App State Makes Long-Awaited Home Debut Against GWU (2018-09-21 11:49:17)

BOONE, N.C. — Belatedly, it's time for the home opener at Kidd Brewer Stadium.

After beginning the 2018 season with back-to-back road games and having an unexpected bye weekend with the hurricane-based cancelation of Southern Miss' visit to Boone, Appalachian State (1-1) will make its home debut Saturday against in-state FCS program Gardner-Webb (1-2).

Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 p.m., and the Heroes Day game will be available on ESPN+.

Calendar-wise, it will be the latest home opener at Kidd Brewer Stadium since 1992, when App State followed consecutive road games against Wake Forest and NC State with a bye week and then a Sept. 26 visit from East Tennessee State.

"Our guys right now, it's still early in the season, and they're anxious to play and anxious to continue to prove themselves," App State head coach Scott Satterfield said. "They're fun to watch here in practice, and I can't wait to watch them play on Saturday."

With a 45-38 overtime loss at No. 9 Penn State and a 45-9 win at Charlotte preceding last weekend's idle Saturday, Appalachian ranks sixth nationally with a five-game streak of posting at least 30 points, dating back to the 2017 season. The Mountaineers managed to score touchdowns on offense, defense (Austin Exford's fumble recovery in the end zone) and special teams (Thomas Hennigan's 59-yard punt return) against the 49ers.

App State's final nonconference game before a Sun Belt opener against visiting South Alabama comes against a Gardner-Webb program that is 0-7 against the Mountaineers and 0-6 in Boone. The last meeting was a 45-7 victory for Appalachian in 2007, a year after Dexter Jackson scored on punt returns of 68 and 86 yards in a 41-6 win.

There are plenty of ties between the two programs, starting with Gardner-Webb head coach Carroll McCray, who worked at App State from 1984-88 as a graduate assistant and then an outside linebackers coach.

Appalachian running back Jalin Moore and defensive end Chris Willis were both standouts at Crest High School in Boiling Springs, as Moore grew up a half-mile from Gardner-Webb's stadium, and center Noah Hannon's grandfather, Keith, participated in preseason camp as a Gardner-Webb player before entering the military. Hannon's father, Chad, has a cousin, Ray, who is in that school's Hall of Fame after he excelled at quarterback for Gardner-Webb's first senior football team.

With Hannon in the middle of App State's offensive line, the Mountaineers hope Moore and the rushing game have a breakthrough performance after two contests in which quarterback Zac Thomas led a dynamic passing attack. Willis is part of a defense that recorded three sacks, nine tackles for loss and seven quarterback hurries in its last game.

"Gardner-Webb, we'll get their best shot, so we have to go out and play well and execute well," Satterfield said. "Our guys are fired up to play our first game at home. I feel like we've been playing for a while, and this is our first chance to play in front of our home crowd, and we're excited about that."

It will be a special afternoon in Boone, where 50 years of women's sports and the accomplishments of the 2008 football team will be recognized. That team went 8-0 in the Southern Conference to win a fourth straight league title.

Previewing App State's Defense vs. Gardner-Webb's Offense

BOONE, N.C. — After having last weekend's scheduled home opener against Southern Miss canceled because of Hurricane Florence, Appalachian State is now set to make its 2018 debut in Kidd Brewer Stadium with a nonconference game against in-state FCS program Gardner-Webb on Saturday.

Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 p.m., and the game will be available on ESPN+.

Today, we'll look at how the defense from App State (1-1) matches up against the offense from Gardner-Webb (1-2):

App State Defense vs. Gardner-Webb Offense

The Mountaineers are making progress from week to week.

After Penn State played a turnover-free game in an overtime victory to begin the 2018 season, App State intercepted a pass and recovered a fumble in its 45-9 win at Charlotte.

The Mountaineers want to be even more productive in that category moving forward.

"That's the one thing we haven't done well yet," App State head coach Scott Satterfield said. "We've done a good job defensively, but creating turnovers is something we have to do a lot better job at."

The Charlotte game was a good starting point. A penalty for roughing the passer negated a third-quarter interception by strong safety Josh Thomas, but free safety Desmond Franklin intercepted a pass early in the next series. He returned the ball 46 yards to the Charlotte 1 but fumbled through the end zone for a touchback while diving toward the pylon in an attempt to score.

A fumble recovery a few minutes later resulted directly in a defensive touchdown, as Austin Exford pounced on a botched handoff in the end zone. It was App State's first touchdown via a fumble recovery since Devan Stringer scored on a 77-yard return against Old Dominion early in the 2015 season.

App State's defense succeeded in a lot of areas against the 49ers, who were held without a touchdown.

The Mountaineers' three sacks included contributions from outside linebacker Noel Cook, defensive end Okon Godwin, inside linebacker Jordan Fehr, safety Ryan Huff and defensive tackle Brody Barrett. The team's nine tackles for loss included additional help from Exford (who had a fourth-down stop behind the line), Akeem Davis-Gaither, Tae Hayes, Elijah Diarrassouba and Demetrius Taylor. Meanwhile, Jermaine McDaniel accounted for two of the team's seven quarterback hurries.

"Hopefully our defensive line will be able to use their speed," Satterfield said.

That depth will be on display against a shotgun-based Gardner-Webb offense that produced five of the seven touchdowns in a 52-17 win against Limestone but was held to one touchdown over the course of back-to-back losses to North Carolina A&T and Western Carolina.

Jayln Cagle, a 202-pound junior, leads the team with 227 rushing yards thanks to his 117-yard opener, and redshirt freshman quarterback Jordan Smith is a run-pass threat who averages 163.7 yards through the air per game. He's been intercepted four times and sacked nine times.

What’s New For App State Football Game Days In 2018

BOONE, N.C. - Appalachian State kicks off its 2018 home football schedule in Kidd Brewer Stadium on Saturday. The Mountaineers will face Gardner-Webb in their home opener and play a total of five regular-season home games in 2018.

As with every season, App State Athletics has listened to the fans and made a number of enhancements to the game-day environment at The Rock. Following is a comprehensive list of stadium and game-day experience enhancements that are new or improved for the 2018 season, as well as other game-day changes.

• Game Day Camp for Kids

Appalachian State Athletics will be offering a Game Day Camp for Kids ages 5-14 during each home game.

App State student-athletes and staff will be instructing this day camp for kids in the Sofield Indoor Practice Facility during football games. Games and snacks will be provided.

Each child needs to be registered ahead of time at a cost of $30 per camper, although walk-ups will be allowed for the home opener. Discounts are available at $5 off per camper for siblings and $5 off for Yosef Club or Junior Mountaineer Kids Club members. Register online here at this link.

The camp opens 45 minutes prior to kickoff and concludes 30 minutes after the game. Patrons may drop off campers by foot at the Sofield Indoor Building front entrance. There will be no vehicle access at the entrance due to game day parking restrictions.

• Rock Garten

A beer garden with options from local breweries, the Rock Garten will be located on the East Plaza near "The Rock" and the Mountaineer Gameday pregame radio show set, with an entrance accessible from Stadium Drive. Enhancing the pregame atmosphere around Kidd Brewer Stadium and providing a communal location for fans who may not have a spot to tailgate, the Rock Garten will open three hours prior to kickoff and close just before kickoff.

You must be 21 years of age or older to purchase a beer ticket, which will be a cash-only transaction, and an ATM will be on site. A hot dog vendor will be on site featuring beef and veggie options as well as bratwursts and smoked sausages. The hot dog cart will be located outside of the barricaded area.

• Concessions

This year, Appalachian Food Services is operating concessions in Kidd Brewer Stadium and unveiling Mountaineer Concessions to bring signature menu items and game day classics to The Rock.

The Yosef's Snack Bar locations will have options that include hot dogs, nachos, sausages with peppers/onions and hot pretzels. The Smoke House: Hall of Flame specializes in smoked brisket, and The Sweet Shop will have items such as housemade cake doughnuts, cinnamon sugar popcorn, hot cocoa and coffee.

Local options from Woodlands Barbeque, The Cardinal, Captain Jim's Seafood, Appalachia Cookie Company and J&J's Hawaiian Ice and The Farmer's Wife Fried Pies will still be available.

In order to utilize resources to better serve fans, Appalachian Food Services is making all Pepsi products available in recyclable bottles, with no souvenir cups or ice available in the Mountaineer Concessions locations. The grab-and-go coolers are designed to shorten lines and also clear space in the concession stands.

• Postgame festivities

The Marching Mountaineers will perform on the field after home games this year, and fans will be able to join the football team on the field to interact with players and coaches after two home games: this weekend's home opener against Gardner-Webb and the regular-season finale against Troy on Nov. 24.

• Game Day Promotions

This weekend's home opener is Heroes Day at Kidd Brewer Stadium. There will be on-field recognition of 50 years of women's sports at Appalachian State as well as the 2008 football team that won a Southern Conference championship with an 8-0 record.

The rescheduled Hall of Fame celebration will be held Nov. 17. Members of Appalachian State's 2018 Hall of Fame class are Mark Fee (wrestling, 1999-2003), Anna Freeman Healy (women's basketball, 2009-13), Wes Hobson (baseball, 2007-10), Corey Lynch (football, 2003-07), Marques Murrell (football, 2003-06) and D.J. Thompson (men's basketball, 2003-07).

The remaining promotions for the 2017 home schedule are:
Homecoming is scheduled for the Sept. 29 home game against South Alabama.
Family Weekend is scheduled for the Oct. 20 home game against Louisiana.
Black Saturday is scheduled for the Nov. 17 home game against Georgia State.
Senior Day is scheduled for the Nov. 24 home game against Troy.
• Other items of note:
The Hunger and Health Coalition will collect food items (collecting in the East plaza) at every home football game this year.
New hand rails have been added in the West Side stands to make the steps easier to use
Temporary bleachers will not be placed in front of Owens Field House so that construction on the north end zone facility can begin as soon as possible once the home schedule is complete, and the Marching Mountaineers will move to the east side of Kidd Brewer Stadium.
Construction projects will have minimal effect on game day parking for the 2018 season, as the Yosef Club communicated with the 34 Stadium Lot accounts that were affected.
Fans who don't have a parking pass for game days can park at the Human Services lot at 132 Poplar Grove Connector (between the west end of King Street and Poplar Grove Road/Rivers Street) with a single-game, cash-only rate of $20. Cash can be obtained from an on-site ATM, and a game day space for the entire 2018 season is available to new Yosef Club members at the $100 level or higher with the purchase of season tickets.
To recap some of the game day amenities and policies that remain in place:

• Clear Bag Policy

All ticketed events in Kidd Brewer Stadium will continue to have a clear bag policy (full info here).

The policy was implemented to enhance patron safety and expedite entry into Kidd Brewer Stadium by reducing the time required searching bags at stadium gates. This policy aligns with other clear bag policies from NCAA FBS institutions and the National Football League.

Appalachian State University athletics encourages all fans to adhere to the clear bag policy and leave unauthorized items at home or in their cars.

• Ticket Scanners

Last year, new ticket scanners arrived to create a more efficient entrance for fans arriving at Kidd Brewer Stadium. In the event of heavy rains, ticket stubs likely will be torn instead of scanned.

• Handicap/ADA Parking Opportunities

In an effort to accommodate the need for handicap parking spaces, parking for App State football fans with a valid, state-issued disability parking tag is available at the Hill Street parking lot. A shuttle will continue to run from the Hill Street lot before and after the game. Additional postgame shuttles have been added this year to help speed up the exit process for those in the ADA lot.

For more information on handicap/ADA parking, click here

• Ticket Promotions

For the Sept. 29 homecoming game against South Alabama, the App State Athletics ticket office is offering discounting tickets for $35 (maximum purchase of four tickets) to the first 2,000 alums who sign up for the deal. Use the promo code Alumni18 when visiting the ticket site at this link.

For tickets to other games, visit the main ticket site at this link.

Season ticket holders and single-game buyers can call the athletics ticket office at 828-262-2079 to exchange their ticket(s) from the canceled Southern Miss game for the same number of reserved or general admission ticket(s) to a future home game (not including the Oct. 20 game vs. Louisiana). These tickets will be allocated based on availability.

Those season ticket holders and single-game buyers who are not able to exchange their tickets for another game during the 2018 regular season can request a $35 discount (per ticket) off the following ticket opportunities:
2018-19 Men's Basketball Season Tickets
2018-19 Women's Basketball Season Tickets
2018-19 Wrestling Season Tickets
2019 Baseball Season Tickets
2018 Bowl Game Tickets
2019 Football Season Tickets
Requests for 2018 bowl game and 2019 football season ticket discounts must be made in writing to the Appalachian State Athletics ticket office ( no later than Friday, Oct. 5. These offers are not available should tickets be exchanged during the 2018 regular season.

Students who purchased a student guest ticket for the Southern Miss game can call the athletics ticket office at 828-262-2079 to exchange it for a student guest ticket to a future home game.

Season club and suite holders can call the athletics ticket office at 828-262-2079 to exchange their Southern Miss ticket(s) for the same number of reserved or general admission ticket(s) to a future home game (not including the Oct. 20 game vs. Louisiana). These tickets will be allocated based on availability.

The deadline to redeem your ticket from the canceled game is Friday, Oct. 5 at noon. Redemption opportunities include only regular-season home games and not a potential appearance in the Sun Belt Conference Championship Game.

• NCAA Football Rule Changes for 2018

Information on rule changes approved by the NCAA for the 2017 football season is available by clicking here.