NCAAF: East Carolina vs Appalachian State Prediction, Odds and Preview - 09/02/2021

by James Q

NCAAF:  East Carolina vs Appalachian State Prediction, Odds and Preview - 09/02/2021

Game Time:  7:30 EDT, Thursday, September 2nd, 2021
Venue:  Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte North Carolina
Where to Watch: ESPNU

Opening MLB Odds at USA Sportsbooks

Moneyline:  ECU +300,  ASU -400
Spread: ECU +10.5, (-115), ASU -10.5 (-105)
Total: 59-5, Over -106, Under -114

Season Record

East Carolina Pirates (ECU):  0-0, first game of the NCAAF season!  Sun Belt Conference
Mountaineers (ASU):  0-0, first game of the NCAAF season!
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Pirates vs Mountaineers Preview and Analysis

East Carolina is 7-14 under relatively new coach Mike Houstron.  We can say the program struggled with the Covid restrictions, but we can say that about EVERYBODY.  Truth is Mike needs to build something special here to get them out from the downward momentum they’ve been on.  It’s going to require not just hyping the returning starters (though that is important), but also recruiting a whole new class of player.
Appalachian State is on a roll.  They have been winning, they won a bowl game last season, and they only have to break in a new quarterback to a Turnkey offense.  Coach Clark will roll out a strong Appalachian State pass rush to knock East Carolina quarterback Holton Ahlers off his game plan.
Recent Form
ECU  3-6 in 2020, 
ASU 9-3 in 2020, Bowl Game Victory


Offensive Analysis

The Pirate offense averaged 400 yards and 30 points a game in 2020.  Under veteran QB Holton Ahlers ECU can get a touchdown. They have a small offensive line and all five starters are returning.  The line is like most small lines, effective in the running game but shaky holding a pocket against a pass rush.  
The Mountaineer offense averaged 452 yards a game and 33.8 points.  They played a stronger schedule as well.  It helps that the running game averaged 264.9 yards per game and 5.8 yards per attempt.  That’s a great running game.  Unfortunately Offensive Coordinator Tony Peterson has moved on to Illinois.  Duke transfer Chase Brice should actually improve the passing game if he brings his strong arm.. The standout rusher is Camerun Peoples who gained 1,124 yards, 12 touchdowns in 2020.

Defensive Analysis

East Carolina's defense was a problem last season.  They finished last season ranked 102nd defensive unit in the country. They gave up an average of 447.3 yards per game and had 42 touchdowns scored on them in 9 games.  They didn’t get enough stops. It was a track meet and they were a step slow. They are hoping the addition of 3 star recruit Jalen Clyatt as safety will help this season.  They will need to finish tackles and nab the occasional  interception to improve.

Appalachian State limited opponents to 20 points per game last season and 329 yards per game. 10 starters are returning.  2nd year Defensive coordinator Dale Jones returns to do it again. They lost starting corner Shemar Jean-Charles to the NFL, but added some transfers to fill the spot. Madison Cone came in from Wisconsin and Stuart head came in from Stanford… Those are good schools to get spare defensive backfield parts from.


Pirates Vs Mountaineers Prediction

East Carolina is touting the percentage of returning starters as being a good thing… They are returning from a losing season.  The juniors and seniors are returning from a losing season the year before.  Appalachian State is fielding the stronger returning starters.

East Carolina vs Appalachian State Prediction for Thursday, September 2nd, 2021:  Appalachian State 35 - East Carolina 14

NCAAF Betting Trends

Appalachian State is 19-12 straight up in 32 head to head matchups against East Carolina.
The last time they played (Sept 1st, 2012) East Carolina beat Appalachian State 35-13.
East Carolina has hit the Over in 11 of their last 15 games.
East Carolina is 4-12 in its last 16 games.
Appalachian State is 15-3 in their last 18 games.
Pirates are 2-6 ATS in their last 8 Thursday games.
Key Injuries     
ECU-  No injuries to report
ASU- C Sutton WR (knee), Game Time Decision.

Players to Watch

ASU Mountaineers:  QB Chase Brice. He has a QB name that is for sure.  Replacing graduated quarterback Zac Thomas who went 32-6 as a starter, Chase has big shoes to fill. Chase is on his third college team in 3 college seasons.  He started at Clemson but found it hard to play seeing as they had a stud at QB by the name of Trevor Lawrence.  Knowing he would have to sit again he transferred to Duke but struggled.  It was a hard year at Duke with Covid and Covid restrictions occupying every school.  In a shortened season Chase threw for 2000 yards and Duke posted their fair share of losses.  Chase Brice took his two first names and transferred to the Appalachian State Mountaineers.  As the Starter he will throw to a terrific receiving corps (Sutton, Hennigan, Williams) and hand the ball to Camerun Peoples, one of the top backs in the NCAA.  It should be a fun offense as App State is loaded.  This is the same team (bunch of super seniors) that beat the North Texas Eagles in the Myrtle Beach Bowl last year and snuck in a win against Georgia State,... they just added a quarterback who was good enough in high school to be recruited by the same guys who recruited Trevor Lawrence.
ECU Pirates:  Quarterback Holten Ahlers, a man of two last names.  He has 2 ½ years of being a starter.  25 starts, 7093 yards and 51 touchdowns.  He will pass it to returning leading receiver Tyler Sneed.  He will hand it to a duo of running backs in Keaton Mitchell and Rahjai Harris.  This season is Holten’s chance to right the ship and get a winning season.  He is experienced and loaded with returning starters (85%).  

Notable Quotes

“It’s refreshing to have the experience coming back that we do have from the guys that played so much last year,...We are bigger, stronger, faster and in better shape.”  - Mike Houston ECU head coach.

Starting Lineups

QB Holten Ahlers
RB Rahjai Harris
WR CJ Johnson
WR Tyler Snead 
WR Taji Hudson
LT Nishad Strother
LG Avery Jones
C  Fernando Frye
RG Sean Bailey
RT Bailey Malovic
TE Shane Calhoun
QB Brice Chase
RB Camerun Peoples
WR Thomas Hennigan
WR Malik Williams
WR Jalen Virgil
LT Anderson Hardy
LG Damionn Daley 
C  Baer Hunter
RG Isaiah Helms
RT Cooper Hodges
TE Henry Pearson 

Statistical Leaders

ECU - 2020
Rahjai Harris,  rushing 624 yards, 4.9 per, 4 Touchdowns
Holton Ahlers, passing 1,927 yards, 18 TD- 9 INT, 
Blake Proehl, receiving 577 yards, 4 TD
ASU - 2020
Zac Thomas, passing, 2,189 yards
Camerun Peoples, rushing, 1,124 yards, 12 TD
Thomas Hennigan, receiving, 616 yards, 3 TD
ECU:  Mike Houston.  Going into his third season.  His first two have resulted in a 7-14 record. It’s time to build something.
ASU:  Shawn Clark.  Going into his second year Shawn Clark is coming off a 9-3 record last season in his first year. And 2 of their 3 losses were to top 25 teams (Coastal Carolina, Louisiana).

Weather Forecast

Partly cloudy, high of 82*, wind 11 mph.

James Q

About the Author:

James Q. has been involved with sports and gambling his entire life. A former division 1 scholarship basketball player, James understands sports (and especially basketball) inside-and-out. Following his basketball playing days, James parlayed his gambling skills into a semi-pro poker career. James resides in Los Angeles, and especially loves the Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Rams, and Los Angeles Dodgers. And when he isn't betting on sports (and writing about it), James can be found performing stand-up comedy on the Sunset Strip.

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