Scott Satterfield played quarterback in Appalachian State's first home game against a top-ranked opponent.
He was an assistant coach as the Mountaineers won three straight FCS semifinal games at home during their run to consecutive national titles in 2005, 2006 and 2007.
Now the school's head coach, Satterfield is unequivocally qualified to rate milestones in Kidd Brewer Stadium's history. And he's anticipating a unique scene Saturday, when Appalachian State (1-1) hosts No. 25 Miami (2-0) in a noon game being televised by ESPN.
A record-breaking crowd exceeding 34,000 fans is expected for the first Boone visit by a Power Five program.
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"We've had several big games out here, but we've never seen what we're going to see Saturday," Satterfield said. "I can't even imagine how it's going to be. I'm excited to see it when we run out of the tunnel, to see all the people out there, the screaming fans.
"It'll be a special day for us, and hopefully one where we'll live up to the hype with this kind of environment and this kind of team coming in here."
Like Satterfield, who has evolved from mid-1990s quarterback to mid-2000s assistant to present-day head coach, Appalachian State’s program has experienced incremental growth.
Leaving the natural rivalries and championship possibilities of FCS football for the increased competition and money at the FBS level upset many loyal Appalachian State fans, but now the Mountaineers are reaping the rewards of a financially sound risk. Moving forward from an 11-2 season that concluded with a bowl victory, they started a star-studded 2016 schedule by leading for most of an overtime loss at Tennessee.
More than 100,000 fans witnessed that game in Neyland Stadium, the third time Appalachian State has played in a six-figure setting. Smaller can be equally significant, if not more, when it means a well-above-capacity crowd welcoming a traditional college football power to Boone.
Will Smith's "Miami" played on the Kidd Brewer Stadium speakers during practice this week. On Saturday, South Beach finally gets a fair-weather, high-volume feel for the High Country.
"We know it's going to be a battle, plain and simple," first-year Miami coach Mark Richt said.
There are noteworthy connections between the two programs. Richt, the former Georgia coach, has a sister, Mikki, who played volleyball at Appalachian State. Richt's staff in the SEC once included the grandfather of Appalachian quarterback Taylor Lamb, who became a high school standout in Calhoun, Ga.
The Hurricanes and Mountaineers both depend on run-based offenses, but similarities become tougher to detect once rosters are scanned for NFL-level talent and record books are scoured for national-television exposure. Miami has played countless high-profile games in hostile environments, but Appalachian State will have a regular-season home contest air on the primary ESPN channel for the first time since 1979, when it participated in the second college football game ever shown live on the network.
For the Mountaineers, Saturday is about embracing the excitement and overcoming nerves. It's about appreciating the moment but also capitalizing on it and capably representing a tradition-rich program.
"The guys in this locker room deserve how many people are going to be here Saturday cheering us on," Lamb said. "I don't think (the scene) is going to hurt us at all. I think it's going to help us to the max.
"People are saying this is the biggest game in program history. The guys that came before you and won national championships and set that tone, it is an honor to wear the 'A' and come out for the biggest home crowd ever."
Richt has prepared the Hurricanes for a challenge.
Lamb opened the season by handing the ball to standout running back Marcus Cox on Appalachian State's first play from scrimmage at Tennessee. Richt focused on the Mountaineers’ interior linemen, as center Parker Collins and right guard Colby Gossett immediately double-teamed 295-pound tackle Kendal Vickers.
Backfield blocker Barrett Burns eventually joined the two linemen, who pushed Vickers from the right hash mark at the 17-yard line into a sideline marking for the 22, driving him into linebacker Daniel Bituli along the way. Collins picked up a personal foul for going too far, but the exchange made a tone-setting impression on Richt.
"If you saw that tape," Richt said, "you could see they were ready to play and get after it."