For Appalachian State, First Bowl Appearance Is Strictly About Business

App State Camellia Bowl (App State Athletics)By David Coulson

Executive Editor

College Sports Journal

 

BOONE, N.C. — Appalachian State finally found out the who, what, where, when and why of qualifying for its first Football Bowl Subdivision on Sunday afternoon. 

 

Now its on to the how as the Mountaineers face Ohio University in the Raycom Media Camellia Bowl on Dec. 19 at 5:30 p.m. in Montgomery, Alabama at the Crampton Bowl.

 

Ohio finished second in its division in the Mid-American Conference, going 8-4 overall and 6-2 in league with key wins over Marshall and Northern Illinois.

 

In the minds of many players and coaches, bowl games are like exhibitions that reward teams for great, or sometimes, mediocre seasons.

 

But after storming through the 2015 campaign with a 10-2 record and finishing second in the Sun Belt Conference, Appalachian is looking at its first bowl excursion is all about business.

 

“This is a business trip,” said senior defensive end Ronald Blair, who has survived the transition from the Football Championship Subdivision, a losing season and two years of no postseason eligibility to finally reach his dream of playing his final college game in a bowl. “With all of the things we’ve been through as a team, it was kind of surreal. We get to relieve some of our hunger.”

 

Blair, one of the final players in the program to enter the ASU program as one of College Football Hall of Fame coach Jerry Moore’s recruits, has a proper understanding of what his final college game will mean.

“History is a big part of this program,” said Blair. “We’re playing this game for the guys who have gone before us.”

 

And while the Mountaineers expect to have some fun during the next two weeks, they are more worried about coming back from Montgomery with an 11th victory.

 

“We want to carry momentum into next season,” said sophomore quarterback Taylor Lamb, who talked about experiencing the pain of a 4-8 record during his redshirt season as a freshman. “It’s kind of looking to the future for this team.”

 

And there is another caveat.

 

“Being 11-2 sounds better than 10-3,” Lamb said. “It should be fun, but it is also business.”

 

Defensive back Tae Hayes, the only true freshman in Appalachian’s starting lineup, has already been enjoying the ride of the Mountaineers’ memorable year.

 

“I honestly wasn’t expecting this,” said Hayes, who ended Saturday’s game with a pass breakup to preserve ASU’s 34-27 victory at South Alabama. “I honestly didn’t know we were going to be this good.”

 

Hayes, who is from Alabama, had a large group of fans at Saturday’s game in Mobile and expects as many as 30, or 40 supporters to be in Montgomery for the bowl game.

 

Few people in the current program know the historical side of App State football as well as current coach Scott Satterfield. And he was beaming as much as his players at Sunday’s press conference.

 

“With 10 wins in their first season of bowl eligibility, our coaches and student-athletes are very deserving of this honor and for the opportunity to be showcased on a national stage,” Satterfield said. “I’m excited for our whole University community — students, alumni, faculty, staff and fans — to be able to share in this historic event.”

 

Satterfield spent the 2009 season as the quarterbacks coach at Toledo of the MAC, but didn’t play against Ohio. But there is a historical connection between Appalachian and Ohio.

 

The Bobcats are coached by Frank Solich, who built a close relationship with Moore when Moore was Nebraska’s offensive coordinator under Tom Osborne and Solich was a well-regarded high school coach in the Cornhusker state.

 

Solich later replaced Osborne when the hall-of-fame coach retired and spent six seasons as the head coach of his alma mater. Solich has been at Ohio since 2005 after 25 years coaching at Nebraska in various capacities.

“I’ve just kind of seen (Ohio) from afar,” said Satterfield. “This is a hard-nosed, blue-collar program.”

 

Solich is 4-7 in his previous bowl appearances at Nebraska and Ohio, his Bobcats are coming off a strong year in the MAC.

 

“The Mid-American Conference was perhaps the deepest Group of Five conference in the nation this season and we have a lot of respect for what Ohio has been able to accomplish,” Satterfield added. “It will be a great challenge for our team to see how we match up against the Bobcats.”

 

Besides the Moore-Solich connection, MAC commissioner Jon Steinbrecher is a graduate of Watauga High School and is a member of the Watauga County Athletic Hall of Fame and grew up watching football games at Kidd Brewer Stadium.

 

Also pleased with the finalization of App State’s historic bowl appearance was Mountaineer athletic director Doug Gillen.

 

“It’s with great pride that we accept the invitation to participate in the Raycom Media Camellia Bowl,” Gillen said. “With 10 wins in their first season of bowl eligibility, our coaches and student-athletes are very deserving of this honor and for the opportunity to be showcased on a national stage.”

 

But despite all of the excitement, the emphasis on Sunday was about the business side of the event.

 

“There is a lot riding on this game (for Appalachian),” Satterfield said. “We want to finish right.”

 

 

The Complete 2015 NCAA Division I College Football Bowl Schedule

 

Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl

 

 

Alcorn State vs. North Carolina A&T

Dec. 19

Noon

ABC

Cure Bowl

 

 

San Jose State vs. Georgia State

Dec. 19

Noon

CBSSN

Gildan New Mexico Bowl

Arizona vs. New Mexico

Dec. 19

2 p.m.

ESPN

Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl

BYU vs. Utah

Dec. 19

3:30 p.m.

ABC

Raycom Media Camellia Bowl

Ohio vs. Appalachian State

Dec. 19

5:30 p.m.

ESPN

R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl

 

 

Arkansas State vs. Louisiana Tech

Dec. 19

9 p.m.

ESPN

Miami Beach Bowl

 

 

South Florida vs. Western Kentucky

Dec. 21

2:30 p.m.

ESPN

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl

Akron vs. Utah State

Dec. 22

3:30 p.m.

ESPN

Marmot Boca Raton Bowl

Temple vs. Toledo

Dec. 22

7 p.m.

ESPN

San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl

 

Boise State vs. Northern Illinois

Dec. 23

4:30 p.m.

ESPN

GoDaddy Bowl

 

 

Bowling Green vs. Georgia Southern

Dec. 23

8 p.m.

ESPN

Popeyes Bahamas Bowl

 

 

Middle Tennessee vs. Western Michigan

Dec. 24

Noon

ESPN

Hawai’i Bowl

 

 

Cincinnati vs. San Diego State

Dec. 24

8 p.m.

ESPN

St. Petersburg Bowl

Marshall vs. Connecticut

Dec. 26

11 a.m.

ESPN

Hyundai Sun Bowl

 

 

Miami vs. Washington State

Dec. 26

2 p.m.

CBS

Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl

 

 

Washington vs. Southern Miss

Dec. 26

2:20 p.m.

ESPN

New Era Pinstripe Bowl

Duke vs. Indiana

Dec. 26

3:30 p.m.

ABC

Camping World Independence Bowl

Virginia Tech vs. Tulsa

Dec. 26

5:45 p.m.

ESPN

Foster Farms Bowl

Nebraska vs. UCLA

Dec. 26

9:15 p.m.

ESPN

Military Bowl Presented By Northrop Grumman

 

Pittsburgh vs. Navy

Dec. 28

2:30 p.m.

ESPN

Quick Lane Bowl

 

 

Central Michigan vs. Minnesota

Dec. 28

5 p.m.

ESPN2

Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl

 

Air Force vs. California

Dec. 29

2 p.m.

ESPN

Russell Athletic Bowl

North Carolina vs. Baylor

Dec. 29

5:30 p.m.

ESPN

NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl

 

Colorado State vs. Nevada

Dec. 29

7:30 p.m.

TBA

AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl

Texas Tech vs. LSU

Dec. 29

9 p.m.

ESPN

Birmingham Bowl

Memphis vs. Auburn

Dec. 30

Noon

ESPN

Belk Bowl

 

 

North Carolina State vs. Mississippi State

Dec. 30

3:30 p.m.

ESPN

Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl

Louisville vs. Texas A&M

Dec. 30

7 p.m.

ESPN

Holiday Bowl

Wisconsin vs. USC

Dec. 30

10:30 p.m.

ESPN

Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl

 

 

Houston vs. Florida State

Dec. 31

Noon

ESPN

Capital One Orange Bowl

 

 

No. 1 Clemson vs. No. 4 Oklahoma

Dec. 31

4 p.m.

ESPN

Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic

 

 

No. 2 Alabama vs. No. 3 Michigan State

Dec. 31

8 p.m.

ESPN

Outback Bowl

 

 

Northwestern vs. Tennessee

Jan. 1

Noon

ESPN2

Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl

 

Michigan vs. Florida

Jan. 1

1 p.m.

ABC

Fiesta Bowl

 

Notre Dame vs. Ohio State

Jan. 1

1 p.m.

ESPN

Rose Bowl Game Presented by

Northwestern Mutual

 

Iowa vs. Stanford

Jan. 1

5 p.m.

ESPN

Allstate Sugar Bowl

 

 

Oklahoma State vs. Mississippi

Jan. 1

8:30 p.m.

ESPN

TaxSlayer Bowl

 

Georgia vs. Penn State

Jan. 2

Noon

ESPN

AutoZone Liberty Bowl

 

 

Kansas State vs. Arkansas

Jan. 2

3:20 p.m.

ESPN

Valero Alamo Bowl

TCU vs. Oregon

Jan. 2

6:45 p.m.

ESPN

Cactus Bowl

 

 

West Virginia vs. Arizona State

Jan. 2

10:15 p.m.

ESPN

College Football Playoff National Championship Presented By AT&T

Clemson/Oklahoma vs. Alabama/Michigan State

Jan. 11

8:30 p.m.

ESPN

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