Sun Belt powerhouse Appalachian State begins the post-Scott Satterfield Era on Saturday afternoon, as new head coach Eli Drinkwitz leads the Mountaineers against East Tennessee State at Kidd Brewer Stadium in the 2019 season opener.
The game (3:30 p.m. ET start time) won’t be on regular TV anywhere, but you can watch it right here on ESPN+, the digital streaming service from ESPN that has exclusive coverage of most Appalachian State and Sun Belt football games every week, other college football and live sports, all the 30-for-30 documentaries and additional original content (both video and written) all for $4.99 per month.
You can sign up for ESPN+ right here, and you can then watch ETSU vs Appalachian State live on your computer via ESPN.com, or on your phone (Android and iPhone compatible), tablet, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, or other streaming device via the ESPN app.
East Tennessee State vs Appalachian State Preview
Coming off a year that saw them capture a share of the Southern Conference title and a birth in the FCS playoffs, East Tennessee looks to build on a strong year and make another (deeper) run in the FCS playoffs in 2019. Chance Thrasher transfers in from Coastal Carolina and looks poised to take the reins of the Buccaneers’ offense. Thrasher never got much of an extended look at Costal and despite his strong play in camp so far, remains a bit of an unknown commodity when it comes to his in-game performance.
Quay Holmes returns for the Bucs and posted an extremely impressive freshman season that saw him nearly top 1,000 yards on the ground. Holmes should be expected to shoulder a heavy load on offense this season, especially if Thrasher comes out of the gates with some shaky play to start the season.
Appalachian State has moved up from the FCS world since their historic shocker against Michigan and has quietly established themselves as one of the nation’s premier programs. While the defense is typically the calling card of the Mountaineers, they boast an extremely competent offense as well. While superstar wide receiver Corey Sutton is forced to sit out the contest against ETSU due to a marijuana violation, Appalachian State should still have more than enough firepower to hang with Zac Thomas under center and some dynamic playmakers in the backfield and waiting to step up to fill the void left by Sutton out wide.
On defense, Appalachian State loses a number of key playmakers along with having a coordinator change. That said, what this defense lacks in star power they make up for in terms of sheer depth. While there may be some growing pains in order for the unit to get comfortable playing without some key contributors, expect the Mountaineers to mostly pick back up where they left off and assume their role as one of the better – and more underrated – defenses in the nation.
Despite their playoff appearance last season and the return (and expected improvement) of Holmes, the Bucs aren’t remotely the same caliber of team that Appalachian State is. The Mountaineers offer an extremely underrated and well-rounded FBS-level team that could very well find themselves competing for a spot in the top 25 rankings as the season goes on. Look for a shutdown performance from the Mountaineer defense while the offense under Zac Thomas piles up some gaudy stats.
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