Cajun Opponent’s Preview – Game 7 – Appalachian State
(This is the seventh in a series previewing the opponents of the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns for the 2018 season. Today: Appalachian State. The Cajuns visit Boone on October 20th.)
Since joining the Sun Belt, Appalachian State has proven to be one of the elite programs in the Sun Belt Conference. Scott Satterfield's club has been the model of consistency in the four years they've been in the league.
Now, we'll see if they can continue that consistency without Taylor Lamb.
The four year starter at QB threw for a Sun Belt record 90 touchdown passes in his career, including 27 a season ago with just six interceptions. Appalachian State loses not only his physical ability, but his leadership as well. The son of a head coach, Lamb was like another coach on the field and his football savvy led to more success than mistakes. The Apps now turn to sophomore Zac Thomas and he has some big shoes to fill.
Running back Jalin Moore was hurt for part of the season last year, but still rushed for over 1,000 yards. He'll be the workhorse out of the backfield. A pair of transfers from Kansas State will join returner Thomas Hennigan to form a formidable receiving corps.
The top two tacklers from the defensive line are gone, but the Mountaineers had great depth there last year and plenty of experience returns. In the backfield, preseason defensive POY Clifton Duck already has eleven interceptions and he's just a junior. Tae Hayes gives App a good pair of bookend corners. The question mark on this defense is at linebacker, although they do return honorable mention SBC LB Anthony Flory.
The kicking game is in good hands with Xavier Subotsch and Chandler Staton returning. Return man Ike Lewis is gone, but this will be one of the better units in the league.
All eyes will be on Jonesboro on October 9 when the two teams meet in a nationally televised Tuesday game and the East Division should be decided on the final weekend when Troy visits Boone.
OUTLOOK: Appalachian State will be solid again. They aren't a team that does a lot of fancy things, but they seem to do everything well. The question mark is at quarterback. It's one thing to lose a four year starter. It's another to lose one like Taylor Lamb.