The Wolverine

2014 Michigan Football Preview

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 183 of 275

182 ■ THE WOLVERINE 2014 FOOTBALL PREVIEW APPALACHIAN STATE • AUG. 30 1 BY RYAN TICE Nobody will ever forget the first meet- ing between Michigan and Appalachian State, which opened the 2007 campaign. The Mountaineers — then members of the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) — pulled off perhaps the biggest upset in college football history by winning 34-32 inside of The Big House. Now, they join the Sun Belt Conference and must return to Ann Arbor. The Mountaineers stepped back to 4-8 last year under first-year head man Scott Satter- field, who played quarterback for legendary coach Jerry Moore and has spent 18 of the last 23 years at the school as a player or coach. The longtime offensive assistant has helped the school to three national titles and eight Southern Conference crowns. Last year marked the school's worst re- cord since 1993 and the team was not able to rebound from a 1-6 start, but there is reason for optimism — the Mountaineers closed 3-2, with the losses coming to Georgia and in a seven-point defeat at the hands of Sun Belt co-champion Chattanooga. Satterfield should have plenty of ammu- nition to score points with — junior quar- terback Kameron Bryant immediately be- comes one of the finest quarterbacks in his new league and sophomore rusher Marcus Cox had a remarkable debut campaign. Bry- ant completed more than 70 percent of his passes for 2,713 yards with 14 touchdowns against just four interceptions in eight starts. Meanwhile, Cox set rookie records at the school with 1,250 rushing yards and 21 to- tal touchdowns en route to placing second for the Jerry Rice Award, which is annually given to the best FCS freshman. The offensive line returns all five big men up front — led by senior left tackle Kendall Lamm, who has surrendered just one sack in the last two years — but two of three starting receivers must be replaced. Junior Malachi Jones returns there after he finished fourth on the squad with 31 receptions for 293 yards, but Cox is actually the leading returner after he hauled in 43 passes for 559 yards and a team-best six receiving touchdowns. The aerial attack should also be bolstered by the return of former Oregon transfer Tacoi Sumler from a knee injury. The red- shirt junior has barely played since arriving in Boone, N.C., but was a four-star prospect coming out of Miami and has been clocked as fast as 4.24 seconds in the 40-yard dash. Seven starters return on the other side of the ball, led by redshirt sophomore line- backer John Law, who finished the cam- paign with 71 tackles and a team-best three interceptions. He has battled injuries dur- ing his career, but provides a huge presence when healthy — he notched 51 tackles in six games before being slowed by injuries. Senior defensive end Deuce Robinson is the most experienced player on the squad, and he tied for the team lead with three sacks a year ago. He also ranked second and leads all returning defenders with seven tackles for loss. However, he and the rest of the front seven must be better after allowing 220.2 rushing yards per game and recording just eight sacks last season. Four experienced players return to the back line, including strong safety Kevin Walton, a junior who ranked fifth on the team with 56 tackles despite just seven starts, and classmate Doug Middleton, a free safety who started the last five games and tallied two interceptions. A new kicker must be found, but the team does boast sophomore walk-on punter Bentlee Critcher, who ranked second in the FCS last year with an average of 45.9 yards per attempt. Appalachian State may not be as over- matched against fellow Sun Belt squads as one would expect a Football Bowl Subdivi- sion newcomer to be, but they're still the new kids on the block, and Michigan can't open 2014 with a repeat of what happened seven years ago. If anything, it's time for the Wolverines' revenge. Notes Appalachian State won three straight FCS national titles from 2005-07 … According to Spor ting News, the program boasts the Sun Belt's fastest receiver (Tacoi Sumler), best pass- ing quarterback (Kameron Bryant) and best player under pressure (punter Bentlee Critcher) … Running back Terrence Upshaw, who red- shirted last year, was tabbed as the Sun Belt Newcomer of the Year by Lindy's College Foot- ball Preview. ❑ U-M Finally Gets Its Chance At Revenge Versus Mountaineers Sophomore running back Marcus Cox set school rookie records last season with 1,250 rushing yards and 21 total touchdowns. PHOTO COURTESY APPALACHIAN STATE 2014 SCHEDULE Date Opponent 2013 Result Aug. 30 at Michigan — Sept. 6 Campbell — Sept. 20 at Southern Miss — Sept. 25 at Georgia Southern W, 38-14 Oct. 4 South Alabama — Oct. 11 Liberty — Oct. 18 at Troy — Nov. 1 Georgia State — Nov. 8 Louisiana-Monroe — Nov. 15 at Arkansas State — Nov. 22 at Louisiana-Lafayette — Nov. 29 Idaho — QUICK FACTS All-Time Series: Appalachian State leads 1-0 First Meeting: Appalachian State 34, U-M 32 (Sept. 1, 2007, at Ann Arbor) Head Coach: Scott Satterfield, 4-8 at Appalachian State and overall (2nd year) Off./Def. Systems: Multiple spread/3-4 2013 In Review: 4-8 overall, 4-4 Southern Confer- ence (T-4th) Final 2013 Ranking: Unranked Returning Starters: 17 (9 offense, 7 defense, 1 spe- cialist) Last FCS Playoff Appearance: 2012 Sun Belt Conference Championships (last): 0 (18 previous conference championships — 6 North State Conference, 12 Southern Conference) RETURNING LEADERS Passing: Kameron Bryant (2,713 yards, 14 TD, 4 INT) Rushing: Marcus Cox (1,250 yards, 15 TD) Receiving: Marcus Cox (559 yards, 6 TD) Tackles: John Law (71) Sacks: Deuce Robinson (2) Interceptions: John Law (3) PLAYERS TO WATCH Offense: Kameron Bryant, Jr., QB — Took over starting duties five games into last year … Became the most accomplished sophomore quarterback in school history … Led the Southern Conference in passing efficiency (151.1) and completion percentage (.712) … Also ranked second in total offense (2,871) and passing yards (2,713). Defense: John Law, R-So., LB — The 6-0, 225-pounder played in three games as a true freshman before suf- fering a season-ending ankle injury … Returned with a bang last year before another lower-body injury limited his production … He still tied for the league lead with three inter- ceptions and ranked third on the squad with 71 tackles en route to FCS Freshman All-America honors. 182-193.Opponents.indd 182 6/19/14 1:11 PM

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Wolverine - 2014 Michigan Football Preview