By Bret Strelow | App State Athletics
BOONE, N.C. —
A fall with record-setting crowds, School GameDay visits and Hail Mary finishes contains yet one more likelihood to look at App State Soccer at The Rock.
Saturday’s house finale pitting the Mountaineers (5-5, 2-4) in opposition to Outdated Dominion (3-7, 2-4) in Kidd Brewer Stadium doubles as Senior Day and Heroes Day.
Earlier than the two:30 p.m. kickoff, with temperatures anticipated to be within the excessive 30s, 28 student-athletes can be acknowledged through the Senior Day festivities. Then it is all the way down to enterprise, as App State resumes its pursuit of a robust end to the season and makes an attempt to maneuver one step nearer to postseason eligibility.
“Our children have had nice effort, and so they’re excited to be right here, which is nice to see,” head coach Shawn Clark stated. “Our children are nonetheless within the combat, and we have now a good way to honor these guys in entrance of a packed-out stadium right here on Saturday.”
The mixture of redshirt makes use of, switch arrivals and the extra yr of eligibility allowed based mostly on the COVID protocols from 2020 imply Senior Day can have an fascinating mixture of individuals, with their highschool commencement years starting from 2017 to the winter of 2019. The group being acknowledged contains 5 gamers who’re sixth-season school college students, 15 gamers who’re fifth-season school college students and eight gamers are who fourth-year school college students.
Because the begin of the 2018 season, the Mountaineers have posted a 48-15 report, good for the eighth-most wins within the nation. There are three gamers who enrolled at App State in 2017 and have been in Boone for six of the Mountaineers’ 9 FBS seasons: RB Daetrich Harrington, P Clayton Howell and CB Steven Jones Jr.
All three made huge contributions final weekend at Marshall, as Harrington scored a fourth-down TD after gaining 26 yards on a third-and-goal display screen move, Howell put two punts contained in the 5 and Jones had his first profession sack amongst his career-high 9 tackles.
Nonetheless, App State misplaced a Solar Belt recreation on the highway by seven factors for the second straight week. Of App State’s 5 losses, 4 have been determined by seven factors or much less.
“We have been developing a little bit bit brief proper now, however that has nothing to do with the trouble they’ve on the soccer subject,” Clark stated. “Our children are excited to play each single week. Typically you simply need to make a play, and we have now to educate higher.”
Coached by Ricky Rahne, who was Penn State’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach when the Nittany Lions edged App State in a 2018 time beyond regulation thriller, ODU has endured its share of ups and downs this season, as effectively.
The Monarchs posted a 20-17 house win in opposition to Virginia Tech and suffered a 16-14 loss at Virginia through the opening three weeks. They began 2-0 in Solar Belt play due to house wins in opposition to Arkansas State and Coastal Carolina however have dropped 4 straight video games for the reason that highway win at Coastal, when Blake Watson accounted for 259 of his workforce’s 323 dashing yards.
ODU quarterback Hayden Wolff (6-foot-5, 235 kilos) has thrown for greater than 230 yards in six video games this yr, however the offense has been with out 6-8 tight finish Zack Kuntz (a Penn State switch who suffered a season-ending harm on Oct. 1) and 6-2 receiver Ali Jennings III (who suffered a season-ending harm after he had produced 54 catches for 959 yards and 9 touchdowns via 9 video games).
“Their quarterback, he can actually throw the soccer, and he can run to achieve success when he has to,” Clark stated. “He actually spreads the ball round. However for those who simply put together for one factor, they will beat you within the run recreation. You return to the Coastal recreation, they run the counter play 1,000,000 alternative ways to achieve success and hold Coastal’s offense off the sphere.”
Third-down stops continued to be a problem for App State’s protection at Marshall, the place the Mountaineers restricted the Thundering Herd to three.3 yards per keep on 37 makes an attempt.
Outdated Dominion’s protection is led by linebacker Jason Henderson, whose 166 tackles are 39 greater than the whole from the nation’s second-leading tackler and 97 greater than the second-leading tackler on ODU’s workforce.
For comparability’s sake, the Monarchs have been credited with 889 stops (solo tackles and assists) this season, with 785 offensive performs run by their opponents. App State has defended 641 offensive performs and totaled 648 tackles, together with a team-high 58 from Logan Doublin.
ODU ranks one hundred and thirtieth amongst 131 groups nationally in time of possession, so App State will work to remain forward of the chains, create extra manageable third-down conditions and depend on its balanced offense to attain at an environment friendly charge.
Regardless of permitting 196.5 dashing yards per recreation and 245.0 passing yards per recreation for a 441.5 whole that ranks thirteenth within the Solar Belt, the Monarchs enable 26.5 factors per contest partially as a result of they’ve compelled 18 turnovers (with 11 interceptions).
“They don’t seem to be a 3-7 soccer workforce,” Clark stated. “They’ve a variety of good gamers and a variety of combat on that workforce.”