By David Rogers. September 2, 2017. ATHENS, GA –If there was a moral victory in Appalachian State’s 31-10 loss to #15-ranked Georgia Saturday evening, it was that it took almost the full first quarter for the Bulldogs to score, a touchdown with 39 seconds left.
Appalachian head coach Scott Satterfield was quick to credit the Bulldogs for being “a very good football team” in talking with reporters afterwards, but indicated that the major differences in the game were the many mistakes by his charges on both sides of the ball, both in terms of play execution as well as penalties.
Flagged 11 times for 105 yards in penalties, often at key moments that destroyed any semblance of offensive momentum, Satterfield noted, “You can’t give up those kinds of penalties even to an average team and expect to be successful.”
Satterfield also lamented the fact that his offense could not establish its “bread and butter” rushing attack, forcing the defense to be on the field far too much.
“Our defense was playing great for most of the first half,” he said. “I think they were a bit tired in the second half.
“But the way we finished the game,” the fifth year Mountaineer mentor shared, “that was Appalachian football. We don’t quit.”
You can’t play an average team and make that many mistakes (much less a very good team like Georgia) and expect to be successful.
The vaunted Georgia rushing tandem of Nick Chubb and Sony Michel lived up to their billing toward the end of the first quarter, but a lot of the Bulldogs’ offensive momentum was established with the appearance of reserve quarterback Jake Fromm. The freshman signal caller was called upon when sophomore star Jacob Eason was injured on a late hit by App State’s defensive lineman Myquon Stout. Not only were the Mountaineers penalized, giving Georgia a valuable first down, but the very character of the game seemed to change from that moment on. Fromm proved to be highly mobile, as well as an effective passer and the passing success undoubtedly was a key to Chubb’s and Michel’s rushing performance from that point on.
Chubb sat out all of the 4th quarter, but still proved the game’s leading rusher with 96 yards on 15 carries, including 2 TDs. Michel carried the ball 16 times for 89 yards and one TD.
Where Appalachian had choked off the Bulldogs offense up to the point of Eason’s injury, in relief Fromm finished 10-of-15 passing for 143 yards and one TD. By comparison, in his 2+ possessions of work, Eason was 1-of-3 for just 4 yards, and was sacked once.
On Appalachian’s side, senior QB Taylor Lamb completed 18 of 27 passes for 128 yards, and was sacked twice. He also was the Mountaineers leading rusher, scrambling 10 times for a net of 66 yards and one TD. Junior running back Jalin Moore was kept in check as the Bulldogs seemed to stack the box against the run. Moore struggled for a net of 38 yards gained on 13 carries.
While Satterfield had indicated that the Mountaineer offense might feature a more downfield attack this season, that strategy was compromised by injuries to senior wide receiver Shaedon Meadors and sophomore speedster WR Darrynton Evans, both of whom were held out of Saturday’s appearance in Athens. Jalen Virgil, a prized redshirt freshman WR from nearby Lawrenceville, GA, was also limited this week in practice because of an leg injury.
Lamb, speaking with reporters afterwards, said, “I am real proud of our three true freshmen who started tonight. Thomas Hennigan and Malik Williams both started at wide receiver and were significant contributors, as well as Noah Hannon at center.”
The Mountaineers return to the friendly confines of Kidd-Brewer Stadium next Saturday, September 9th, to face Savannah State in a 3:30 pm matchup that will be televised on ESPN3.