The Appalachian State Mountaineers (7-2) will host the South Alabama Jaguars (5-4) Saturday in a Sun Belt matchup. The Mountaineers are 4-1 in the conference, and South Alabama is 2-4.
Trotter returns to the starting role for South AlabamaSouth Alabama fell to 4-5 against the spread on the season with a 31-24 road loss as a 3.5-point dog to Troy. The Jaguars held a 22 to 17 first down and 335 to 308 total yardage advantage in the loss but committed two turnovers compared to only one for Troy. Adding insult to injury, the Jaguars lost their top quarterback Jake Bentley to a torn MCL after only attempting three passes against Troy. Bentley is a sixth-year senior who played for Utah last season after spending his first four seasons at South Carolina. He has not yet been ruled out for the season but will definitely not play Saturday.
With Bentley out, South Alabama will start sophomore Desmond Trotter against Appalachian State. Last Saturday, Trotter completed 20 of 32 passes for 138 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. Trotter did also add 43 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Before playing against Troy, Trotter had only attempted two passes this season, but he is not an inexperienced quarterback. Last year, Trotter completed 64.5% of his passes for 1917 yards with 11 touchdowns and four interceptions.
On the season, South Alabama is fourth in the conference scoring 28.6 ppg and picking up 387.9 total yards per game offensively. South Alabama is also fourth in the Sun Belt, allowing 22.1 points per game and second holding the opposition to 319.3 yards per contest.
App State going for four in a rowAppalachian State is on a three-game winning streak after beating Arkansas State 48-14 as a 21.5-point road favorite on Saturday. The Mountaineers held a dominant 462 to 199 total yardage advantage in the win.
For the year, the Mountaineers are second in the Sun Belt averaging 36.2 points and 463.9 yards per game. Quarterback Chase Brice has completed 65.4% of his passes for 2,259 yards with 15 touchdowns and six interceptions. Brice played for Duke last season and was a backup from Clemson in 2018 and 2019.
The rushing attack for Applachian State is led by two backs, Nate Noel with 891 rushing yards and three touchdowns, andCamerun Peoples, who has 609 yards and 13 touchdowns. Both led backs are averaging 5.8 yards per attempt.
The Mountaineers are fifth in the conference allowing 23.3 ppg and 357.3 yards defensively.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
Appalachian State is on a roll with three straight victories, but this spread still seems too high. The Jaguars have not been beaten by more than 10-points in any game, including a 20-18 loss in early October to a Louisiana Lafayette team that is currently ranked No. 24 in the AP Top 25. That same Louisiana Lafayette team beat Applachian State 41-13 this season.
The Jaguars are without their starting quarterback Jack Bentley, but Desmond Trotter is a capable backup. Trotter is a threat to run the ball and has completed 62.5% of his throws with 21 touchdown passes against only seven interceptions in his career. The Jaguars also have enough talent on the defensive side of the ball to keep this game close. I don't believe this game will be a blowout. I expect South Alabama to cover.
Full-Game Total Pick
There have been more than 52 points scored in the last seven games played by Appalachian State, with them outscoring opponents by an average score of 45.7 to 23 over the previous three games.
South Alabama has had more than 52 total points scored in four of their last five games. I expect the trends of points to continue and will take the over here.