The Appalachian State Mountaineers are ranked in the AP Top 25 Poll for the first time in program history.
App State is 5-1 this season, including a 3-0 record in the Sun Belt conference. The Mountaineers’ only loss this season came to Penn State, of course. Still, the visiting squad took the Nittany Lions to overtime and easily could’ve left Happy Valley with a victory.
We published a story before Penn State’s season opener that argued App State was the best non-conference foe that Penn State would face in 2018. The Pitt faithful — well, all fifteen of them at least — took some serious offense to this.
Even Pitt beat writer Alan Saunders took a shot, making fun of the post on his Twitter account.
The Mountaineers have had a whole lot of success this season behind impressive production from quarterback Zac Thomas and a pair of lethal running backs. Thomas has thrown for 1,146 yards and 11 touchdowns this season. He’s also struck pay-dirt on the ground six times.
Darrynton Evans and Jalin Moore — who Penn State fans will remember for scoring a late-fourth quarter touchdown in Week 1 — have been wreaking havoc on the ground all season. Evans is averaging seven yards a carry and has carried the ball 61 times. Moore, who has carried the ball 63 times, has 400 yards and six touchdowns this season.
App State’s recent success got us thinking. Is there any way that we could see a postseason matchup between the Nittany Lions and the crown jewel of the Sun Belt?
The short answer is probably not. There are currently no bowl games that pit a Sun Belt opponent against a Big Ten opponent, which isn’t really surprising. In order to play each other, Penn State and App State would have to win out and hope for some craziness at the top of the AP Poll.
The Fiesta Bowl is really the only option since it has two at-large bids, but the Nittany Lions would have to work their way into the top 10 and App State would have to unseat UCF as the non-Power Five team most deserving of a New Year’s Six bid.
That probably won’t happen, but we’d still love to see a rematch on neutral turf.
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