Category Archives: The 411

The 411 on…Samford

An introduction to…the newest member of the Southern Conference – the Samford Bulldogs. Samford University is a private, Baptist-affiliated school located in a suburb of Birmingham, Alabama. Bobby Bowden and his son Terry Bowden have both been head coaches at the school. Their highest-ever attendance at a home football game is 11,189. (That record might fall this weekend). Educational-related fact: In 2006, the school was listed in the top 10 in the South for master’s degree institutions. Samford also has a $301 million endowment.

The Season so far: Samford started the sesaon with two comfortable wins over West Georgia and Faulkner – not quite powerhouse opponents.  The Bulldogs predictably lost to Ole Miss 34-10.  I think a lot of people expected Samford to struggle simply because they were new to the conference and were an unfamiliar foe.  However, the Bulldogs’ next loss really opened my eyes.  On the road at No. 8 Elon, Samford battled the talented Phoenix to the end before falling 23-17.  The Bulldogs had tied the score 17-17 with 11 minutes remaining in the third quarter.  Elon took the lead for good on a field goal with two minutes left in the third quarter.

Last Week: The Bulldogs picked up their first-ever Southern Conference win against Western Carolina, defeating the Catamounts 21-6. Samford rode the legs of back Chris Evans as he carried the ball 34 times for 166 yards rushing. True freshman quarterback Dustin Talliaferro was 14-of-16 for 154 yards and two touchdown passes. Speaking of Western Carolina, how bad has it gotten for them? I’m sure they picked the Samford game for homecoming because they thought they’d walk all over the new boys on the block and end up getting spanked. Is it possible that we’ll beat them even worse than we did last year?

Stat Leaders: Passing – Dustin Talliaferro 62-of-93, 640 yards, 5 touchdowns, 3 interceptions, 135.8 QB rating.  Rushing – Chris Evans 109 carries for 579 yards, 6 touchdowns. Receiving – Jonathan Lowery 15 receptions for 197 yards, 3 touchdowns; Riley Hawkins 8 receptions for 147 yards, 1 touchdown.

Team Offense: 26.2 points per game, 203.8 rushing yards per game, 158.8 passing yards per game.

Team Defense: 16.4 points per game, 83.2 rushing yards per game, 223.2 passing yards per game.

Record: 3-2 overall, 1-1 Southern Conference.


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The 411 on…The Citadel

An introduction to…The Citadel Bulldogs. App State has played The Citadel every year since the Mountaineers joined the Southern Conference in 1972. Appalachian and The Citadel have faced each other 36 times, with the Mountaineers holding a 25-11 edge. The Bulldogs have only defeated the Mountaineers three times in their history in Boone. The last meeting between the two teams ended in a 45-24 beatdown by the Mountaineers in Charleston. Armanti Edwards accounted for 291 rushing yards and four touchdowns in the game. The Bulldogs lean a bit more to the rushing game with their offense, but do have the ability to accumulate some yards through the air. I’m sure they’ll look to pass more this weekend as the Mountaineers did show some weakness defending the pass against Presbyterian.

The Season so far: The Citadel’s only loss this weekend came against in-state FBS opponent Clemson (45-17 loss).  The Bulldogs’ three other wins have come against Webber International, Princeton and Western Carolina.  How that results in a No. 12 ranking is beyond me.

Last Week: The Bulldogs rolled over Western Carolina last week 34-14 at home, improving their national ranking to No. 12 in the process. The Citadel racked up 541 yards of offense and ran for a season-best 276 yards in handing the Catamounts their 16th straight Southern Conference loss. Quarterback Bart Blanchard ran for two touchdowns and threw for another in the win. Blancard was also 19-of-28 for 265 yards. Freshman running back Asheton Jordan had 110 yards on 18 carries.

Stat Leaders: Passing – Bart Blanchard, 65 for 100, 65% completion rate, 832 yards, 7 touchdowns, 2 interceptions, 146.0 QB rating; Rushing – Asheton Jordan, 48 carries for 268 yards, 3 TDs; Receiving – Andre Roberts, 26 catches for 440 yards, 6 touchdowns.

Team Offense: 35.5 points per game, 178.8 rushing yards per game, 236.2 passing yards per game.

Team Defense: 22.5 points per game, 150.2 rushing yards per game, 172 passing yards per game.

Record: 3-1, 1-0 SoCon.

Gametime is set for 3 p.m. at Kidd-Brewer Stadium. For those of you with SportSouth, the game will be televised live.

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The 411 on…Presbyterian

An introduction: The Presbyterian Blue Hose (their mascot is a Scotsman clad in a kilt with blue stockings) come from Clinton, South Carolina. Presbyterian is a private liberal arts school with approximately 1,300 students. Fun fact: PC is also home to Cyrus, the largest bronze statue of a Scotsman in the world (per Wikipedia). The Blue Hose are in the second year of a 4-year transition into competition at the FCS level. Last year was their first year at the level and the team finished with a 6-5 record. Presbyterian competes in the Big South Conference.

Last season and this season, so far: As mentioned above, PC ended their first campaign at the FCS on a winning note. The Blue Hose played only three homes games, winning all three. Common opponents with the Apps – Furman (40-16 loss) and Western Carolina (33-20 loss). This year, PC is getting a heavy dose of Southern Conference football. Four of their seven non-conference games are against SoCon teams (Wofford, Elon, Western Carolina and Appalachian State). The results so far: Three losses. The Blue Hose’s only win came at home against Fayetteville State. Worst loss: A 66-12 hammering by Elon. PC allowed 667 yards of offense as Elon QB Scott Riddle lit them up for 386 yards and three touchdowns.

Last week: PC blew a second half lead against Western Carolina last week to lose 23-21 at home. The Blue Hose took a 14-9 lead into the fourth quarter but the Catamounts scored 14 of the game’s final 21 points to break PC’s six-game home winning streak. Needless to say, a loss to the hapless Catamounts doesn’t strike much fear in the hearts of your next opponent.

Stat Leaders: Passing – Tim Webb, 91-152, 59.9% completion rate, 956 yards, 7 touchdowns, 2 interceptions, 125.3 QB rating; Rushing – S.J. Worrell, 40 carries for 146 yards, 1 TD; Receiving – Terrance Butler, 24 catches for 317 yards, 4 TDs.

Team Offense: 23 points per game, 83.8 rushing yards per game, 239 passing yards per game.

Team Defense: 38.8 points per game, 250 rushing yards per game, 258 passing yards per game.

Record: 1-3.

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The 411 on…No. 5 James Madison

An introduction to the James Madison Dukes…As if any Appalachian fan needs an introduction to the Dukes from James Madison.  The Dukes came to Boone in Year 2 of the Dynasty in a game billed as a Battle of Champions (JMU won the national title in 2004).  The Apps won 21-10 as we saw the first glimpses of ability from Armanti Edwards.  The next meeting would have a lot more on the line when the Dukes came back to Boone last November for a first-round playoff showdown at The Rock.  JMU managed to keep the potent ASU off the field with over 40 minutes of possession.  However, a few bonehead calls by coach Mickey Matthews fumbled (literally) the game away and the Dukes were sent home crying.  The key play (and the one that I’m sure has motivated JMU all off-season) – Trailing 28-27 and deep in Appalachian territory with only seconds remaining, the Dukes elect to run one more play before attempting a chip-shot field goal that would win the game.  The result – a fumble recovered by the Apps to preserve the Dynasty.   

Last season: See above for the only thing you really need to know about last season for the Dukes.  Cue redemption article here.

Last week: James Madison is coming off a MASSIVE win 52-38 win over CAA foe UMass. JMU QB Rodney Landers exploded for over 200 yards of rushing in a game that featured 866 total yards of offense from both teams.  The Dukes raced to a 31-10 lead at halftime but the Minutemen managed to cut the score to 45-38 with six minutes remaining.  However, JMU’s Griff Yancey scored his third TD of the second half with 1:56 left to secure the win. 

Stat Leaders: Passing – Rodney Landers, 21-32, 300 yards, 66% completion rate, 158.8 QB Rating; Rushing – Rodney Landers, 45 carries for 333 yards, 4 TD (Longest carry: 47 yards, TD); Receiving – Kerby Long, 6 receptions for 95 yards, 1 TD, (Longest catch: 47 yards, TD).

Team Offense: 38 points per game, 267 yards rushing per game; 103 yards passing per game.

Team Defense: 25 points per game, 134 yards rushing per game, 202 yards passing per game.

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The 411 on… Jacksonville

Jacksonville Dolphins

An introduction to the Jacksonville Dolphins…The Dolphins come from the Pioneer Football League. Here’s a little “Did you know?” – The PFL is a football-only athletic conference which includes schools that, while playing in the FCS classification of Division I, do not award athletic scholarships to football players. PFL schools are eligible to participate in the FCS playoffs, but the conference does not receive an automatic berth.
Member schools include Butler, Campbell, Dayton, Drake, Marist, Morehead State, Valparaiso, the University of San Diego and our SoCon brethren, Davidson College.

A private school with 3,100 students, Jacksonville (located in Jacksonville, Florida) is also the first NCAA school to have chosen the Dolphin as a mascot. Quite pioneering.

Last season: Last year wasn’t one to remember for the Dolphins as they stumbled to a 3-8 overall record under first year coach Kerwin Bell. From the St. Petersburg Times:

Kerwin Bell begins his second season with the unpleasant task of replacing 11 starters from a three-win team. Bell’s offense set plenty of school passing records despite struggling in the conference with the worst scoring offense (21.8 points per game). The Dolphins will likely look to sophomore Erik Stepelton to replace three-year starter Chris Horton, JU’s all-time leading passer. He’ll look to develop some chemistry with senior receiver Geavon Tribble, who replaces a pair of career 1,000-yard receivers in Nate Conner and Michael Jenner. That could mean more of a running game with sophomore Rudell Small returning after rushing for 490 yards and nine touchdowns. Defensively, the Dolphins lose five starters from a group that ranked last in the conference in several categories, including total defense (427.3 yards per game) and scoring defense (31.9 points per game). JU cornerback Robson Noel returns after leading the team with 88 tackles.

Last week: Jacksonville comes into Boone fresh off a 20-7 victory over Savannah State. Freshman QB Josh McGregor lead the Dolphins to three scoring drives and finished the game with 159 yards on 9-of-14 passing. He also rushed for a 13-yard touchdown to score Jacksonville’s first TD of the season. After their road trip to App State, the Dolphins will play their first home game of the season against Campbell University.

Stat Leaders: Passing – Josh McGregor, 9-14, 159 yards, 64.3% completion rate, 159.7 QB Rating; Rushing – Rudell Small, 25 carries for 109 yards, 0 TD (Longest carry: 13 yards); Receiving – Geavon Tribble, 5 receptions for 81 yards, 0 TD, (Longest catch: 35 yards).

Team Offense: 20 points per game, 102 yards rushing per game; 252 yards passing per game.

Team Defense: 7 points per game, 125 yards rushing per game, 101 yards passing per game.

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The 411 on…LSU

Louisiana State University Tigers

Stadium: Tiger Stadium, a.k.a Death Valley.

I’ve been to this stadium for an SEC conference game and it’s LOUD. There is a definite home-field advantage for the Tigers by playing in this 92,400-seat stadium. The tailgating atmosphere around the stadium is unbelievable. I don’t expect the Tiger faithful to be mean to any App fans in attendance (as long as App fans don’t try to provoke them). LSU also maintains a tiger cage for their live mascot, Mike the Tiger. Scary.

Last Season: I’m sure I don’t need to tell you because if you don’t know that LSU was the BCS National Champion, then you obviously haven’t followed college football.  Les Miles made several gutsy calls last year and even lost two games but managed to fight off the distraction of the Michigan job to lead the Tigers back to the BCS title game.  LSU finished the season 12-2 and is also the defending SEC champion.

This Season: The Tigers are slightly underrated this year, mainly because of the departure of defensive freak Glenn Dorsey and the uncertainty with their quarterback situation.  While this year’s unit might not have the star power of last season, the 2008 version will be fast and powerful.  As Richard from And the Valley Shook said, the QB controversy shouldn’t really be that much of a concern to LSU fans because their offensive line is going to be one of the best in the conference and they are deep at the RB position.  I know many of you have said this yourselves and know this, but it’s going to take a monumental effort for the Apps to knock off LSU.

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