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Small Conference Teams in Big-Time Game

Appalachian State vs. Eastern Carolina Preview

College football is finally back, and there are some terrific matchups on the schedule in Week 1. The Appalachian State Mountaineers and Eastern Carolina Pirates are going to meet up on Sept. 2 in one of these games, the Duke’s Mayo Classic.

Appalachian State has traditionally been one of the top underdog stories in college football, and they should be great again this season. Eastern Carolina has not been putting out successful teams of late, but this could be the start of something big.

Appalachian State Mountaineers vs. Eastern Carolina Pirates
Chris Thelen/Getty Images/AFP

Bank of America Stadium is set to play host to the Duke’s Mayo Classic, and it will be filled with fans. Appalachian State athletic director Doug Gillin said, “We need people to go to Charlotte. We need Appalachian people to go to Charlotte.”

The Mountaineers are listed as moneyline favorites at -400 while the Pirates are listed at +320, and the over/under is set at 59 total points.

Pirates Must Stop the Run

The Eastern Carolina Pirates are going to have to win this game on the defensive side of the ball, and that’s easier said than done. Eastern Carolina was not good against the run a season ago, and that will also come into play in this matchup.

The Pirates do have plenty of experience back from a season ago, but that doesn’t mean that there is a ton of veteran talent returning. There will be many new faces on both sides of the ball, which is a difficult first test in the season opener.

Eastern Carolina will have the opportunity to score points in this game as Appalachian State tends to play extremely fast. Limiting turnovers and capitalizing on trips to the Red Zone could keep the Pirates in this matchup.

Brice Set to Lead App State Charge

Appalachian State failed to beat the top teams on its schedule a season ago, but there is one big reason that this could change in 2021. Quarterback Chase Brice is set to lead the Mountaineers on offense, and he comes to App State after spending some time at Clemson.

The Sun Belt Conference teams are known for running the football, and they are going to attack the ECU defense. Having a legitimate passing game is going to help, but Appalachian State wants to run the ball and wear down the Pirates’ defense.

Appalachian State also has a big edge on the defensive side of the ball, and that could play a role in this game. Even though that defense will spend a lot of time on the field, this unit has plenty of talent to come up with stops when they need to.

App State Clobbers ECU

Eastern Carolina wants to make a statement and prove that it should be considered as strong as Appalachian State. The underdog role will suit the Pirates well for a bit, but eventually, the lack of talent will catch up to them.

Appalachian State is battle-tested due to all of the solid teams in the Sun Belt Conference, and this is not going to be one of the most difficult games of the year for the Mountaineers.

This team has the ability to score points in a hurry, and that offense is going to be on full display against the Pirates.

Bet the Appalachian State Mountaineers moneyline at -400 as they take complete control of this game and make a statement in Charlotte.

Pick: Appalachian State Mountaineers ML (-400)

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