A lot has changed in the 10 years since Appalachian State shocked Michigan in front of 100,000-plus at the Big House in what is generally considered the greatest upset in college football history.
The Mountaineers are no longer a plucky little FCS team hoping to knock off one of the big boys with a slingshot and a prayer. They’ve evolved into a full-fledged FBS member coming off back-to-back 10-win seasons, with a conference title to their credit.
One thing that hasn’t changed is their tradition of taking on some of college football’s most venerable blue bloods. Over the past few years, they’ve gone head-to-head with the likes of LSU, Clemson, Tennessee and Miami — taking the Volunteers to overtime in Knoxville before falling a year ago.
Appalachian State at Georgia
Sanford Stadium, Athens, Ga. | Saturday, 6:15 p.m. | ESPN
So while coach Scott Satterfield and his would-be giant killers will be a decided underdog when they venture between the hedges to play Georgia in Athens on Saturday, the one thing they won’t be is intimidated.
“I like our guys. I like the way our guys have been playing, and I think our guys will be able to go out and make some plays,” Satterfield said Monday on the Sun Belt Conference’s weekly teleconference. “We’ve got to execute and do the things we’ve been teaching them to do, and I think they will.”
App State should be well-schooled in Satterfield’s teachings, with its starting quarterback, leading rusher and top receiver all back from last year’s Camellia Bowl championship team. Taylor Lamb completed 60.6 percent of his passes in 2016 for 2,281 yards and 15 touchdowns. Jalin Moore ran for 1,450 yards and 10 scores while Shaedon Meadors caught 45 passes for 716 yards.
All that experience, though, will only go so far against an opponent that is the preseason favorite to win the SEC East.
“The experience they have coming back is one of the things that for us, is making it really challenging because those guys have played so much ball and really been a solid football team,” Satterfield said. “Anytime you bring back a quarterback, two running backs like they have and a defense that’s loaded with guys that have played a ton of football, it’s going to be challenging. But it’s one our kids are looking forward to.”