By MIKE BROWN
When Appalachian State beat Georgia Southern at Kidd Brewer Stadium in 2003 Mountaineer fans poured out of the stands and tore down the goalposts.
As they marched around the stadium and headed toward downtown Boone, N.C., one of the posts shattered a window in one of the Eagles’ team buses which made for a breezy ride back to Statesboro. The 28-21 win ended a four-game losing streak against Georgia Southern.
“That’s what beating Georgia Southern means to people,” then Eagle Coach Mike Sewak said. “Beating us is a big deal.”
A decade or so ago beating Georgia Southern was indeed a big deal. Not so much these days.
The winless Eagles (0-8, 0-4 Sun Belt Conference) are a 17-point underdog when they take on Appalachian State (5-4, 4-1) at 7:30 p.m. Thursday night at Boone in a game which will be televised on ESPNU.
Georgia Southern will not be the only team looking to snap a losing streak.
Coach Scott Satterfield’s Mountaineers have lost two straight and need a win to become bowl eligible for the third straight year. Georgia Southern last won at App in 2007 when both were members of the Southern Conference.
App is coming off a stunning 52-45 loss last Saturday against Louisiana Monroe which puts them in a second-place tie in the SBC with Georgia State and Troy. All three trail Arkansas State who is unbeaten in conference play.
The week before the Mountaineers dropped a 30-27 decision at Massachusetts a week after the Minutemen blasted Georgia Southern, 55-20.
Those two losses are a microcosm of App’s season in which three of their four losses are by a total of 11 points which include a one-point loss to Wake Forest. Their fourth defeat was to Georgia, 30-11.
“In football there’s such a fine line between winning and losing,” Satterfield said. “You have to be able to win the close games.
“For us we keep playing,” Satterfield said. “You have to make one more play than they do. Whatever that is, at the very end, hopefully you’ve made enough to be on top.”
The Mountaineers will be going for their third straight win over Georgia Southern behind quarterback Taylor Lamb whose 47 career starts is the most among active FBS quarterbacks.
Lamb is heading down the backstretch of what has been an outstanding career.
Last week Lamb set an SBC record for most touchdown passes in a career when he threw his 82nd, and his career numbers are staggering although he will finish second on the App career list behind Armanti Edwards in most categories.
Lamb has thrown for 2,096 yards and 19 touchdowns this season, the fourth straight year he has surpassed 2,000 yards. His career total is now at 9,145 yards, and his 1,790 rushing gives him 10,935 yards total offense.
Jalin Moore is one of the top running backs in the SBC and has 563 yards while dealing with injuries. Last year the hard-running junior was the Offensive Player of the Year as he ran for 1,402 yards on a 10-3 team.
Lamb’s favorite receiver is junior wide receiver Ike Lewis who has a team high 35 catches for 494 yards and six touchdowns. Moore has 10 catches for 154 yards including a 75-yard catch and run last week.
The Mountaineers have been a second half team this season, especially on defense.
Texas State managed only a second half field goal, App ended the New Mexico State game on a 28-7 run over the final 10 minutes, Idaho had only 57 yards in the second half with 23 coming on the final play of the game, and App went from trailing Coastal Carolina, 22-17, to being up 37-22 with four defensive stands in which Coastal gained only 10 yards on 14 plays.