JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Thursday will be a big day for Arkansas State and Appalachian State but also for the entire Sun Belt Conference picture. One team will leave the field at Boone, North Carolina with control of their own path to the conference championship.
The Red Wolves and Mountaineers enter the game at 4-0 in SBC play. Both teams are coming in on short rest but fresh off two good wins against two opponents hungry to mess up the big ESPNU televised Thursday night battle.
Arkansas State got past Louisiana-Lafayette at Centennial Bank Stadium on October 20. They then survived a fired up Georgia State that came into Jonesboro and took the lead into halftime on Saturday. A-State was able to pull away and get a victory in the second half.
For Appalachian State, the road has been a difficult one. The Mountaineers got by defending conference champions Georgia Southern on October 22 then survived an overtime scare against Troy on Saturday.
During his Sun Belt weekly teleconference, Appalachian State Head Coach mentioned the magnitude of the game. "Huge game for the Sun Belt implications," said Satterfield, "It's also a game that's on ESPNU, we get to showcase our school again."
By the numbers, the Mountaineers run the football and do it very well. They've out rushed opponents 2186 to 982, something that speaks well of their defense against the run as well.
Junior Runningback Marcus Cox leads the running charge averaging 114.6 yards per game with his biggest game being a 178 yard performance against Wyoming.
When asked about Arkansas State during the teleconference, Satterfield showed respect for the Red Wolves. "There is a lot of things they are doing well," he said, "They're playing really well on offense."
Satterfield spoke to the importance of having Quarterback Fredi Knighten back on the field. "He missed a couple of games but they've got him back and he's been a huge spark for them offensively," said Satterfield, "He's an exciting player to watch. He does a lot of good things on his feet and with his arm." He also stressed that it wasn't just Knighten he was concerned about. "They pressure not only north and south but east and west," Satterfield added, "They do a great job of getting the ball in the hands of their play makers and they have several of them."
In the last meeting between the two opponents, Appalachian State defeated Arkansas State 37-32 at Centennial Bank Stadium. Cox was a major factor in that game, rushing for 229 yards and two touchdowns.
The Red Wolves and Mountaineers will tee it up at 6:30 pm central time on ESPNU. Tune in to Region 8 Sports at Ten on Thursday night for coverage of the game.
Copyright 2015 KAIT. All rights reserved.