, saw some extended playing time averaging 6.6 (!) yards per attempt. Another 500+ yard rusher returns in junior Marcus Williams who should see his touches tick up.
Four starters are back including star LT Victor Johnson on the offensive line and that unit should be one of the best in the conference as well
This offense should be great again, the question of how great will likely be answered by how much Drinkwitz tries to change the system in year one.
The defense was tremendous last year, letting up just 4.4 yards per play, but they will lose two tremendous corners in Clifton Duck and Tae Hayes. LB Anthony Flory is another loss that will hurt.
Roof won’t be changing the system too much, but a change is always hard. While Flory is gone, a pair of all-conference contenders remain at the second level between ILB Jordan Fehr and OLB Akeem Davis-Gaither. OLB Noah Cook is another name to watch after 8 TFL last year.
Nose tackle MyQuon Stout is also gone, but much of the production on the ends are back as are both safeties (who combined for eight picks last year).
The defense probably won’t match last year’s numbers, but this is still a great group.
Coaching changes are never easy, but everything is lining up for another double-digit win season, this team, especially the offense, is just too talented to not be in the hunt to match some of the better years under Satterfield.
App State has a shot at a New Year’s Six bowl this year, a bar they haven’t hit as an FBS program. Satterfield was never able to beat a power-five team in the limited opportunities he got (mostly on the road), but Drinkiwitz will get two shots at it this year: @ South Carolina and @ a very beatable North Carolina team.
This team could make noise in the national conversation and should be a runaway favorite to take home the Sun Belt crown.
|Date||Opponent||OPP. RANK||Proj. Margin|
|31-Aug||East Tennessee State||NR||n/a|
|21-Sep||at North Carolina||61||-1.3|
|26-Oct||at South Alabama||123||13.1|
|9-Nov||at South Carolina||21||-8.0|
|16-Nov||at Georgia State||120||12.1|
Average Projected Record: 8.7 wins, 3.3 losses (6.1 wins, 1.9 losses)