With hopes of a seventh-straight Southern Conference title now officially dashed, Appalachian State will travel to Rhodes Stadium to face Elon. The Phoenix offer quite a challenge for a Mountaineer team that will need to bring its A-Game in order to walk off with a victory.
Elon boasts the two reigning conference players of the week in linebacker Joshua Jones and quarterback Thomas Wilson. Both came up huge in Elon’s 41-3 victory over No. 17 Furman last week. Wilson passed for four scores and 279 yards on 20-26 passing. Aaron Mellette hauled in two of the touchdowns along with 144 yards. Over his career the junior Mellette has snagged 25 touchdown receptions, with 11 coming this year. Mellette has 1403 yards this season on 99 catches. When Wilson drops back this week he has Jeremy Peterson (34 catches for 289 yards) and Christian Dennis (28 catches for 285 yards and four scores) at his disposal as well. Wilson does like to throw it around the yard, completing 249 of 368 passes for 2713 yards. He has 21 touchdowns and 19 interceptions on the year. He avearges 271 yards per game.
Elon doesn’t often go to the ground but Dontay Taylor does have eight rushing touchdowns this year. A.J. Harris is the leading rusher this season for Elon with 489 yards and a 48.9 yards/game average.
Defensively Jones leads the Elon attack, and last week Jones registered a career-high 13 tackles, including four for a loss and a sack. He also recorded a pick-six in the victory. This season Jones has recorded 101 tackles. Tony Thompson and Olufemi Lamikanra each have three sacks on the year. Blake Thompson also seems to find his way to the ball carrier as he has 60 tackles.
Appalachian State is coming off of an offensive outburst against Western Carolina in a game that saw two school records fall. Brian Quick officially became ASU’s all-time leading receiver as his 111 yards pushed him to 3227 for his career. Quick hauled in seven catches on the day including one for a score. Jamal Jackson had 261 yards passing and another 48 rushing yards and three touchdowns overall. Meanwhile Drew Stewart connected on six field goals to set a school record.
Jackson has been on fire since being named the starter over DeAndre Presley. In his first five starts, Jackson has passed for at least 200 yards with at least 250 total yards in each of those games. This year he has passed for 1445 yards in eight total games. He has 10 touchdowns to just five interceptions. His rushing average is fourth on the team at 36.1 yards per game, behind Travaris Cadet (61.8 yards) and Steven Miller (42.1 yards). He does lead the team with seven rushing scores. Quick meanwhile has six 100-yard receiving games this year and 12 over his career. His 53 receptions leads the team, and he sits at 905 yards on the year with nine scores.
Defensively Jeremy Kimbrough leads the team with 81 tackles, just three ahead of Brandon Grier. Kimbrough has four sacks to lead the team. John Rizor and Dan Wylie each have 2.5 sacks on the 2011 campaign. Demetrius McCray and Rodger Walker have each picked off four passes while Doug Middleton has intercepted two on the year.
The Appalachian State kickers have combined to make 36-37 PATs but Stewart has nailed 8-10 field goals. Mountaineer punter Sam Martin boots it away at a 41.9 average with nine traveling 50+ yards. Opponents have returned three punts for scores though against the App State unit.