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Previewing App State's Defense vs. Georgia Southern's Offense (2018-10-24 16:48:14)

BOONE, N.C. — A battle of Sun Belt unbeatens takes place Thursday night in Statesboro, Ga., where No. 25 Appalachian State (5-1, 3-0) will face Georgia Southern (6-1, 3-0) in Paulson Stadium.

Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on ESPNU. Locally, coverage begins at 5:30 p.m., on WATA 1450 AM/96.5 FM.
 
Today, we'll look at how the defense from App State matches up against the offense from Georgia Southern:
 
App State Defense vs. Georgia Southern Offense
 
The option is thriving again at Georgia Southern — out of the pistol formation.
 
With a fifth-ranked average of 275.6 rushing yards per game, the Eagles will attempt to get their high-powered run game going against an App State defense that has limited big plays by the opposition. While the Mountaineers have posted 19 gains of 30-plus yards from scrimmage, their defense leads the nation with just four gains of 30-plus yards allowed.
 
In fact, App State, West Virginia and Mississippi State are the only FBS defenses that haven't allowed a 50-yard gain from scrimmage.
 
Georgia Southern has put up 14 gains of 30-plus yards and three gains of 50-plus yards, as leading rusher Wesley Fields (472 yards) has a 64-yard run and quarterback Shai Werts has a 61-yard pass among his 30 completions in seven games.
 
Fields sat out a 48-31 win Saturday at New Mexico State, which is more than 1,600 miles from Statesboro, and Logan Wright rushed for 136 yards on 17 carries after totaling nine rushes in the first six games. Wesley Kennedy III added 97 yards on 16 attempts, Monteo Garrett had 76 yards on 17 rushes and Werts contributed 70 yards on six attempts.
 
"Offensively, you see a lot of speed," App State head coach Scott Satterfield said. "It starts with Shai Werts, the quarterback. He's really dynamic. If he gets on the edge, he's going to take it to the house. He's a very fast player who's done a great job with decision-making within their running game, and they have some running backs who are fast, as well."
 
With a run-first quarterback several steps behind center for Georgia Southern, App State has given walk-on running back DeMarcus Harper reps this week as a scout-team quarterback. He excelled as a dual-threat quarterback at Owen High School outside of Asheville.
 
App State defenders have talked about the importance of playing with sound gap responsibility, taking proper angles and not letting the deception of the Eagles' offense create undisciplined actions.
 
With a rotation of nine defensive linemen doing their jobs and freeing up others to make plays, App State's top four tacklers are linebackers Akeem Davis-GaitherAnthony FloryJordan Fehr and Noel Cook. The next four spots belong to defensive backs Clifton DuckDesmond FranklinAustin Exford and Tae Hayes.
 



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