Home Sports College and University EXTENDING RIVALRY: App State football to host Charlotte, September 12

EXTENDING RIVALRY: App State football to host Charlotte, September 12

It will be a matchup of two highly touted QBs, including App State senior Zac Thomas (12) and Charlotte redshirt junior, Chris Reynolds. Photographic image by Craig Weston for Blowing Rock News. CLICK THUMBNAIL TO ENLARGE

By David Rogers. August 12, 2020. BOONE, NC — After having four non-conference games canceled, Appalachian State scored a scheduling “biggie” to open the 2020 college football season it was announced on Thursday. The Mountaineers will play regional rival Charlotte at Kidd-Brewer Stadium on September 12th.

COVER IMAGE: Charlotte’s all-CUSA wide receiver Victor Tucker makes a TD grab during the 2019 game between the 49ers and Mountainers. Tucker will return to Kidd-Brewer with several preseason accolades, including the Biletnikoff Watch List. Photographic image by Craig Weston for Blowing Rock News

Before the COVID-19 pandemic threw the fall sports world into disarray, App State had Power 5 road games scheduled in September at Wisconsin and Wake Forest, as well as a an FCS opener vs. Morgan State and a planned late season matchup at home vs. UMass, a Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) Independent. Until Thursday’s announcement, the Mountaineers only had Sun Belt Conference “league” games, beginning with Louisiana at home on October 7th.

Then just a sophomore, App State wide receiver Corey Sutton caught a Zac Thomas pass on his own 20, the outraced a host of Charlotte defenders to paydirt at the other end of the field. Photographic image by David Rogers for Blowing Rock News

This match-up makes sense for both teams.

Meanwhile, Conference-USA member Charlotte faced similar scheduling challenges when the 49ers season opener at Tennessee and their home opener vs. Norfolk State canceled due to coronavirus concerns.  Charlotte’s other original September matchup at Duke was moved to October 31st. A week after making the trek to face App State in Boone, Charlotte will now face North Carolina in Chapel Hill.

In 2019, Mountaineer speedster Jalen Virgil finishes a 73-yard TD run in the Charlotte shootout. CLICK TO ENLARGE.

This will be the third meeting between the Mountaineers and 49ers in as many years. In the Queen City in 2018, App State throttled back Charlotte, 45-9, before a standing room only crowd at Jerry Richardson Stadium.  The 2019 rematch at Kidd-Brewer proved a much closer contest with multiple storylines, the the least of which being that the two teams each had new head coaches. App State prevailed in what materialized as an offensive shootout, 56-41.

Our team wants to play.

“Our team wants to play,” App State’s newest “new” head coach Shawn Clark told members of the media on Thursday. Our medical staff, coaching staff, and administration have been working tirelessly to implement protocols that provide a safe environment for our players and we will continue to put their health and safety first as we prepare for the 2020 season.”

Charlotte QB Chris Reynolds led the 49ers offensive outburst in 2019 at Kidd Brewer Stadium. Photographic image by Craig Weston for Blowing Rock News. CLICK TO ENLARGE.

Appalachian State athletic director Doug Gillin worked with his counterpart at Charlotte, Mike Hill, to make the game happen.

“I would like to thank Mike Hill and his team,” said Gillin, for working with us to get this scheduled in what is a very fluid situation for all of us. This match-up makes sense for both schools.”

Among the factors leading to the game being played in Boone, Charlotte officials explained to Blowing Rock News Thursday evening, is the larger seating capacity of Kidd-Brewer Stadium since social distancing may still be a priority.

In a game of big plays, Charlotte’s QB Chris Reynolds (on ground) made up for throwing an interception picked off by App State’s Desmond Franklin (in air) by jarring the ball loose short of the goal line. Photographic image by David Rogers for Blowing Rock News.

“The schools decided to play the game in Boone due to the larger seating capacity at Kidd-Brewer Stadium in a year in which attendance may be limited due to the pandemic,” explained Tom Whiteston, Associate Athletic Director for Media Relations at Charlotte.

Now in his second year at the helm after leading the 49ers to bowl eligibility in his maiden season as Charlotte’s head coach, Will Healy understands the significance of the rematch and of the regional rivalry.

“We know the history of that (Mountaineer) program and what kind of team they have coming back,” Healy observed. “Shawn Coach is a really, really good person and he does a great job. I know he’s going to keep them rolling.

“It’s definitely going to challenge us,” Healy acknowledged, but it’s also something that should be really fun and memorable for our fans and team.”

In related news, the first preseason rankings are out this week for the Amway Coaches FBS Coaches Poll. While North Carolina was listed at the #19 spot with 415 points, Appalachian State received 31 points (35th) in the balloting. Duke tied for 47th with one vote. The Mountaineers were not the only Sun Belt team to earn recognition. Louisiana was tied with Southern Methodist and Nebraska with three points in the poll.

App State Schedule (*Sun Belt Conference game)

  • September 5 — TBD
  • September 12 — vs. Charlotte
  • September 19 — TBD
  • September 26 — TBD
  • October 7 (Wed.) — vs. Louisiana* (ESPN2)
  • October 14 (Wed.) — @ Georgia Southern* (ESPN2)
  • October 24 — vs. Arkansas State*
  • October 31 — @ Louisiana-Monroe*
  • November 7 — @ Texas State*
  • November 14 — vs. Georgia State*
  • November 21 — @ Coastal Carolina*
  • November 28 — vs. Troy*

Charlotte Schedule (*Conference USA game)

  • September 5 — TBD
  • September 12 — @ App State
  • September 19 — @ North Carolina
  • September 26 — vs. Georgia State
  • October 3 — @ Florida Atlantic*
  • October 10 — @ North Texas*
  • October 17 — vs. Florida International*
  • October 24 — vs. Texas El Paso*
  • October 31 — @ Duke
  • November 7 — @ Middle Tennessee*
  • November 14 — Bye
  • November 21 — @ Marshall*
  • November 28 — vs. Western Kentucky

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