Previewing App State's Defense vs. Charlotte's Offense (2018-09-06 11:20:46)

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 (0-1) and 49ers (1-0) 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 defense matches up against Charlotte's offense:

App State Defense vs. Charlotte Offense

For the second straight game, App State will be facing a team with a first-year offensive coordinator.

Penn State had a new coordinator in Ricky Rahne, and Shane Montgomery is in charge of Charlotte's offense after serving in the same role at Youngstown State from 2010-17. He played quarterback at NC State from 1986-89 and was a three-year starter for the Wolfpack.

Montgomery's starting quarterback for the 49ers is Mocksville native Chris Reynolds, a 5-foot-11 redshirt freshman who joined the program as a preferred walk-on. After beating out 2017 starter Hasaan Klugh and Miami transfer Evan Shirreffs for the starting job, Reynolds completed 13 of his 20 passes for 267 yards and one touchdown last weekend in a 34-10 victory against FCS Fordham.

On the same day, the Mountaineers limited Heisman Trophy candidate Trace McSorley to 229 passing yards, including 128 through the first three quarters. In the secondary, cornerbacks Clifton Duck and Tae Hayes tackled well while keeping receivers in front of them, while safeties Desmond Franklin and Josh Thomas forced consecutive three-and-outs in the fourth quarter with third-down hurries of McSorley.

Benefiting from the interior work of defensive tackle MyQuon Stout, who constantly drew double-teams, inside linebackers Jordan Fehr and Anthony Flory combined for 17 tackles.

App State's front seven will work to slow down a running game led by Benny LeMay, who rushed for 135 yards and two touchdowns against Fordham. LeMay and Duck were teammates at Charlotte's Butler High School, where they won a state championship as varsity freshmen in 2012. Duck even had an interception in that state title game.

Charlotte's top receiving target in the 2018 opener was redshirt freshman Victor Tucker, whose seven-catch, 127-yard effort included a 60-yard gain, and LeMay had a 71-yard reception as he finished with 218 all-purpose yards.

The 49ers' big offensive line features two returning starters in left guard Cameron Clark and right guard Darren Drake, who played center in 2017. Charlotte's two starting offensive guards and two starting offensive tackles weigh between 295 and 307 pounds.

In addition to Stout, App State will rely on the quickness of its deep defensive line, which got a first-game sack from Demetrius Taylor.