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Streaks, big wins and big attendance

App on some kind of roll

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Posted: October 18, 2007 8:34 p.m.
Updated: November 2, 2007 5:02 a.m.
    Thirty straight, and favored to make it 31.
    The 30 is Appalachian State’s home winning streak, longest in Division I. The next anticipated victim is Georgia Southern a school which knows something about home winning streaks.
    The Eagles once ran off 39 straight at home, and prior to that had a streak of 38 consecutive wins at Paulson Stadium. That helps explain why they’re 146-23 at home and why the Mountaineer streak is mere child’s play to Eagle followers. The Division I record is 58 held by Miami (Fla.).
    Georgia Southern (4-2, 1-2) will be out to snap the Appalachian (5-1, 1-1) streak when the two meet Saturday at 3:30 p.m. A crowd approaching 30,000 is expected at Kidd Brewer Stadium which seats 16,650. ASU is going to add an upper deck to the east stands for the 2008 season.
    The Mountaineers’ attendance numbers this season have been short of unbelievable. They are averaging 167 per cent of stadium capacity with an average of 27,750 showing up for three non-conference games.
    To put that into perspective picture 154,816 at Sanford Stadium for a Georgia game without adding any additional seats to the current 92,476.
    Appalachian shocked the college football world by winning their opener at then No. 5 Michigan, 34-32. In Southern Conference play the Mountaineers lost at Wofford, 42-31, and then beat Elon, 42-32, Coach Jerry Moore’s team will be looking for its first three game win streak against the Eagles since 1995-97.
    There are, of course, several reasons for the Mountaineers’ jump in attendance. Winning the last two Division I Football Championship Subdivision national titles hasn’t hurt. Nor did the win at Michigan.
    Moore, in his 19th season at App State, finds himself talking as much about his team’s fan support as he does his team which is — by anyone’s standards — pretty good the loss at Wofford notwithstanding.
    “It’s not just something that happened the last few years,” said Moore. “We’ve always had good support, but one thing that is different is that the students have gotten involved.”
    “We’ve got a Chancellor (Dr. Kenneth E. Peacock) who is outgoing and really enjoys the crowds,” said Moore. “We don’t take it for granted, but it’s a fun atmosphere.”
    Still, the veteran Mountaineer coach and his team have also put good teams on the field, and have developed star players with whom the fans identify.
    Quarterback Armanti Edwards, who has not played since the first half against Wofford, was one of the stars in the win at Michigan. The talented sophomore was the SoCon’s Freshman of the Year last year and was named all conference.
    Coming off an off week Moore said Edwards would start against the Eagles. If he falters he will be replaced by senior Trey Elder who has played well enough in Edwards’ absence to rank fourth in the league in total offense.
    Throw in running back Kevin Richardson, linebackers Pierre Banks and Jacque Roman, kicker Julian Rauch and wide receiver Hans Batichon, all of whom are either strong all-conference or All America candidates and you have a galaxy of players that people want to see.
    “You can’t say enough about App State,” said Georgia Southern Coach Chris Hatcher. “They have good players, and when you watch them on film they play hard on every play, whether it’s the first or second team. You can tell they’ve got it going on right now.
    “I hear it’s a mighty tough place to play, but the thing is only 11 guys can go out there at a time,” said Hatcher who is not dismissing his team’s chances of pulling off the upset. “The field is the same width and length. We’re going to go up there and give it our best shot.” 

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