No. 15 Georgia wary of Appalachian State's upset potential
By CHARLES ODUM
ATHENS, Ga. (AP) The 10-year anniversary of Appalachian State's famous upset of Michigan comes just in time for the Mountaineers' visit to No. 15 Georgia.
Georgia players are wary of the upset potential in Saturday night's season opener, but not just because of the decade-old game regarded as one of the biggest surprises in college football history. After all, for today's player, 10 years is ancient history.
"I was 12 years old then," said senior tight end Jeb Blazevich. "I wasn't really watching football then. I was probably in the backyard playing it."
Blazevich and his teammates are more captivated by Appalachian State's near upset of Tennessee, another Southeastern Conference team, in last year's opener. The Mountaineers led the Vols 13-6 in the fourth quarter before falling 20-13 in overtime.
The Bulldogs were watching.
"Definitely," Blazevich said. "... That's just an easy one to compare us to because we play against those guys."
Even so, there have been frequent reminders this week of the Michigan upset.
"I've seen highlights of that game at least four times this week," said senior offensive lineman Isaiah Wynn. "I've seen it during workouts. It's on in the weight room. We have to be prepared to play."
Much has changed in 10 years. Appalachian State is now a member of the Sun Belt Conference and has bowl victories in two straight seasons.
It's an important game for Georgia coach Kirby Smart, coming off a disappointing 8-5 record in his first season. Georgia is looking for more consistency from second-year quarterback Jacob Eason and needs to generate momentum for next week's visit to Notre Dame.
Some other things to know about Appalachian State's visit to Georgia:
LAMB'S GEORGIA HERITAGE: The Mountaineers are led by senior quarterback Taylor Lamb, the son of Mercer coach Bobby Lamb and grandson of former longtime Georgia coordinator of high school relations Ray Lamb, also a former longtime high school coach in the state. Bobby Lamb's brother, Hal, is the longtime coach at Calhoun (Georgia) High School, where he has won two state titles.
"It's a great family, great people and I am betting that Taylor is going to go into some kind of coaching himself whenever his career comes to a close," Smart said.
"They're going to rely heavily on that running game, I think, for a couple reasons," Satterfield said. "Obviously they're very good and they may be a little inexperienced at wide receiver this year. I think one of their strengths obviously is going to be handing the ball to those backs and there's not any drop-off from one to the other."
MOORE RESPECT: The Mountaineers' running game is led by Jalin Moore, who was the 2016 Sun Belt offensive player of the year. He led the league with 1,402 yards rushing. Smart said Moore looks like an SEC running back.
FUN FOR EASON: Eason's strong showing in practice ended any talk he could lose his job to freshman Jake Fromm. He said he's excited about his first full season as a starter in offensive coordinator Jim Chaney's system after opening 2016 as a backup.
"I know I'm getting the first snap, and I have to be prepared," he said. "... Coach Chaney has done a good job with the offense. It should be fun to watch."
CATCH UP WITH NEW NAMES: Two of Eason's new wide receivers to watch are junior college transfer Ahkil Crumpton and Mecole Hardman, a converted cornerback. Terry Godwin is the leading returning receiver. Another returning receiver, Riley Ridley, and backup tailback Elijah Holyfield, are expected to be suspended for the game as discipline for misdemeanor marijuana charges in separate incidents last spring.
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Updated September 1, 2017