After splitting its first four games of the season, Appalachian State begins Sun Belt Conference play this weekend when it travels to face Louisiana-Monroe, which is coming off a 47-3 road loss at Texas A&M.
The game — the eighth in a series of head-to-head matchups (which App State has largely dominated) — serves as a near must-win scenario for both teams that are hunting to get off to a strong start in the conference while avoiding their second consecutive losses.
Appalachian State at Louisiana-Monroe
Saturday, 8 p.m., ESPN+
App State: 2-2 (0-0 Sun Belt)
UL Monroe: 2-1 (0-0 Sun Belt)
App State leads series 6-1; the Mountaineers won 59-28 in their most recent meeting two seasons ago
Players to Watch
App State quarterback Joey Aguilar — The junior from California entered this season as App’s backup quarterback behind Ryan Burger but has quickly taken control of the position. Aguilar has three consecutive 200-yard-plus passing performances, although Wyoming’s defense prevented him from scoring a touchdown last week. Junior wideout Kaedin Robinson has emerged as one of Aguilar’s best targets, averaging nearly 16 yards per reception.
UL Monroe wide receiver Tyrone Howell — In an offense largely built around the run, the Warhawks senior is responsible nearly half of his team’s total receptions and its lone touchdown catch to date. Howell is vital to a team that ranks 132nd in national passing offense. If the Mountaineers’ secondary can limit Howell and force UL Monroe to rely solely on the run, App should have a good shot to shut down the Warhawks.
Betonline.ag: App State -13.5, over/under 50.5