Appalachian State will be rewarded for its upset win over then-No. 6 Texas A&M when it hosts Troy in a nationally televised showdown on Saturday afternoon. ESPN’s College GameDay show will be on site in Boone, North Carolina, leading up to the game between the Mountaineers and Trojans. Troy is coming off a 38-17 win over Alabama A&M, while Appalachian State sprung a huge upset with its 17-14 win over the Aggies.
Trojans double-digit underdogs against Mountaineers againTroy has already had one tough road game this season, losing in a 28-10 final at then-No. 21 Ole Miss on Sept. 3. The Trojans were able to bounce back from that setback with their 38-17 win over Alabama A&M last week but were not even close to covering the 37.5-point spread. They took a 31-3 lead early in the fourth quarter before allowing Alabama A&M to score a pair of touchdowns down the stretch. Troy has struggled to compete with Appalachian State in recent years, losing 47-10 in 2020 and 45-7 last year. The Trojans are double-digit underdogs for the fifth consecutive meeting between these teams.
Their offense is led by junior quarterback Gunnar Watson, who has completed 70.4% of his passes for 626 yards and five touchdowns, but he has also thrown three interceptions. Sophomore wide receiver Jabre Barber has caught 10 passes for a team-high 165 yards and one touchdown, while wideout Rajae Johnson has added seven receptions for 112 yards and two scores. Their rushing attack has not had much success during the first two games of the year, though. Running back Kimani Vidal has carried the ball 22 times for just 86 yards, averaging 3.9 yards per touch. He is facing an Appalachian State defense that allowed one offensive touchdown, nine first downs and 186 total yards against Texas A&M last week. Jalen McLeod had a career-high two sacks, while Nick Ross notched a career-high seven tackles—McLeod was named the Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Week. Nick Hampton and Dexter Lawson Jr. both recovered fumbles in the upset.
Mountaineers coming off thrilling upset winThere has not been a college football team that has had as wild of a start to the 2022 season as Appalachian State, which opened the year with a 63-61 loss to North Carolina and followed it up with the massive upset win over a top-10 team last week. Head coach Shawn Clark was named the national coach of the week. The Mountaineers scored 40 fourth-quarter points in the loss to the Tar Heels, but their defense stepped up in the 17-14 win at Texas A&M. Veteran quarterback Chase Brice threw for 361 yards against North Carolina before being held to 134 yards against the Aggies. The rushing attack has been consistent through two games, with running back Nate Noel posting 116 yards in Week 1 and Camerun Peoples tallying 112 yards last week.
Thanks to all of you watching. Season is off to a great start. Boone and @AppState_FB we are coming to your city next! Make it the best scene yet. Let us know what the can’t miss stops are in town. pic.twitter.com/pilM0F5pHJ— Rece Davis (@ReceDavis) September 13, 2022
Peoples shouldered the full load against Texas A&M, as Noel was sidelined due to an injury—his status for this game has not been updated. The Mountaineers also have a third option in Daetrich Harrington, who has rushed 17 times for 81 yards this season. Brice completed a pass to nine different receivers against Texas A&M, so he likes to spread the ball around. This will be the first time Appalachian State has hosted a College GameDay show, and it comes one week after the program’s first win against a top-10 opponent since the famous win over No. 5 Michigan in 2007. The Mountaineers are facing a Troy defense that ranks No. 89 nationally in yards allowed per game (394.5).
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
This might not be an ideal scheduling spot for Appalachian State, as it did not get home from Texas A&M until late Sunday morning and is having to bounce back emotionally from that program-defining win, but I still like the Mountaineers to win by double digits on Saturday. They are no stranger to being a double-digit favorite against Troy, as this will be the fifth consecutive time they have been in that position. That has not stopped them from covering the spread three years in a row, and they have arguably their best roster this time around. Troy did not have enough firepower to hang with Ole Miss in Week 1 or to cover the spread against Alabama A&M in Week 2, so I expect that to hurt them down the stretch again on Saturday. Appalachian State is 18-2 in its last 20 home games and will be playing in front of an electric crowd that is excited to have ESPN’s College GameDay show on hand.
Full-Game Total Pick
Troy’s defense has not been good this season, barely sitting in the top 100 in the FBS in yards allowed per game. I have no choice but to take the over in this contest, as Appalachian State has proven itself offensively. The Mountaineers put up 61 points against North Carolina in their opener before scoring 21 points against one of the best defenses in college football last week. Troy has had more success through the air than on the ground, which is a factor that bodes well for the over. The Trojans have gone over the total in six of their last eight games, and these teams have cashed the over in five of their last seven head-to-head meetings.