One of Scott Satterfield’s most memorable moments as a college football player came in 1995 when he quarterbacked Appalachian State to a 24-22 upset of in-state rival Wake Forest.
It’s a win he hopes to duplicate Saturday now that he’s coaching his alma mater.
As meaningful as that earlier victory might have been, beating the Deacons this time around would be even more special for Satterfield and his players because of where the game is being held.
After playing the first 22 times in the series with Wake in Winston-Salem between 1975-2001, the “big boys” from the ACC have finally agreed to make their first trip up the mountain to Kidd Brewer Stadium.
“It’s two really good programs that are an hour-and-a-half apart and our fan bases really get excited about the matchup,” Satterfield said earlier this week on the Conference USA weekly coaches teleconference. “For us to host the game for the first time is going to be tremendously exciting for our fans, our students and alumni to come back and watch an ACC opponent on our home field.”
Wake Forest at App State
Kidd Brewer Stadium, Boone | Saturday, 3:30 p.m. | ESPN3
This isn’t the first time an ACC team has ventured to Boone for a game. The Mountaineers hosted Miami last September for a matchup that received considerable hoopla before ending in disappointment and a 45-10 loss.
But this is different.
Having an in-state school from a Power 5 conference coming to visit further legitimizes a program that has made rapid strides since making the jump to the FBS level in 2014. Appalachian has won 10 or more games in each of the past two seasons and won a share of the Conference USA championship a year ago.
“It has been a push since we made the move to FBS to get some of these games on the schedule and particularly get them up here to Boone to continue to elevate our program and put more of a spotlight on the program nationally,” said Satterfield, who credited athletic director Doug Gillin for bringing about the schedule enhancements. “Our administration has been a big part of getting these games.”
A sellout crowd is expected Saturday. But the excitement, according to Wake coach Dave Clawson, isn’t limited to Boone.
“In-state rivalries are good for college football,” he said at his regular weekly press conference on Tuesday. “Fans want to see these games. There’s a buzz in the air this week.”
Clawson’s Deacons lead the all-time series 14-7-1, but the Mountaineers won three of the last five meetings before the schools stopped playing 16 years ago.
Saturday’s renewal figures to be a competitive, with both teams featuring veteran lineups.
Satterfield said he’s particularly wary of Wake now that it has added a more potent offense to an already stout defense. The Deacons ranked last in the ACC scoring a year ago, but are averaging 43.7 points per game in their first three games this season — all wins — behind the talents of veteran quarterback John Wolford and freshman playmakers Greg Dortch and Arkeem Byrd.
“Defensively they’ve been really, really good and now this year it looks like the offense has caught up with the defense,” Satterfield said. “They’re hitting on all cylinders. They’re all that you’d want in a good program.”
Clawson is equally impressed with an App State attack led by quarterback Taylor Lamb and a defense that limited Texas State to 283 yards and 13 points in a road win last week.
“There’s no obvious weakness with this football team,” Clawson said of the 2-1 Mountaineers. “They’re well-coached on all three sides. This will be a really tough test.”