An old football rivalry from the North State and Carolinas conferences of the 1930s through the 1960s was renewed 10 years ago, when Elon joined the Southern Conference and resumed a series with Appalachian State.
The programs will play at 6 p.m. Saturday at Rhodes Stadium in Elon and then part ways again.
Appalachian will move to the Football Bowl Subdivision and the Sun Belt Conference next season. Elon will remain in the Football Championship Subdivision, but will leave the SoCon and join the Colonial Athletic Association.
The Mountaineers have dominated the series since the renewal – going 10-0 against Elon in SoCon play – and have won 17 straight in the series since a loss in 1964.
Both teams need a victory.
Appalachian State is 0-2 after losing to Montana 30-6 and N.C. A&T 24-21 and hasn’t lost three straight in a season since 1993.
Scott Satterfield of the Mountaineers, still seeking his first win as head coach, said that the focus has been more on his team than its opponent.
“More so than maybe just Elon, it’s just Appalachian State football and what we have to do,” Satterfield said. “It’s getting better at what we do. If you make mistakes, it doesn’t matter who you’re playing, and you’re going to struggle to have success. We’ve got to eliminate those mistakes.”
The Mountaineers will try to generate more offense, after scoring just three touchdowns in two games, failing to connect for big plays and rushing for 95 yards a game.
“We’ve been stagnant in the first two games,” Satterfield said. “I think we’ve played two really good defenses, but nevertheless we have not done well. We have not moved the ball like we should.”
Satterfield hasn’t announced whether senior Jamal Londry-Jackson or sophomore Kam Bryant will start at quarterback.
Elon has a victory — a 49-7 romp against Division II West Virginia Wesleyan — but lost 70-0 to Georgia Tech in its opener and 23-10 to N.C. A&T last weekend.
“I think both programs, App State and Elon, can officially say that N.C. A&T has a good football team,” Elon coach Jason Swepson said. “But you saw late in their ballgame when they got their offense clicking (with two fourth-quarter touchdowns) how explosive they can be…. It’s down to teams who need a conference win.”
One bright spot for the Mountaineers has been the play of the defense, but Satterfield said that unit will face a challenge against Elon’s passing attack. Junior Mike Quinn of the Phoenix leads the SoCon in passing with 236 yards a game.
“We put our defense in bad situations the first game (against Montana), and they still responded pretty well, and the A&T game they gave up just 10 points,” Satterfield said. “It will be a challenge for us this week as far as stopping the passing game. Those guys do a good job of throwing the football.”
Appalachian will play a full SoCon schedule this season but is not eligible for the league title because of its transition to the FBS. Appalachian State’s league games will count, but the SoCon will list ASU and Georgia Southern, which is also moving to the Sun Belt and the FBS, at the bottom of standings regardless of their records.
The Winston-Salem Journal is a news partner of the Observer. For more Appalachian State coverage go to journalnow.com/sports/asu/
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