College Sports

Why this isn’t the only week Charlotte’s on radar of Appalachian State’s football team

Appalachian State running back Jalin Moore, left, is pictured on Saturday bowling past Penn State linebacker Koa Farmer on a 16-yard touchdown run in the Mountaineers’ 45-38 overtime loss to the Nittany Lions. Moore, who is from Shelby, and his teammates will visit the Charlotte 49ers on Saturday.
Appalachian State running back Jalin Moore, left, is pictured on Saturday bowling past Penn State linebacker Koa Farmer on a 16-yard touchdown run in the Mountaineers’ 45-38 overtime loss to the Nittany Lions. Moore, who is from Shelby, and his teammates will visit the Charlotte 49ers on Saturday. TNS

Appalachian State coach Scott Satterfield wants Charlotte this week.

On one level that’s obvious: Charlotte, as in the opponent Saturday at Richardson Stadium. But Satterfield wants and needs Charlotte and the surrounding communities to continue the success resulting in three consecutive bowl victories since the Mountaineers jumped to the Football Bowl Subdivision, college football’s highest level.

Charlotte, 117 miles southeast of Boone, is full of Appalachian State alumni and a rich recruiting base. Two of the Mountaineers’ top players - running back Jalin Moore (Crest High near Shelby) and cornerback Clifton Duck (Butler High in Matthews) - are from the metropolitan area.

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Scott Satterfield Joshua Komer jkomer@charlotteobserver.com

So Satterfield is all for making a Mountaineers-49ers football matchup an annual event. Saturday’s 6 p.m. kickoff will be the first game of this series. The 49ers (1-0) started football in 2013 and fast-tracked into FBS competition as a Conference USA member.

“For us to have a game to play in Charlotte, and for them to come up here, that can be such a natural rivalry; we can get some things going with that,” Satterfield said Monday in a media teleconference. “It just makes sense to play a team that close.”

Appalachian State (0-1) is coming off a near-upset of then-10th ranked Penn State Saturday. The Mountaineers led late in regulation on a Moore touchdown run before Penn State tied the game to force overtime. The Nittany Lions won 45-38 on a late interception.

That sets up a remarkable one-week contrast in venues: Appalachian State will go from playing in one of college football’s largest stadiums (106,572 capacity) to one of its smallest at the FBS level (15,315).

Charlotte added 2,500 temporary seats for this game, which is a sellout. The 49ers athletics department has tried to keep the tickets in their fans’ possession as best they can, but it seems inevitable there will be a huge Mountaineers presence in the stands Saturday.

“(The players’) families are going to get to see them play right there; that’s exciting,” Satterfleid said of the 10 Appalachian State players from Charlotte or the surrounding communities. “Their hometown fans: people they went to high school with, administrators they went to high school with, coaches.

“You want to play at your very, very best (then). For those two reasons, (the near-miss at Penn State and this setting) those guys are very excited to get back out on the field.”

Rick Bonnell: @rick_bonnell

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