For the third consecutive season, the Appalachian State-Georgia Southern football game will be its own little version of “King of the Mountain.”
Do you remember the kids’ game where you try to stay on top of the pile while others continually attempt to knock you off? Well, imagine a much larger vision of the game when the No. 14 Mountaineers visit the No. 1 Eagles on Saturday.
The matchup will mark the third consecutive year in which one of the two teams is ranked No. 1 in one of the FCS polls. Last year, Georgia Southern was ranked No. 1 when the Eagles traveled to Appalachian and came back with a 24-17 loss. In 2010, the Mountaineers were on top and lost to Georgia Southern 21-14 in overtime.
“It’s going to be a battle … it always is against Appalachian State,” Georgia Southern head coach Jeff Monken said. “Both teams will have a lot on the line.”
|FACT||APP. ST.||GA. SOU.|
|SoCon Record||4-2 (3rd)||6-1 (1st)|
|Coaches’ Rank||No. 14||No. 1|
|Points||32.7 (22nd)||34.9 (17th)|
|Rushing||197.0 (25th)||387.1 (2nd)|
|Passing||268.9 (21st)||53.4 (121st)|
|Total Yards||465.9 (10th)||440.5 18th)|
|Points Allowed||28.7 (70th)||16.5 (6th)|
|Rush Allowed||189.8 (94th)||132.1 (28th)|
|Pass Allowed||220 (64th)||147.8 (4th)|
|Yards Allowed||409.8 (88th)||279.9 (4th)|
|* all ranking in parenthsis are standings in national statistics per game|
Georgia Southern will be vying to clinch at least a share of the Southern Conference on Saturday while Appalachian looks to keep its conference title hopes alive with an upset of the Eagles.
The Eagles have won 14 consecutive home games – the longest active FCS streak – entering the contest at Allen E. Paulson Stadium in Statesboro, Ga.
The Mountaineers lead the series by a 14-12-1 advantage. Five of the last six contests between the schools have been decided by seven points or less, including two overtime games.
What makes the rivalry even better is the two programs are national contenders year in and year out. Since 1985, at least one of the teams has participated in the FCS playoffs, and in most years, both teams received bids. And, the pair has combined for nine NCAA titles since 1985 – Georgia Southern has won six and Appalachian won three in a row between 2005-07.
“It has become a national rivalry,” ASU head coach Jerry Moore said. “It’s grown and grown and grown. Both of us have won national championships. Both of us have been highly ranked when we’ve played each other. We have typically have had very tough, good football games – games spectators love to watch.”
Georgia Southern’s triple-option offense will keep the Mountaineers on their toes. The Eagles rank second in the FCS with 387.1 rushing yards per game with quarterback Jerick McKinnon running the show. McKinnon has rushed for 734 yards and eight touchdowns in eight games, and has also thrown three TD passes despite only nine completions.
The Mountaineers’ two losses to The Citadel and Wofford – teams that also run the triple-option – and Moore knows ASU’s defense needs to step up to pull off the upset.
“We need to tackle better, and then make adjustments,” Moore said. “You have to tackle well and you have to align yourself properly. It’s assignment football. If you’ve got the pitch guy, you’ve got the pitch guy. You can’t take the quarterback and try to help on the pitch.”
Something else to watch — the Mountaineers could be without starting quarterback Jamal Jackson, who was injured in the first quarter of last week’s Western Carolina contest. Even if Jackson does not get the go-ahead to play, ASU was in pretty good hands with backup Logan Hallock at signal caller. He completed a school-record 95.2 percent of his passes (20 of 21) in the 38-13 victory. Plus, senior running back Steven Miller racked up a career-high 245 rushing yards against WCU, and is averaging almost 120 yards rushing per game.
The game will be broadcast live on ESPN3. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. ET.
• The Stanford volleyball team grabbed the No. 1 spot in the AVCA Division I Top 25 for the first time since the middle of the 2010 season after running its winning streak to 18 matches last week. Stanford is off to the program’s best start in Pac-12 action (12-0) since 1998 – pretty impressive considering the league boasts five squads in the nation’s top eight teams.
The Cardinal’s rise to the top sets up a No. 1 vs. No. 2 match-up on Sunday with second-ranked Oregon. Stanford handed the their Ducks’ lone loss in five sets on Oct. 5, but this time the two teams will be playing on Oregon’s home court where the Ducks own a 7-0 record.
Both teams will play on Friday before the big match with Stanford traveling to Oregon State and the Ducks hosting No. 17 California. Sunday’s match will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Networks at 4 p.m. ET.
• The battle for the Division II’s Lone Star Conference title is on the line as No. 12 West Texas A&M hosts No. 10 Midwestern State for a top-25 showdown on Saturday. WTAMU is looking to clinch its fifth LSC championship in program history. The Buffalos enter the game with a 6-0 mark, while Midwestern State follows with a 6-1 record. The game is one of five contests between AFCA Division II top 25 teams that will have an impact on conference champions this week.
No. 4 Northwest Missouri State hosts No. 20 Emporia State, while No. 11 Missouri Western and No. 25 Washburn tangle in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association race, No. 6 Minnesota State-Mankato welcomes No. 17 Sioux Falls with first place in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference South Division on the line, and the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference West Division title is up for grabs when No. 15 Miles faces No. 23 Tuskegee on Saturday.
• In Division III football, yet another nationally ranked Ohio Athletic Conference squad will try to take down No. 1 Mount Union. Yes, then-No. 14 Heidelberg posted 14 points against the shutout-streaking Purple Raiders last Saturday, but Mount Union came away with a 33-14 victory. Will No. 15 Baldwin-Wallace be the one to stop the Purple Raiders? The Yellow Jackets are coming off a convincing 66-14 win against Marietta in which quarterback Ryan Rourke threw for four touchdowns and ran for another in just over two quarters of action. B-W is 7-1 is heading into the match-up which could theoretically decide the OAC championship on Saturday.
• Another Division III heavyweight will meet a nationally ranked conference foe on Saturday as No. 3 St. Thomas (Minn.) travels to No. 16 Concordia-Moorhead. The Tommies have won 32 consecutive Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference games, but the Cobbers are on a roll. Concordia is 7-1 on the year and is riding a three-game winning streak into the game. The Cobbers’ seven wins are their most since 2007.
|NSCAA WOMEN’S COACHES’ POLL|
|Check out the full rankings.|
• The BYU women’s soccer team climbed to No. 4 in the latest NSCAA Division I Top 25 Poll – the program’s highest ranking – on the merits of a 15-game-unbeaten streak. The Cougars sit on top of the West Coast Conference standings with a 5-0-1 mark as they close the regular season with a pair of league games at Loyola Marymount (Thursday) and No. 22 Pepperdine (Saturday).
The Cougars have outscored foes 44-10 on the season, and are holding opponents to just 7.7 shots per game. BYU ranks 13th in the nation in scoring offense (2.44 goals per game) and 10th in the nation in goals against average (.561).
• The Big Ten men’s soccer regular-season title is still in play, and four teams are in the hunt for the championship. This may be complicated, so please concentrate. Penn State currently sits atop the standings with 11 points and does not have any league games remaining. Northwestern will visit No. 22 Indiana on Thursday night in a key match-up between the second-place (10 points) and third-place (9) teams in the league. If the Wildcats win, they secure the title. If they tie with Indiana, NU will share the title with Penn State. If Indiana wins, the Hoosiers will win the title with 12 points. Michigan State also has nine points, and a win against Michigan on Saturday would give the Spartans 12 points and a share of the title.
• No. 1 Regis is the lone undefeated Division II men’s soccer team in the nation after wrapping up Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference regular-season action last week. The Rangers posted a 14-0-0 RMAC record to become just the second league team with a perfect mark in conference play. They capped it with a 2-1 win against defending NCAA champion Ft. Lewis on Sunday.
The Rangers rank second in the nation in scoring offense (3.41), sparked by sophomore Martin Maybin who has contributed 12 goals and nine assists for 33 points. Regis hosts the RMAC Tournament this weekend, and will play the winner of UC-Colorado Springs and Colorado Mesa on Friday.
• With a No. 1 ranking in hand on Tuesday, the Armstrong Atlantic State women’s soccer team advanced to the Peach Belt Conference semifinals with a 1-0 win against Montevallo. The Pirates extended their winning streak to 16 matches and will face North Georgia in Friday’s tournament contest. The last time the Pirates and Saints tangled, AASU escaped with a 4-3 victory in overtime. AASU is ranked No. 1 for the first time in the eight-year history of the women’s soccer program.
• The No. 3 Washburn women’s volleyball team won its 50th consecutive match on the Lady Blues’ home court with a win against Fort Hays State on Tuesday, and will now head out on the road for a pair of Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association contests against Pittsburg State and Central Oklahoma over the weekend.
Washburn is riding a 12-match winning streak into the weekend as it battles it out in a heated MIAA title race. The Lady Blues, the two-time defending conference champions, are one of three one-loss teams in the MIAA standings. No. 4 Nebraska-Kearney and No. 12 Central Missouri are both 12-1. Washburn’s win against Fort Hays State clinched the Lady Blues a guaranteed home match in the opening round of the MIAA Tournament on Nov. 13. The semifinals and finals will be played that weekend at the site of the highest remaining seed.
• Division III women’s volleyball teams around the nation will be competing in conference tournaments as they try to make one final bid to be included in the NCAA tournament bracket that will be released on Monday.
Washington (Mo.) may be the top team in the AVCA Division III Top 25 Poll, but the Bears are not even the top seeded in the University Athletic Association Tournament in Atlanta on Nov. 2-3. Sixth-ranked Emory earned that honor. Emory, Washington and the third-seeded Chicago all posted 6-1 records in regular season league play.
• The Division II men’s and women’s cross country regionals will take place on Saturday and Sunday in seven different venues across the nation. Missouri Southern State, which will host the NCAA Championship on Nov. 17, will host the Central Regional on its campus. Adams State is the No. 1 men’s team in the nation, while defending champion Augustana (S.D.) is the top women’s squad in Division II.
• If you happen to be flipping channels on Friday night and catch the Penn State-Minnesota women’s volleyball match on the Big Ten Network, you might want to check out Gophers’ senior setter Mia Tabberson and her new hairdo.
Tabberson, along with more than 100 people affiliated with Minnesota’s Athletic Department, shaved their heads on Monday to raise money and awareness for pediatric cancer research. Tabberson, head football coach Jerry Kill and student-athletes from football, hockey and baseball paired with St. Baldrick’s Foundation and Great Clips for the cause, which has ranked more than $23,000.
In addition, assistant director to student-athlete welfare Anissa Lightner, who works with Gopher student athletes in community relations and charitable giving, also shaved her head. Tabberson and Lightner together raised $11,000 of the grand total with help of the Gopher volleyball match last Sunday as they collected donations at the doors and t-shirt sales.
Minnesota wide receiver Connor Cosgrove, who is battling leukemia, conceptualized the idea and immediately got his teammates to shave their heads for the cause.
• Mahir Mameledzija knows how to find the net. The leading scorer in Division III men’s soccer has tallied 27 goals on the season, including 11 game-winners for Lake Forest. A junior forward from Visoko, Bosnia, Mameledzija notched his latest game-winner in a 2-1 win against UW-Whitewater last Sunday, breaking the Midwest Conference season record for goals held by Grinnell’s Vice Anku in 1963.
Mameledzija has scored more than half of the Foresters’ 52 total goals on the season, leading the team to the MWC regular-season championship. Mameldzija has compiled 53 scores and 122 points in just his third season.Lake Forest (14-3-1, 9-1) will host the four-team MWC Tournament on Friday and Saturday.
Follow Amy Farnum on Twitter: @NCAA_Amy