Peaking Troy, Appalachian State collide for Sun Belt championship

Field Level Media

November 30, 2023 at 5:08 pm.

Sun Belt Conference
Appalachian State at Troy
Saturday, 4 p.m.
Veterans Memorial Stadium
Troy, Alabama

Five consecutive wins sparked by a defensive scheme change helped Appalachian State get off the ropes and reach the Sun Belt Conference title game, but the obstacles in the Mountaineers’ path are significant.

They’ll need to take down defending conference champions Troy (10-2), which has the luxury of home-field advantage and a fancy winning streak of its own.

The Trojans haven’t lost since James Madison nipped Troy, 16-14, on Sept. 16. Nine consecutive wins include seven with a margin of at least 18 points.

Appalachian State coach Shawn Clark studied Troy’s scheme and raved about a group currently ranked 12th in the nation in total defense with 20 sacks in the past three games.

“There aren’t any holes in it,” Clark said of the Trojans. “They are not going to get beat, they’re not going to beat themselves.”

Star quarterbacks at the center of their team’s success are in for stern tests.

Appalachian State’s engine on offense, junior Joey Aguilar, has 33 touchdown passes – 10 to junior wide receiver Kaedin Robinson.

Troy senior Gunnar Watson has 26 touchdown passes and a powerful ground game carried by running back Kimani Vidal’s 1,349 rushing yards and nine touchdowns.

The last meeting between these teams in September 2022 was decided on a last-second Hail Mary tipped into the hands of Mountaineers wide receiver Christan Horn, who made the grab to deal Troy a stunning 32-28 loss. Horn has 10 TD catches the past two seasons.

ALL  |  NFL  |  College Football  |  MLB  |  NBA