College Football Pick
Before looking into this Game, most Clemson fans would assume a meeting with Appalachian State would be another walkover. However, that would be a mistake. The Mountaineers return most of their squad from a year ago and had an over/under of 9 wins before the season. The Tigers are a -17 point home favorite (at mybookie.ag), but know this isn’t a Game to take lightly.
Clemson had no problems in its opening Game, winning 49-10, although beating up on an FCS team doesn’t mean a whole lot. Still, quarterback Deshaun Watson was every bit as good as he’s expected to be, completing 18-of-22 passes for 194 yards and two touchdowns. A young Tigers defense also got some good reps in, but will face a more difficult test in this Game.
Appalachian State had a similar 49-0 result, but again, it was against Howard, another FCS opponent. Much like Clemson, App State dominated both sides of the ball and pretty much every facet of the Game.
And while this Game doesn’t look like it will be much of anything with ranked Clemson going against a Sun Belt team, this one could get interesting if the Tigers start off slow.
Appalachian State has a high over/under because they return 20 starters. The Mountaineers have a viable passing and rushing attack, which will make this a tricky task for a somewhat inexperienced defense of Clemson. This isn’t the same group that allowed 16.7 points per Game a year ago, and there will be some growing pains.
That’s where quarterback Taylor LAmb and running back Marcus Cox come into play for App State. The Mountaineers will need to get some kind of running Game going behind Cox and Terrence Upshaw. Even if they can just get up to 3.5 or 4 yards per carry, that would be enough and give LAmb some help. LAmb is only a sophomore, but he showed vast improvement through last season and started the year going 16-of-21 for 209 yards and three touchdowns.
The other end may be a bigger question for App State because this defense did have its issues last season, allowing 50 points multiple times including 52 to Michigan. Even with experience, Watson and company shouldn’t have an issue hitting the 30- or 40-point mark.
The loss of wide receiver Mike Williams will hurt this offense, but probably not in this Game with Watson still having a number of options including Artavis SCott (75 yards, TD). As long as the Tigers can move the ball on the ground, which they should, behind Wayne Gallman (92 yards, 2 TDs) and company, this offense won’t have any issues against the Mountaineers.
But if App State can get some stops early in the Game, that will give them some confidence and could help them stay within reach for most of the Game.
Clemson is aiming for the College Football Playoff, while Appalachian State just wants to win the Sun Belt. Those are two very different things.
Our Pick – It’s not uncommonto see a team like App State rise to the occassion in the 1st half of a Game like this, before the talent level and depth of a Clemson caliber team takes over in the 2nd half. With that in mind, we think App st + the points in the 1st quarter and 1st half is worth a solid look.