Previewing App State's Offense vs. Charlotte's Defense (2018-09-07 13:24:00)

BOONE, N.C. — After opening the season with an overtime thriller at Penn State, Appalachian State returns to action Saturday

with another first-time opponent: Charlotte. Separated by less than two hours, the Mountaineers and 49ers will meet for the first time in a 6 p.m. game at Richardson Stadium on ESPN+.
Today, we'll look at how the App State offense matches up against Charlotte's defense:
App State Offense vs. Charlotte Defense
Appalachian State is moving forward from an opener in which it scored 38 points, or one fewer than the school record against a program that's currently in a Power Five conference. The Mountaineers won 39-34 against South Carolina in 1975.
App State gained 266 yards and averaged 9.5 yards per play during a 28-point fourth quarter in Happy Valley. New starting quarterback Zac Thomas' three fourth-quarter touchdowns included two touchdown passes to Malik Williams, and Jalin Moore broke several tackles on his go-ahead, 16-yard touchdown run in the final two minutes.
Left guard Ryan Neuzil joined Williams (four catches for 66 yards), Moore (124 all-purpose yards with 88 on the ground and 36 via a career-high five catches) on the grade-based PFF College Football site's Sun Belt Team of the Week.
Neuzil, center Noah Hannon, left tackle Victor Johnson, right tackle Chandler Greer, starting right guard Baer Hunter and fellow right guard Cole Garrison helped the Mountaineers gain 91 yards on 12 rushing attempts in the fourth quarter. Corey Sutton had three catches for 75 yards in the fourth quarter alone, as he was one of nine App State players to make a reception.
The Mountaineers will attempt to keep rolling against a Charlotte defense that tied Wyoming for the best mark in the country by allowing minus-9 yards rushing last weekend. Fordham had 16 official rushing attempts with four sacks and a long gain of 7 yards.
Free safety Ben DeLuca had a team-high six tackles after leading the country last season with five forced fumbles. Along the line, the 49ers are expected to have defensive lineman and 6-4 junior college transfer Dantrell Barkley available after he missed the Fordham opener.

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Derrick's Fourth-Down Pass to Heath A Testament To Preparation

BOONE, N.C. — Last weekend's opener featured a successful debut for more than one Appalachian State quarterback.
First-time starter Zac Thomas accounted for 313 total yards and three touchdowns in a 45-38 overtime loss to Penn State. He missed one fourth-quarter snap after taking a hard hit from three defenders.
Redshirt freshman Peyton Derrick stepped in and played for the first time in his App State career, firing a 22-yard pass to Dominique Heathin a fourth-and-2 scenario from the Penn State 24.
The Mountaineers trailed 24-10 at the time, and Derrick's clutch completion preceded a touchdown that was part of a 28-point fourth quarter. With a road game at Charlotte this weekend, his brief cameo in Happy Valley was a testament to the importance of preparation and seizing the moment.
"I knew going into it that you're one play away, so I have to be prepared," Derrick said. "Zac had a great game, and he set us up to where we were in it in the fourth quarter. I saw him take that hit and knew immediately that I needed to warm up. For ever how long I needed to go in, if it was one play or the rest of the game, I just had to be ready."
Derrick, who redshirted in 2017 after arriving in Boone from Conway, S.C., helped the Mountaineers go 10-for-16 through the air for 175 yards in the fourth quarter alone at Penn State. Thomas' 15-yard scramble on a third-and-17 play set up the pressure-packed appearance from Derrick, who took a shotgun snap with running back Jalin Moore to his right, three receivers to the left and all 11 defenders close to the line of scrimmage.
With Heath covered in the slot by safety Nick Scott with no over-the-top help available, Derrick floated a pass toward the left pylon. Heath came down with a contested catch at the 2 to prolong the drive.
"I just told myself I'll put it out there and let him win and let him work," Derrick said. "With 105,000 (fans), that was pretty tough, but other than that, Dominique has been great for us since he got here. That route is designed for someone as quick as him. I knew he was going to win. I saw the read I had out there and knew if I had a catchable ball, he'd help me out and go get it."
There were several memorable plays during the Mountaineers' fourth-quarter comeback. Without Derrick's pass to Heath, Penn State regains possession with a 14-point lead and a rally is much more unlikely.
"I would say the play of the game is Peyton making that conversion," Thomas said. "That was definitely a huge part of the game when he steps in, cold arm, and drops a dime to Domo."