Appalachian State Has Mastered Scoring From One Area Of The Field

The Mountaineers will look to remain undefeated against the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks on Saturday

Nathan Cullitan, Flickr

UL Monroe vs. #24 Appalachian State (-15) 

Saturday, October 19th 3:30pm EST 

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  • #24 Appalachian State (5-0, 2-0 Sun Belt) is ranked in the AP Top 25 for the second time in school history and hosts Louisiana-Monroe (3-3, 2-0 Sun Belt). 

  • The Mountaineers are 4-1 ATS and the over is 3-2 in their five games. Meanwhile, the Warhawks are 2-4 ATS and the over is 3-3 in their contests.

  • Appalachian State has won 11 consecutive games, the third-longest FBS streak behind only Clemson (21) and Ohio State (12), and is one of just 12 remaining undefeated FBS teams. 

  • In 22 red zone trips, the Mountaineers have scored 21 times (including 20 touchdowns). That 95.5 red zone scoring percentage ranks 12th in the nation. Running back Darrynton Evans has capitalized in that scenario, as seven of his team-leading nine rushing touchdowns have come from within the 20 yard line. 

  • Appalachian State has won three of their last four matchups against Louisiana-Monroe.

  • BetQL’s NCAA Football Model lists the following as ★★★★ bets: Appalachian State spread (-15), moneyline (-650) and first-half spread (7.5). The Mountaineers’ first-half -495 moneyline is labeled as a ★★★ wager. 

Red Zone Masterminds 

Appalachian State ranks 10th out of 130 FBS teams in scoring, averaging an impressive 41.0 points per game. As you might imagine, they’ve capitalized on their opportunities on the offensive side of the ball. In fact, 22 red zone trips, the Mountaineers have scored 21 times (including 20 touchdowns). That 95.5 red zone scoring percentage ranks 12th in the nation. Running back Darrynton Evans has capitalized in that scenario, as seven of his team-leading nine rushing touchdowns have come from within the 20-yard line. 

Evans leads the team in carries (89), rushing yards (540) and touchdowns and will likely be asked to shoulder more of the load since second-string running back Daetrich Harrington will miss the rest of the season due to an injury he suffered last week. A “next man up” mentality will be in place to spell Evans, but the execution that this team has displayed within the 20-yard line has been astounding. There’s no reason to expect that not to continue against a Warhawks defense that has allowed scores on 22-of-26 red zone opportunities (17 touchdowns).  

To make matters worse for ULM, Mountaineers quarterback Zac Thomas is coming off his best rushing game of the season in which he amassed 63 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries in addition to his 147 passing yards. He will require attention from an already-struggling Warhawks defense.

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Louisiana-Monroe’s Turnstile Rush Defense

Through five games, the Mountaineers have rushed for a remarkable 1,094 yards and 16 touchdowns. Their 218.8 rushing yards per game ranks 25th among FBS teams. 

Louisiana-Monroe has allowed 34.8 points per game (116th out of 130 FBS schools), 228.8 rushing yards per contest (124th) and 5.7 yards per carry (128th). It’s safe to assume that they’ll struggle to limit such a prolific running offense that the Mountaineers feature. 

It's worth mentioning that the Warhawks might have the best player on the field on their team (running back Josh Johnson: 6.7 YPC, 712 rushing yards, six touchdowns). Quarterback Caleb Evans has put together some solid individual performances this season and is a dual threat (like Thomas on the other side) as well, but the Warhawks defense would have to play their best game of the year in order to keep this game close. At this point, that seems like a long shot. 

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